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Discussion: OUSA Youth Initiatives

in: Orienteering; General

Feb 28, 2018 12:39 PM # 
We will hold our second monthly meeting tonight at 6:30 pm EST via
Here is the plan for what we will discuss. Your constructive feedback is welcome, particularly if you would like to volunteer to serve on a committee or work on a project.
Mar 2, 2018 6:32 AM # 
Looks like there was quite a bit of talk about JROTC, US Air Force Academy, etc. I'm an Air Force officer, one of the Armed Forces orienteering athletes, and I live here in RMOC land and am happy to help w/ the USAFA or some of the Air Force JROTC or other USAF initiatives while I'm here.

Ironically, despite being a military orienteer I have never heard of the "Air Force nationals" mentioned in this document. Of course I would be happy to help w/ that effort as well...whatever it is. I think I could help w/ creating some talking points that might help sell orienteering to the Air Force entities OUSA reaches out to and I could do some of that using the Air Force's own language/lingo.

I suggest the OUSA youth program folks should also consider reaching out to Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadets as well. A lot of CAP squadrons wind up doing more land navigation than typical JROTC units due to CAP's emergency services / search & rescue mission. For example, CAP holds a land navigation competition annually in Michigan, and CAP members are required to demonstrate land navigation competency to qualify as ground search & rescue team members. And I think ARDF-O is a natural fit for many CAP-ers skilled at doing direction finding in the backcountry. It certainly was for me. There are something like 20,000 or 30,000 CAP cadets nationwide, and another 20,000-30,000 adult members.
Mar 2, 2018 10:44 AM # 
Is there anyone on here that is familiar with the Army JROTC syllabus and why it seems to encourage Army JROTC units to avoid competitive orienteering?
Sure, the navigation techniques of orienteering are somewhat different than military land nav but the skills are transferable from 'O' to land nav.
Besides, orienteering is pretty well as much about enhancing decision making skills as it is about learning to navigate. As any enlisted man will tell you, they want officers who can make decisions.
What is the command process to help bring the thousands of Army JROTC units in America on board with orienteering?
Mar 3, 2018 6:58 PM # 
Right you are gordhun.

I've done Army-run land nav courses before and didn't find them all that challenging. Probably are some tougher ones out there, but orienteering, on the other hand, seems to always have a way of pushing me to my limits mentally and cardiovascularly, and your point about decision making, especially while under physical and mental pressure, is one of the most important ones to make to the military when pitching this sport. Even Sprint-O has relevance now given the prevalence of urban combat in modern military operations.

Ironically our military academies can find all kinds of money for funding sports totally unrelated to military skills, and from my experience in AFROTC we probably spend a bit too much time on drill & ceremonies and not enough time on combat-related skills (in my Army ROTC experience, however, it did seem more balanced).

I tend to think a sport is something great for getting kids excited about something and motivated to excel... it becomes a fun thing as opposed to just another lesson or exercise, especially when the spirit of friendly competition and rivalry are mixed in, as orienteering can do. I see a lot of good that would come to cadets with more JROTC, CAP, etc involvement in the sport.

That all said, I'm very encouraged to see that since 2013 the DoD has been supporting orienteering sport and our Armed Force team again in the CISM arena after a 14-year hiatus and I see a lot of potential across the military, including youth programs such as JROTC, CAP, etc to expand.

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