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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: OUSA

in: iansmith; iansmith > 2017-07-28

Jul 28, 2017 8:23 PM # 
I have to admit that when I first started orienteering being able to be ranked was probably the main reason I joined USOF. And then the A-meet discounts. There are presumably far more orienteers who never (or very rarely) run in National Meets or care about ranking than those who do, so that's not much help.
Jul 28, 2017 8:40 PM # 
Make it mandatory? People have too much freedom these days ;)
Jul 28, 2017 8:51 PM # 
How about doma hosting for all OUSA members? I hear someone has done some slick integration work with OUSA login to make it all happen...

I think centralized IT services are going to be a draw for members. Rankings, results, route gadget like thing all integrated into a nice interface. OUSA members get access to all the stats etc, non OUSA members just get a basic interface? Roll the same infrastructure out to clubs if all the club members are also OUSA members?

Change the "A Meet" discount into a non member surcharge/day membership. Bring more regional level events into the national system so there are more opportunities for interacting with OUSA and getting rankings.

Build a culture of junior training programs led by OUSA, where the juniors expect to be OUSA members.

Centralized map database, with versioned storage for map files. Manage mapping notes, base data, ocad files, course data files all in one repository, with access control to club officials, course setters, course controllers, mappers etc. Manage by OUSA, and use as a carrot to get clubs to create a joint OUSA/club membership model.

I think some form of joint OUSA/Club membership model is going to be the direction we need to go in, but that is going to require OUSA to centralize a lot of the admin tasks the clubs do into some national custom software. Like managing club membership data in NEON along with the OUSA data, while providing the payment infrastructure to make it all work.
Jul 28, 2017 9:11 PM # 
Making OUSA membership mandatory is something the Board has discussed, but I suspect such a move - even with a substantial membership discount - would not be well-received. This is especially true given OUSA's recent history of fiscal discipline and responsibility.

I'm a proponent of - at least at first - trying to attract more members with better electronic services and communications offerings. Ed's ideas are excellent - DOMA, routegadget, winsplits (?), results and event databases, and rankings. I think we can also improve the OUSA communications so we feel like a community rather than an e-mail list. Perhaps this will be sufficient so people *want* to be a part of OUSA rather than feeling pressured into doing it. Even doubling our membership fraction to 50% of club members would be phenomenal.

I characterize the general view of OUSA as apathetic to cynical in the broader US orienteering community. I think they are disillusioned and need to find some measure of optimism about the future.
Jul 29, 2017 11:42 AM # 
Along the same lines as Ed is suggesting, how about something with Livelox? Their subscription model seems to be club- or person-based but maybe OUSA could be a "club" and use it for National Meets so that all OUSA members get the mass-viewing benefit that comes with a subscription?
Jul 29, 2017 12:55 PM # 
Those things would appeal to more marginal orienteers that aren't already OUSA members?

Ian, if I may flip the question a bit, Why should you be an OUSA member?

You are/were involved with two clubs.
CSU - majority racing at a high level, probably nearly all OUSA members.
NEOC - large but more typical O club. What percentage are OUSA members?
Skim the lists, how many names are missing that you feel should be OUSA members? I think you would have trouble even approach 35-40% that have non minimal involvement with OUSA to even begin consideration of membership.

Centralized and standardized model has some appeal to some clubs. But non nationally involved local club members probably 60-70% just attend a handful of club events a year. I don't think you are looking at large amount of reasonable potential here.
But this from Ed
Bring more regional level events into the national system so there are more opportunities for interacting with OUSA

And not the regional events you are thinking, those already have the attendance demographics of normal national events.
What has the ratio Club:OUSA membership been over the years, doubt it's changed very much.

Main question for discussion:
Why should you be an OUSA member?
Jul 29, 2017 1:24 PM # 
It sure does seem like there would be little reason for the average local orienteer to join OUSA, especially if they already belong to the local club and get what they need there. Hard to think of anything that would appeal from the national level, too. Is it weird that we do it this way? In Norway all membership is club-based, isn't that now the same in Canada, too?
Jul 29, 2017 2:26 PM # 
In Sweden, like Norway, you´re only a club member (or not, since open courses are for everyone as are week-day events like Veteran-O that don´t require a club membership).

Clubs are paying members of the Swedish Federation (yearly fee SEK 750-3000, based on membership figures).

