As the new OUSA Liaision to the BSA (or Scouting in General), I am looking for ideas to promote more participation in local meets by Scouting youth. I am blessed to have several OUSA members step forward because of their dual memberships in their clubs and the BSA. I am hoping to have one member of each club designated as the local scouting Liaison. In that way, I can connect them with their local BSA council to promote orientering, not only as a merit badge requirement, but also to build program around the sport (like NTOA, NEOC and other clubs have done, for example). Also, we are developing an inventory of "mapped" scout camps , so that we can show BSA the value of associating with a local club. All this being said, I am open to your ideas on this topic. Thanks, Brian M. Coleman (BSA Compass)
CascadeOC has Fire Mountain Scout Camp in Mount Vernon, WA
Not BSA, obviously, but we also recently mapped Camp River Ranch in Carnation, WA, which is owned and operated by the Girl Scouts. We can't have events there anymore unless everyone goes through a background check.
As you know, RMOC has Peaceful Valley, Camp Alexander and now Glen Aspen Ranch, as well as some ancient map of a BSA camp near Estes Park I understand. Ages ago there was a map on the Philmont Ranch near Cimmaron NM. I suspect that many scout leaders need help with orienteering...designing courses, learning how to teach orienteering, and so forth.
(By the way Brian, I sent an email about base map material for state parks...did you get it? Sorry to others for the personal message.)
Hi Brian- are you in contact with Ed Scott from DVOA ( former liaison). He should have this information for you. We have mapped many scout camps and hold 2 championships each year. Good luck in the new role!
Brian, EMPO has mapped BSA Camp Wakpominee near Lake George NY, and we held the 2013 US Sprint and Long champs there.
EMPO leaders are not on Attackpoint (much) but do read USOFClubnet. Do you have access to that email group? If not I can copy and paste your message there to reach them (and other clubs that don't have members on AP).
One thing I think that would be really cool is if we could have some mechanism by which we can attract boy scouts to becoming orienteers. I know quite a few orienteers who have discovered orienteering through the BSA, but it always seems like an ad hoc situation. What if we had something like ready-to-go materials about where to find the next local event, traditional orienteering opportunities, or other ways to target the parents/full families? It's such a shame when a big scouting event is a one-and-done situation.
Here is a partial list of active Boy Scout Camp Orienteering Maps in the OH-KY-IN area:
Indiana (ICO) (Crossroads of America Council)
Camp Belzer - Indianapolis
Camp Ransburg - Bloomington
Bear Creek - Connersville
Crooked Creek - Louisville
Kentucky (OCIN) (Dan Beard Council)
Camp Michaels - Union
Ohio (OCIN) (Dan Beard Council)
Camp Friedlander / Camp Craig - Loveland
Cricket Holler - Dayton
Woodland Trails - Camden
Camp Lazarus - Delaware
Additionally, I did a one-time program on a very basic map of Otter Run (Marion OH) in 2008, and started mapping Camp Oyo (Portsmouth OH) probably pre-2000), but nothing more has come of those areas.
Mapped Girl Scout Camps in the same area include:
Camp Stonybrook* (OCIN, Waynesville, OH)
Camp Whip-poor-will (MVOC, Lebanon, OH)
Camp Stem (OLOU, southern Indiana)
* The woods at Stonybrook sustained tornado damage last summer and significant re-mapping may be needed once the trails and woods are re-opened.
COO used to have a map of Camp Ken Jockety west of Columbus, OH but I believe they have not had access in at least several years. MVOC and OCIN just recently regained access to Whip-poor-will after several years of very strict restriction of non-scout use.
as well as some ancient map of a BSA camp near Estes Park
The closest map to Estes Park is (I think) YMCA of the Rockies, but there is a map called Tahosa Scout Ranch somewhat south of there -- it's an unfortunately badly fieldchecked map of an interesting moraine area.
I think there are four maps at Philmont: Harlan, Miranda, Crater Lake, and Urraca, probably all from the early 1980s, and as far as I know not used in many years. (Those names come from an ancient spreadsheet in an obsolete format that I can no longer open properly.)
SVO has Camp Mack and Camp Tuckahoe in PA. However, both maps are in severe need of updating and haven't had events in many years. Mack in particular we were blocked from using for about a decade until that particular manager left, but when we tried to return we found the map now nearly impossible to use due to changes.
We had a one-time set of sprint races on a map of Girl Scout Camp Todd in Maryland, though I believe that map was really created for the camp's private use for permanent courses.
