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Discussion: OUSA Board news

in: Orienteering; General;

Oct 9, 2016 12:33 AM # 
I'll be posting here weekly what I know of Board activity.

Four new people were elected to the Board. Another person was re-elected. We have a new President, VP of Competition, and Recording Secretary. Remaining on the Executive Committee were the VP of Clubs and the VP of Finance.

President Kris Beecroft charged a new Communications Committee / Task Force with a mission to find a good solution for two-way communication between the Board and the membership of Orienteering USA. Boris Granovskiy is taking the lead and is in active conversation with a number of OUSA members interested in helping. Please contact him if you have any ideas on this topic, or any other communications matter for OUSA.

Board member Greg Lennon raced for Team USA at the World Masters Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships in Lithuania last week and also met with IOF MTBO representative Sandor Talas to discuss US MTBO development.

The Finance Committee has scheduled two meetings this week. VP of Finance Pat Meehan reviewed the monthly finances on Friday with Kris, Executive Director Glen Schorr and OUSA accountant Robin Shannonhouse.

The Executive Committee is planning on a biweekly meeting.

We have been reaching out to the committee heads and others whose roles are listed on the OUSA website. We are asking about who is on the committee, what the committee has been up to, what they plan to do, and any suggestions for change.

Mary Jane Stout had previously stepped down from Safety Committee Chair, and there has been no replacement to date. She has written a list of ongoing tasks and uncompleted tasks that a new Committee should take on. These are under discussion.

Ed Scott is retiring as Boy Scout Liaison. He did phenomenal work getting the Scouting manual changed, and, in particular, effected change in the language about the orienteering merit badge. It’s much more aligned with our sport now. Ed’s son created the website
If anyone has suggestions for who might take on Scouting and other outdoor youth organizations, please let us know.

Cathy Yekenevicz handled anti-doping for several years. Now, she recommends changes commensurate with the move to electronic systems: that a person close to each team handle communication about anti-doping, temporary use exemptions, and the like. Alex Jospe, VP of Competition, will determine next steps.

The Environment and Land Access Committee is important, as these topics are central to OUSA’s mission, and we are seeking recommendations for a new Chair.

FLO had to cancel a training camp due to the hurricane in Florida. The junior training camp scheduled for Minnesota will be converted into a coaching clinic run by US Coach Erin Schirm to support local orienteering growth. There are a couple training camps in the works; contact Erin for details.

Alex Jospe has talked with Boris Granovskiy, Erin Schirm, and Ed Despard as part of the Sports Working Group, to discuss ideas for small changes that will have big effect on our National Event structure.

Kris has been meeting with OUSA staff and members since her election to President. She is arranging a Board retreat this fall to allow in-depth review of goals and the best ways to achieve them, and inform our 2017 budget.
Oct 12, 2016 12:55 AM # 
Kudos to Ed Scott and his work over the years to support O in Scouting. MASOC was/is a massive undertaking. He will be hard to replace. I'm glad to see that the Scout badge is now more aligned with the sport. We get many requests from scout groups to give O training and in the past I've been hesitant to encourage that because of the difference in the objectives but now with the re-alignment, its more worth O club's time (from a promoting the sport of O point of view) to work with Scout troops.

Speaking of scouts, I'm not sure if this it the right place to bring this up, but I think the new Board should look into increasing the number of permanent courses as a way of growing the sport and reaching out to new people. I think permanent courses have gotten the short shrift in the past because they are not really on the radar of the competitive O'ers who are most active in the administration of the sport. The scout connection comes in because a permanent course is a great scout project - and I suspect many of our courses were built that way.