Things may be done differently in different clubs, but in my club only paying "active" members get access to Eventor and the funcionality there.
Jul 30, 2017 11:51 AM # 
Hi, Delyn (not sure who you are); you ask an interesting question. Let me put it in other contexts - when I was a boy scout, while I was a member of a Troop of about 50 who went on trips and pursued projects, I was also part of the national organization. I received the Boy's Life magazine, I occasionally interacted with other troops at big gatherings, and I felt part of a broader community.

Maybe the solution ultimately is to give OUSA membership to every club member - for instance, with the bubo approach. At present, OUSA is the only vehicle (besides attackpoint) for a unified national orienteering community, and I think that's valuable.
Jul 30, 2017 4:00 PM # 
Ian, I enjoy reading your log for these kinds of discussions. We have met in person once this past fall when you were making rounds. I am not an OUSA member as I perceive no value in additional becoming one. While I still agree a centralized national orienteering community is valuable.

For the scouts do you separately and voluntarily join the national organization in addition to your troop? Is national membership required for some activity participation?

Club memberships do contribute nationally at a rate of $3.50 during charter renewal. Restructuring to centralize and standardize database functionality that there is little good reason to duplicate effort besides flexibility to handle one groups preferred but incompatible method of organizing has some merits.

However vary vast majority of members gained would be those that are even marginally involved locally between pursuing other hobbies they are more dedicated to. Not terrible, certainly with more national presence there would be some inspired to greater involvement nationally or even just locally. But, I don't find myself very optimistic on the return to cost.
Jul 30, 2017 6:54 PM # 
Yeah, you make a good point, Delyn. The casual orienteer - which I define very broadly - probably doesn't receive very much utility from the magazine, the national communications, the various technologies, and the lower event fees. I think more orienteers in the community would benefit from OUSA membership - especially at a cost of $35/year, but I'm naturally biased.

I think there are some obvious questions about the national model - to what extent a national federation can impact orienteering, or whether our efforts would be best directed at local and regional levels. I can see arguments for a minimalist (think insurance and a few resources), a limited, and a strong federation. The past seven years are evidence against a strong federation - that even with severe deficit spending and an influx of donations, the federation was incapable of effecting meaningful progress.

In contrast, on the local level, it's amazing what a few motivated individuals can do - obvious examples are Alex and Ed in CSUland, Barb's heroic Navigation Games push in Boston, PinkSocks driving events in Seattle, and many others. Orienteering effort is very pareto-distributed, and maybe the federation can best accomplish change by funneling resources to those motivated individuals. It would be amazing to see a champion of marketing and publicity really make something happen - but who knows what is even feasible? After all, all news is local.

So, ultimately, I don't have the answers to your questions. I think we will only figure things out through experimentation. Maybe 1500 members (15-25% of the community) at $35/year is as good as 3000 members at $20/year. But if we (OUSA) struggle to engage with people who are already orienteering, how on earth are we going to engage with neophytes?
Jul 31, 2017 6:26 AM # 
Well, don't impose a "surcharge" for a start. The suggestion above was "Change the "A Meet" discount into a non member surcharge". Orienteering is generally a very closed, remote, difficult-to-access sport. The message to neophytes should be that they are welcome, they get a great map, they get enjoyable courses, they start at convenient times, they get official results, there are coaching and training opportunities down the track and great discounts if they eventually sign up as members.
Jul 31, 2017 5:55 PM # 
Ian, I'm going to flip this question for you. What is the benefit of having more OUSA members? Is increasing OUSA membership numbers truly a useful goal or is it an arbitrary target that serves no deeper purpose?
Jul 31, 2017 6:19 PM # 
Are the local scout councils just subdivisions of the national organisation (so that by joining the local council, you're joining the national), or are they separate organisations? Orienteering takes the latter approach, though in principle the former is possible. Everyone joins OUSA, which organizes the national website, calendar, registration and results systems, as well as national periodical, while local committees organize trainings, events, mapping. It would connect people in remote areas with too few orienteers to support a club, but maybe there's a map, or lidar, around, and interest in putting out and visiting streamers, as well as the occasional road trip to an event. It would make it easier to see all events within some radius, though AttackPoint helps a little with that. A single website (and calendar, and results system, and route gadget) might prove less total effort. Maybe. Crazy idea, but I think it's worth considering different ways of organizing things.

This discussion thread is closed.