We ran a scouts-only orienteering day for about 10 years as a joint program with a local park, but over the years the participation numbers dwindled and we cut from twice a year to once and then didn't hold one at all this year. (Not a competition but a training/instructional event and then WYO courses for them to go out on.)
Tahosa is what I was thinking of...http://www.cadesign.cu.cc/rmoc/images/Tahosa1991.j...
New England has at least Nobscot Scout Reservation, mapped by two orienteers who currently live in Colorado.
Nobscot was finally redone a few years ago by a foreign mapper, and for many years has had annual scout meets, as well as public meets.
Names of some camps sound real scary. Reminds me of Children of the Corn
and other horrible things.
How many OUSA mappers have permission to enter BSA camps for the purpose of updating the map? Many BSA properties are very restrictive; even when we have permission to hold an event.
In eastern MO, SLOC has maps for Beaumont and S bar F Scout Ranch. David Fisher (unless he's handed it off) puts on an annual meet for Scouts in March at Beaumont. Usually has a huge turn-out.
USMAOC hosts Orienteering Skills Weekend at Lake Frederick every year. This last fall's was about 200 scouts - always competitive for troops vying to come! They get most of the Orienteering merit badge and love hanging out with us cadets.
Would recommend for similar large clubs to consider doing something like this! Put them in teams, teach them skills, then have them compete with each other on easy orange courses. Throw scout stuff in there - campfires, skits, knots, camping, and you've got a solid weekend
There's a map of June Norcross Webster scout camp in Connecticut, which I think is a WCOC map. I've run there once, but it doesn't seem to get much use for public events. I don't know if it's used much by the scouts themselves.
JNW is still used by scouts quite a bit, though new construction leaves it in need of updating. Its a NEOC map. One big issue with the use of many scout camps by outside groups revolves around BSA Youth Protection policies and the need to vet & background check adult leaders and others involved in youth activities. And many of these camps are in use by various scout groups almost every weekend so securing permission to use them for public events gets problematic... The BSA legal folk don't want the potential liabilty..
For those camps with real O maps, or even those just using updated topos, I've often thought a good strategy would be to get a few experienced orienteers to conduct a training for the camp staff that will be teaching O merit badge during summer camp - train the trainers..
The staff are usually there a week or two before campers arrive when you could do this. Help them see the competitive aspect more clearly and help them to arrange competitions for the boys staying at camp rather than presenting orienteering as a dry, old school map and compass exercise.
The manager of the local BSA camp is also a longtime orienteer, and access has been feasible, and he's been quite supportive of getting a map, eager to have scout leaders be able to use it, as well as getting the club permission for events. On another camp, a new manager had a panicked reaction when he discovered that courses were going into an area that had recently had scouts, due to youth protection rules. (The course setter, who was also a scout leader and knew the schedule of the scout camping, and I think had a son as one of those scouts doing the camping, indicated that the camping had ended and the scouts had left an hour before first start, but nevertheless, the camp manager insisted that the event stop, controls be removed and orienteers be brought back in.). ymmv
Deals with scouts: No access, no map...
Youth Protection is also the reason scouts (on a scout sanctioned activity, whether on BSA property or at a regular public meet) are not allowed to solo and must go out in a minimum of pair groups. While this certainly can be worked around by having them go as groups, it often diminishes the appeal of competition and the race aspect. Not all youth are looking to race of course, but many do enjoy the challenge of going one on one with the map. The group dynamic generally limits the experience to a more social stroll with friends.
@cmorse: Can you please give a reference for Youth Protection not allowing solo orienteering by scouts?
I would like to see a lot more race formats that are based on teams, because kids have fun when they work together, and they learn from each other. A stroll is actually perfectly fine, and some kids are motivated to race, when in teams, in my experience.
This is a good thread with some great info for BSACompass to build on - thanks all!
.... back from google... I did not find anything prohibiting solo orienteering in Scouts yet. One-on-one-adult-one-child situations are prohibited.
From their guide to safe scouting: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafet...
The buddy system should be used at all times. The buddy system is a safety measure for all Scouting activities. Buddies should know and be comfortable with each other. Self-selection with no more than two years age or significant differences in maturity should be strongly encouraged. When necessary, a buddy team may consist of three Scouts. No youth should be forced into or made to feel uncomfortable by a buddy assignment.
Another possibility to retain the ability to race is that one scout could be doing the course while the other scout is shadowing.