This is not a new idea, but perhaps a new administration can give it a new start.
Oct 12, 2016 1:15 AM # 
BAOC has several permanent courses built by Scouts. The problem we have is that the scouts move on and the course markers fall into disrepair. The markers are usually one-off and no one wants to construct more.
Oct 12, 2016 1:50 AM # 
One problem with permanent courses is the trail that forms to every control. Better is something movable. I created some movable markers using real estate sign holders, some NFC tags, QR codes and control code on an orange and white background, all laminated to the sign holder rod. Easy to stick in the ground, portable, rugged, a few bucks a piece of materials, quick to assemble. It's only good for places not visible from a trail, i.e.Yellow and higher difficulty, and forest rather than lawn, not busy locations. But many markers will fare poorly if accessible to those inclined to cause damage.
Oct 14, 2016 1:54 AM # 
Yes, permanent courses take work, just like any event, and there is no instant gratification of seeing people use it, but I think it is worth investing in. Is there really so much traffic that elephant tracks form to the controls? If they get that much use, it would be worth the effort to redesign them from time to time. Or you could design multiple courses with multiple approaches to the same control, or just present it at a Score to alleviate this. With the popularity of geocaching, I would think permanent courses could make a comeback. Perhaps we need to put a cache in each one...
Oct 14, 2016 2:06 AM # 
I've seen significant tracks to permanent controls many times. Easy movability is what I was suggesting. Some markers are more movable than others (which also raises the risk of theft, but makes it easier to move the locations yearly).
Oct 14, 2016 2:10 AM # 
@jjtong, it's not so much that there is a huge volume of traffic, but that use of the same route is periodically repeated. Vegetation recovers quickly after a single day O event because it is allowed to heal, traffic-free. Even if there is not a lot of traffic volume, the repeat injuries to the same vegetation, and repeat soil compaction over time, eventually lead to a path forming.
Oct 14, 2016 10:51 AM # 
Mike is so right. At the Canmore Nordic Centre permanent course we have installed around 100 "posts". Each year we set courses that use about 40 of the posts. This way we try to address the problem of trails forming. It is somewhat effective.

More effective is that we are starting to use more and more the posts that are on the trails, as most people who seem to be doing the courses are beginner level in any case.
Oct 14, 2016 4:44 PM # 
AZ's method seems easiest as you only need to install the markers once (and maintain them) and just change the maps regularly. Much simpler to print new maps than to move around 30 posts every year. And if someone does happen to come back with a copy of an older map, it will still work.
Oct 14, 2016 11:43 PM # 
AZ, mike point taken, thanks
Oct 18, 2016 12:02 PM # 
BFLO does a great job with annual "Map Hikes" which use 4" x 4" (?) plastic O placards that are quickly wired to a tree. They are a small club but have one person for each park to place/remove controls each year. They sell the maps for each park (there are 5 or 6) and reward those that complete multiple [score-o format] courses over the year. I think they are getting popular because there have been signs of light "trails" to a few of the controls this year. For training, this is much better than a permanent course.
Oct 19, 2016 1:44 PM # 
Recent activity of which I am aware:

Committee updates:

  • The Grievance Committee is chaired by J-J Cote, and also includes Charlie DeWeese and George Minarik. The Committee meets only when there is a grievance to consider.
  • We have started to hear from people in response to our requests for help on committees, but still need to fill positions. Let us know if you are interested in, or can recommend people for outreach to scouts and other outdoor youth organizations, environment and land access, and any other committee. Allison Brown and Peter Goodwin are interested in the environment/land access committee. Brian Coleman from RMOC is interested in helping with the scouting liaison role; he works with the National Jamborees and teaches orienteering one week each year to scout leaders at the Philmont Scout Ranch in NM; he works with Ralph Courtney and Don Winn from NTOA on that.
  • We are in discussion with Bill Langton, Chair of JTESC, and Erin Schirm, about whether and how to revive the Safety Committee.
  • Peter Goodwin will be taking over background checks. Please refer to the Safety Handbook on the OUSA website to know who needs background checks.
  • Bob Turbyfill created our current coaching certification program as well as skill certification levels posted on the OUSA website. We will post the information about the coaching levels online; currently those refer to the OUSA coaching manual that is not available electronically. Chuck Ferguson and Bob are both interested in continuing to contribute to OUSA coaching certification. Erin is developing an approach that incorporates knowledge of child and athlete development. We would like to see that committee revitalized and working together to support an updated coaching certification program.
  • The Finance Committee held three meetings, and is focusing on the following areas: (1) aligning transaction categories with budget categories, and integrating the team fund accounting into our main accounting system, (2) understanding and reporting on our current financial status and recent trends to help in creating the 2017 budget and beyond, and (3) updating our financial policies. In the most recent meeting, we discussed our current operating reserve fund policy and updating it to be sure we can cover restricted and designated funds as well as operating expenses. We have also spent some time researching the endowment. The committee will provide the Board with financial reports and information in advance of the retreat to inform discussions about 2017 budget priorities.
  • The Executive Committee plans to meet this Thursday (tomorrow).

