Clubs are dying yet the priority for clubs are brand new ISOM maps with overmapped features in brand new areas 2-3 hours from the club base.
Growing locally is critical.
Having used the Forest X format many years ourselves back in the late 90's it has huge potential. Have you considered partnering with a charity where the funds raised are for them (after your expenses) and they look after promo, race day swag, etc. and you host the race itself? Gotta spend money on ads to make money.
Local scene here is strong because of ARK. Mapping is now strong because of ARK needs. Volunteers are strong because of ARK. Why travel on weekends when you have a good local weeknight program. Just sayin'.
Keep the communication strong between Barb the amazing and CSU the awesome.
Approach several charities that complement the values of CSU. Tell them you have an idea for a fundraiser that combines the adventure of Pokemon Go and family activity in a running adventure and say that x% of revenue goes to them and that there will be pledge sheets and in return they use their marketing and promo machine and email lists to get the word out. We do that with our annual ARK Kids for Kenya Toilet Run. The race raises money for building latrines in Kenya. It gets the most sponsorship of any race we do because of the charity link. But also acts as a promo for ARK and our nav races.
Or even closer to home: work with Friends of the Fells, for example. Of course, they're having a 5k the same day, but in the future, say, once the Forest-X is a bit more set. If proceeds go to them after costs are covered and you're putting in the legwork, it's a good way to get people to show up. You may get a lot of walkers, which might actually be better for building interest.
Le sigh, so true about the contraction of CSU. It's a bit frustrating that the easy part is to plan the logistics of the events. You can put on lots and lots of trainings, but if no one knows and no one comes...
At least we still have the diaspora of CSU doing fun and interesting things independently, and occasionally getting together for the important things like dominating at Jukola/Venla(??) or 25-manna or something fun and epic like that.
Mike's idea is a good one. I hadn't considered a charity before. For whenever I move back stateside, I was planning to contact one of the companies that puts on trail races and propose something similar. Pretzel City Sports in the Philly area is the perfect example.
They have the infrastructure needed to make pre and post race activities really fun, which I feel is something that's missing from American orienteering events (possibly Canadian too, but I don't know) I'm sure they wouldn't turn down extra profits from a different event that we can expertly organize for them. They also have email lists to TONS of people who might be interested in giving orienteering a try.
It's all positive! I refuse to consider the negative aspects! Go Team North America!
that's how we started our adventure running series (that used the trail x format). A professional race organizer did everything except the course design and marking. that was us (one race) and Toronto OC (two races). it worked except for one thing. they were toronto based and put little effort into the hamilton race. so we stoppped
working with them after 2 years and did it ourself and then toronto OC stopped completely as they felt it wasn't worth it. their loss.
the overall race experience in NorAm O is blah compared to other sports we are up against.
I like these ideas!
We have a local for-profit event company that puts on trail races, mtn bike races, and the occasional adventure race. A couple times in past years they put on what they called a "bushwhacker" race -- you got a map (better than USGS, not as good as an o' map, but made by orienteers), and you had to check in at four controls, all trail/road junctions I think, but other than that you could go any way you wanted. There was a main trail you could stay on if you didn't want to navigate (most people didn't get off the trail). We orienteers thought it was great fun and we did very well in the results, but the company quit putting it on because it didn't bring in enough people, despite promoting it the same way they promote their other very successful & expensive events. I don't know if this just isn't the right type of event or if any kind of orienteering/navigating would have the same result. Or if the company just wanted more profit.
But I think we should try. It's worked in Canada, and they're not *that* different ... ;-)