Ken beat me to it, the buddy system says it must be used at all times, and that is what I have been told by Scout leaders here, too. If, on the other hand, we manage to get scouts who like the activity, to come outside of a scheduled scout O outing to a scheduled O event, then that is different, of course.So maybe our goal should also move towards engaging more scouts who really enjoyed orienteering with their peers to come out more, e.g., when their troop has no activity. And then encourage shadowing by parents rather than doing the activity together with the kids (if parents say 'oh, I'll go with them' I encourage them to go along only in an observatory manner, and when helping to do so by asking the right questions so that their kid can figure it out, rather than showing them the way flat out). I also encourage them to stop in afterwards and do a course review, especially when JROTC cadets are there, too (or other juniors, but we have too few) as the most experienced cadets do a great job at that.
I believe the orienteering merit badge book specifically permits solo competition for older scouts. You might check through that.
At the two major scout events that DVOA puts on annually (MASOC & NJSOC), older scouts compete as individuals on Orange.
My understanding is that if a scout goes to a public event to meet MB requirements (which is encouraged btw), then they are acting as a private citizen and buddy system does not apply. But if a troop or patrol attends a public event as a sanctioned scout activity, or if on BSA owned property, the buddy system must be enforced.
I have employed the scenario of having one scout navigate and one shadow, sometimes alternating legs, sometimes swapping roles mid course and that does work.
Mapped Scout Camps currently in use by LAOC:
Camp Tahquitz (Long Beach Boy Scouts)
Firestone Scout Reservation (Greater Los Angeles Boy Scouts)
Camp Scherman (Orange County Girl Scouts)
We usually get a few scouts at any given meet. We have an annual youth event that attracts mostly boy scouts, but is also open to other youth groups as well. Although we do give beginner instruction at this meet, the primary format is competitive. That encourages troops to attend other events to prepare (we get just a little bit of this).
Probably the next biggest draw for Boy Scouts is just coming to meet their First Class orienteering requirement. I think it would be helpful if we understood the measuring requirement better and had something set up for that. Then we could market a little bit more to this.
We also have a youth league that is not specifically Interscholastic. Youth may join the league as individuals, as a school team, or with any other youth group affiliation. We've had GS troops and Venturing crews join our league.
In general, Boy Scout troops tend to come to meet their requirements and are otherwise too busy to make orienteering a regularly scheduled activity.
I will soon be releasing a beta version of progressive orienteering requirements. This is intended to be used as a patch program for youth organizations. It has four levels. The second level is approximately equivalent to earning the Orienteering Merit Badge. So this provides something beyond that for a scout who is really interested in orienteering. The main marketing emphasis, however, will be GS and AHG, who don't have any existing orienteering badges. It can also be used by JROTC units to establish a reasonable progression.
IMHO, the first class measurement requirements have little to do with orienteering. If you have a scale map, then you can measure horizontal distances adn you can count contours if your care about vertical ones. The skills are useful, but shoudl be separated from the orienteering course requirements. In my experience, most of the first class orienteering is done by bearings and distances, and really needs updating. The drawback to updating for real orienteering is that too few scout leaders know anything else and they aren't close enough to an orienteering club to know what they don't know. Believe me, I've been a scout leader a lot longer than I've been an orienteer and I see it all the time.
As far as restrictions go, the A-meet up north a few years ago did not permit dogs, even companion animals. I think that's an over-restrictive interpretation of scout rules for a non-scouting event on scout property. One has to wonder why there's a dog care merit badge!
Another restriction that someone mentioned relates to background checks. I do not believe this is or should be required for participants in activities on scout camps that are open to the public. There is certainly no background check for firends and family who visit on family night during summer camp. The sweet 16 of safety precautions listed in the Guide to Safe Scouting (http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34416.pdf
) are things we should probably all be aware of, but they don't require background checks for everyone entering a scout reservation.
BOK has had some preliminary discussions around mapping the Occoneechee Scout Reservation near Carthage NC. Initial impressions are that it would be a win-win for both BOK and the Scouts.
One final thought. The orienteering merit badge is incredibly difficult to complete at summer camp. There's a lot of stuff to cover and no way it can be done in 50 minutes or so for five days. A scout needs to complete three orienteering courses and learn about the international control description description symbols for example. But you don't get to use the symbols till you get to orange and you don't really get far off-trail till you start orange. I think this may be why many scouts don't go beyond yellow level to really appreciate the fun of orienteering.
Occoneechee does special weekends for climbing, and shooting at the OSR durign the year and it is my hope that can add orienteering to the list.
BAOC has a map of Camp Tamarancho near Fairfax, CA. We regularly hold events there. We also hold an annual Scout O' for Boy and Girl Scouts and get as many as 600 participants. Gavin Wyatt-Mair is the person in charge of that.
...the A-meet up north a few years ago did not permit dogs, even companion animals.
