Thanks for the context - GSwede; as you say, one of the key differences between our national programs and competitive ones is support. Imagine if our committed athletes were presented with even limited financial support for travel and food and their only responsibilities were to train and become as good as they can be. I think growth is critical to build up a sufficiently large pool of athletes and develop is necessary to make them good. But the current deal we're offering elite orienteers in the US is to pay their own way, do fundraising, have a job on the side, be visible in the community, and train. At the recent US Team ESC meeting at NAOC, we were told that we have to fundraise a lot more just for WOC, to say nothing of the athletes trying to get to world cups, training camps, and elite competition. It's a joke.
And then, it's suggested that OUSA use the national teams as a resource even more, e.g. Peter Goodwin's recent comment in the main budget thread
that the teams can be used to make up for lack of ONA content: "If people want to see how people run courses with the maps that go with it, someone has to provide that content. Perhaps, the teams should assign one team members to write one of these articles for each issue."
Now, I have written articles, and many other team members have. But to suggest that this be a requirement - in addition to all the other crap they have to address in addition to trying to be an elite athlete - without any support from the national federation is a injustice. And people wonder why our elite program isn't improving. A conservative estimate of the WOC 2017 entry fees and accommodation comes to 6300 Euros for 4 men, 4 women, and 1 official, and I'm pretty sure the Estonian WOC is cheaper than others recently. Finally, Restricted Contributions - while amazing and incredibly generous donations by various supporters - are NOT
OUSA. They are superlatively supportive acts of private donors and clubs, but the national federation gets almost no credit for that. A counterpoint is the 50th anniversary fund, which while restricted, was a donation solicitation campaign entirely orchestrated by OUSA; the end of year donations, while they include a team option, are a minimum of effort. I also suspect a vast majority of the donations are independent of OUSA's end of year solicitations.
Even if the rest of the Board buys into my (and others') agenda for team funding, it's hard to imagine more than $10k unrestricted going to the senior and junior teams for the foreseeable future. In light of other priorities - especially growth and junior development, I would consider it imprudent to give more than say 10% (somewhat arbitrary) of unrestricted funds total to the teams, which at present is in the neighborhood of $20k. In terms of priorities, I am looking at OUSA and its agenda through a certain lens - as is everyone, and the idea of naive realism
- that different presented with the same data will arrive at the same conclusions doesn't hold up. Each of the 12 people on the Board and the 1200 in OUSA have different lenses and perspectives on what matters, and trying to synchronize all those priorities requires a lot of deliberation.
I think the best way is to get involved. @Walk: I can't thank donors and supporters like you enough for everything that the community does to make elite orienteering in the US happen.