The Board retreat has been scheduled for Dec 3-4 in Virginia, with a goal of taking a deep dive into OUSA priorities and operations. Kris is building the agenda based on feedback from board members. The retreat will start with goals and vision with reference to our mission statement. We will discuss finances and marketing, and other topics.

Kevin Teschendorf clarified with the insurance company that insurance works as most of us understood: any club-approved orienteering activity is covered, regardless of whether a certificate has been requested. (The purpose of the certificates is to explicitly name additional insured, usually the landowners.) OUSA aims to equitably divide up the cost of insurance by charging clubs proportionately to the number of official starts they have in club events. I spoke with Kris, and it’s likely that we will want to publish information about the insurance with a clear explanation of what is covered by the insurance, and recommendations about how to deal with things like training events. I’m also interested in reviewing the cost of insurance and comparing that to the amount we charge clubs. We also need to take another look at the team insurance for 2017.
Oct 19, 2016 2:04 PM # 
Thanks, Barb! I really appreciate these updates.
Oct 19, 2016 2:27 PM # 
Thanks. So far a few people have expressed appreciation for the updates; a few others have responded with offers to help out in one way or another; and a couple people have expressed concern that too-frequent updates will result in people not listening. My personal opinion is that we need to share this informal update, because even within the board we don't always know what is happening, and people can choose to just not read it if it is too much. For this update, I did not do what I did the first time and send it to all the club contacts, partly because of those concerns and also because the official monthly update went out recently. I will share this update with the club contacts in a consolidated way with the next update.
Oct 19, 2016 2:46 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
I appreciate the updates and the current cadence works for me.
Oct 19, 2016 2:58 PM # 
I appreciate them too!
Oct 19, 2016 5:24 PM # 
These are great. Keep it up. In a month or so, more has been provided from the board than in the past forever.
Oct 19, 2016 6:46 PM # 
It's nice to have a periodic summary like this. Once a month or so seems like a decent interval to stay in the loop but not so often that you'd be tempted to skim or ignore..
Oct 19, 2016 8:17 PM # 
We already have a monthly newsletter that Glen has been generating for a while - and continues to generate. Here, I'm providing more detail, with a focus on topics that non-board members might want to contribute to as well, and currently I feel that once a month is too long for a real conversation to develop and for us to keep moving on some things. Maybe it will settle back down once the dust settles. I bet it will.
Oct 19, 2016 9:46 PM # 
Keep it coming.
Oct 19, 2016 11:28 PM # 
Liking it.
Oct 20, 2016 10:32 PM # 
This is great. It's nice to know what's going on! A lot, it seems.
Thanks Barb.
Oct 20, 2016 10:44 PM # 
I have been trying to collect notes on OUSA policies into one place; it's pretty informal, but here is what I currently have.
Oct 21, 2016 7:52 PM # 
Great document, Barb, what a excellent step towards making this information accessible.

I wondered if the bit beginning "Hired and non-owned auto liability coverage" was intended to be a separate bullet item.

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