...A possible violation of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
Ian, I agree that the first class measurement requirement is not really related to orienteering. But as long as it exists, it will help orienteering clubs to attract scouts if they have a system in place for meeting it.
A possible violation of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act).
Maybe. But it seems somewhat unlikely that anybody covered by the ADA would have been affected. We really don't get many blind people orienteering, and although there are companion animals for other reasons (e.g. PTSD), they aren't that common, either. I'm one of many people who has no problem with prohibiting dogs from A-meet courses if they aren't working companions. But that may be a topic for another thread.
Well, Ian is in fact legally blind and had huge maps provided specially at the GNC. He finished well within the time limit on both days and wasn't last on Day 2. I could understand someone in that position wanting a companion dog for safety.
Yep, that sounds reasonable. (It might also be a situation where the meet organization could do something like provide a human shadow as an alternative if the venue has restrictions.)
Thanks Charlie. And many thanks to Steve, Bill and GAOC for those big maps that made it possible for me to participate. My real point about restrictions was more that they can exceed what BSA actually requires for activities conducted by others on Scout property when the event is not a scouting event. Certainly worth knowing what you might run up against before you get stuck with surprises.
At the two major scout events that DVOA puts on annually (MASOC & NJSOC), older scouts compete as individuals on Orange.
I competed alone as an older Girl Scout, but it was technically breaking GS rules. However, I was the only one from my troop competing and my Mom was the leader. The first year I brought along a GS friend who was a decent runner but knew nothing about orienteering and she just followed me the entire time. After that I just went alone. I was 16-18 years old and orienteering by myself at other events, so dragging someone along seemed a bit ridiculous.
Re helping boy scouts get the O merit badge under the old program, for NMO return on investment has been scant. Teaching and setting up exercises for bearings and pace counting is tedious and orienteers have low interest in those activities. Isn't the new program much closer in concept to IOF orienteering?
Re control symbols NMO is perhaps unusual but we use them for *all* courses. For Orange courses and above we just drop the corresponding words. So for us the change is words to no words rather than no symbols to symbols.
Children who have not learned to read words quickly learn to read the symbols, and reading the symbols accelerates their learning to read the map and learn the spoken vocabulary for all the features. Parents have told me their kids learned letters and numbers from orienteering control codes. Another reason for symbols on W and Y course clue cards is that many of us do not speak English at home.
The requirements for the current orienteering merit badge (https://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php/Orienteering
) are quite good.
Re symbols: I like the idea of using both words and symbols on white and yellow. When I am meet director, I usually print textual clue sheets for orange to help people transition. I think they help many of our JROTC participants.
Re measurement for 1st class: I tell scout leaders that we don't cover that at our events. I do it at a campout or outside at a troop meeting for my own scouts. The requirement states "Using a map and compass, complete an orienteering course that covers at least one mile and requires measuring the height and/ or width of designated items (tree, tower, canyon, ditch, etc.)." Most of the measurement techniques make sense if you understand geometry, but most scouts don't have that knowledge at 11 or 12 years old when they typically do this.
Since control descriptions often include measurements (size of boulder or clearing, say), there's some aspect of measurement there. For scouts, one could leave one such measurement off, and have the scouts fill in that size as part of completing the course. From the text above, it seems like that would count, and would be useful feature size estimation (i.e., useful navigational practice).
I think the real problem with the first class requirement is calling an a 'orienteering course'. I believe it's an artifact of older times when scouting equated the term orienteering to the compass/pace exercises I did as a scout.
The Orienteering MB was updated to reflect the sport of orienteering, the first class map/compass/measurement estimation was not, but left the orienteering descriptor on it, and I think this leads to much of the confusion amongst scouts as to what orienteering is, as most will likely encounter the first class requirement well before the MB opportunity, if indeed they ever have that exposure.
Sure, it does seem a bit like a holdover from compass triangles and the like. However, I think that it can nevertheless be a fine part of a sport-orienteering experience. American orienteers could benefit from practicing more. Size estimation and distance estimation are useful skills to practice, especially for newer orienteers. One way to practice size estimation is to measure a boulder by standing next to it, or by pace counting a small clearing, or so forth. We can turn the requirement into a positive merely by looking at it differently.
The actual idea of the measurement requirement as described int he Scout Handbook is to be able to measure things that you can't just stand beside or pace count. Like the height of a tree, or the distance across a river or canyon. The general techniques covered involve using some thing or distance that you CAN measure and some similar triangles to estimate something you CAN'T measure. As a simple example, you could use pace counting to measure the width of a long rectangular field. You then stand in a corner and your buddy walks 20 or 30m toward the diagonally opposite corner. You pace along the short side till you are at a point such that the line to your buddy is now parallel to the long edge of the field. Pace out to him and you now have the ration of the width to the length of the field. There are a couple of other somewhat more crude estimates for heights. I'd recommend having the Scout Handbook with you or being familiar with it before claiming to be able to teach the measurement part.
The BSA orienteering merit badge book was written by NTOA's Ralph Courtney. Ralph has also updated various Philmont maps and almost annually runs orienteering clinics at Philmont for Scout Masters. Ralph continues to be an active orienteer and Scout. Indeed, he was the meet director and provided the beginner's clinics at our event today at Clement's Scout Ranch. Happy to put anyone in touch with him if you have questions.
Perhaps he can convince the BSA powers-that-be to separate the orienteering course from the measurement requirement.
Girl Scout guidelines allow for older girls to participate in competitive orienteering as individuals provided that the girl has the requisite skills.
Girl Scout Juniors in small groups are accompanied on a course by an adult with basic instruction in orienteering. Girl Scouts Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors who have received training may orienteer in groups of at least two. Competitive Orienteering Courses often require participants to operate independently; solo competition is not recommended for inexperienced girls or Girl Scout Juniors. However, Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors whose skills match or exceed the demands of the course may participate in such competitions.
That seems to have changed in the last 20 years. While some things seem to understandably have more restrictions (sleeping arrangements for trips, etc) their safety guidelines for activities seem to have become more reasonable. The Safety-Wise book used to be fairly ridiculous with the requirements. Obviously I'm all for doing things safely, but it used to all but require you to roll each person up in a protective padding bubble. I know we passed over several activity ideas after seeing the amount of gear you had to drag along for something as simple as a 5 mile bike ride.
We got it changed about 10 to 15 years ago, when I was working with a GS orienteering special interest group. Since then, they've rewritten the activity checkpoints to define orienteering more as generic land navigation, but at least they kept the part allowing individual participation in competitive orienteering. Unfortunately, the safety checkpoints say orienteering is not recommended for Daisies and Brownies.
Just to chip in into this already-thick discussion, some 10 years ago or so, the Western Pennsylvania Orienteering Club was invited to have a table at an event called "University of Scouting", that was somewhat similar to this
A couple of us volunteered to man the table and explain what we do. We gave demos, explanations, sample maps, schedules, and offered much help in hosting events.
Result: almost no participation from BSA
From the conversations we had with scout leaders, we gathered that their style is to plan, program, schedule events very much in advance, like a year in advance, and stick to that schedule. Very little room for improvisation or ability to be flexible to schedule a trip a week or two before event date. It was somewhat paradoxical, because most of the presentations at this event were about "retention", as it was noted that as BSA youth members get older, they start dropping out from scouting life and programs. To address this drop in interest by older youth, the BSA leadership created programs specifically for older youth, with elements of "adventure". Talking to several of the BSA leadership, this "adventure" element was something that the orienteering club was able to provide, and much interest was expressed. But unfortunately, very little came out of it.
Around here (N NJ), 6-months is typically sufficient, though some troops are more flexible. That might be the result of deliberately leaving some weekends open in order to be able to take advantage of activities on shorter notice. (a best practice, IMO)
Then again, scouts, parents, and even leaders, who come might not be doing so as part of an "official", scheduled troop activity.
I did not realize that things are looking so gloomy for the girl-scouts. I thought it was only within those puritan boroughs in New England, still haunted by memories of witchcraft executions. I once watched a documentary about the Beverly Hill Troop, they were doing some crazy orienteering-like things out there.
OLOU is making plans and hopefully will be successful in bringing back our Annual Boy Scout Champs at Crooked Creek for next March. We plan do abide by the buddy system but hope to convert some of the scouts over to individual competition. Of course I am pretty sure that 95% of the leaders that attend the meet will prepare by having their troops practice with bearing walks.
For every ones information we are working on producing a map for the 2017 national jamboree in West Virginia. If you are interested in helping contact Brian Coleman.
Brian, Ralph and Don also put on a training course at Philmont every year in August.
As Bill said above I put on a Scout Orienteering Festival every year in March at Beaumont Scout Reservation. It is basically a 60 minute score-O with thirty controls and a 2 km white course. It is designed for each troop to use it as they see fit. I leave it up to each unit if they want to let a scout go by himself. I stress pairs but I see a lot of teams of three and four scout.
The best thing we can do for the scouts is to provide them high quality orienteering maps.
I sure hope public events could also happen on that map. WV has been a no-O-zone for too long. Time to update those orienteeer bucket lists?
This discussion thread is closed.