Register | Login
Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Standards

in: Hawk 3Peat; Hawk 3Peat > 2018-06-10

Jun 11, 2018 12:58 PM # 
More events, fewer people compared to twenty years ago. You can do the maths. I suspect that keeping maps up to date is not a commercial proposition for most clubs these days. Veg mapping is time consuming. Given the frequency of burns, it changes pretty quickly. I face a decision about a map for a July event. It was burnt a few months ago. Do I remap veg knowing it will change rapidly. Do I just run the event and let people cope. Do I cancel the event. I expect about 40 people at the event. The sums look unpromising.
Jun 11, 2018 2:18 PM # 
Vegetation changes are one thing, but wrong numbers and incorrect map scale are things that should not happen. Keeping the vegetation up to date is potentially time consuming, but when setting the courses you should be doing rough checks when doing site checks and test running legs, or is that something that controllers skip now. Not sure how you can get wrong numbers if use CONDES and print the maps and descriptions from the one event file.
Jun 11, 2018 10:23 PM # 
I was mainly talking about the vegetation mapping issue. But I can make reasonable hypotheses about how one can have wrong number and wrong scale problems. I was not at the event so the following is based upon mistakes I have been party to. [I chose a weekend in the Grampians rock climbing].
First level of explanation:
Wrong numbers can be a versioning problem. If you have more than one person involved and you work with email exchanges rather than a shared dropbox folder, the risk is real. Wrong scale is normally a result of not understanding the difference between map scale, print scale and how condes differentiates between the two. In the case described it sounds like someone put the scale on the map in condes manually rather than inserting a graphic scale element which adjusts according to the print scale.
Second level of explanation:
How can this happen? Well, there seem to be two obvious potential explanations. One is lack of experience with condes. The other is lacking time and being in a hurry.
Third level of explanation:
Why do people lack experience or time. That's where my curiosity is focused. [Again, general comments rather than about a specific event I did not attend]. I merely point at where I started this thread-
1. Lack of opportunities to gain experience setting technical bush orienteering events. How many are set outside Bendigo and AWOC fixtures. You can count them on two hands.
2. The small number of events would be little cause for volunteer burden, except that these events are a drop in the bucket of Victorian orienteering events. I can't face counting up the bush, MelBush, Sprint, Street and park, MTBO events on the fixture. Lots of other orienteering events outside bush to dilute the workforce.
3. Smaller and ageing pool from which to draw volunteers. The decline may have stabilised in the past decade, but its well below when I started in the sport.
4. Generally declining levels of volunteering in the community due to workplace changes, increased regulatory load, congestion, cultural change.
I have stopped being concerned about these trends. Each generation will make their own choices and its not my role to make the choices for them. I just try and organise a few events each year and try not to make mistakes. Six last year was too many. Two this year seems about the right load. You can interpret that as being on the trend line.
Jun 11, 2018 11:04 PM # 
Uncle JiM:
As the printer of the maps, and involved a little with the organisation, I can try to answer some questions
1. Map Scale was on the maps, it was/is right. The issue here was some people were told it was 10,000 when it was 7,500
2. Wrong control descriptions. There was a shared dropbox, trouble was the person in charge of the control descriptions didn't have access to this dropbox, so used a previous course that was emailed? to them.
Jun 11, 2018 11:16 PM # 
Update. About 240 orienteering events on the fixture for 2018. That is not counting the scout events which are elsewhere auspiced.
We have a sport where so many things can go wrong. I think Jim's comment adds to my suspicion that the more who are involved in an event the more there is that can go wrong. Jim being an exception. He has picked up some of my map layout errors on more than one occasion.
Jun 11, 2018 11:26 PM # 
Hawk 3Peat:
The statement in the flyer was all maps will be 1:10000. I was not trying to blame with my comments. I think I began it with the point that a sport run by volunteers will always have problems. Just was making the point that we more readily accept these errors now than in the past and continue to make excuses for them.
Jun 12, 2018 12:27 AM # 
Interesting point about accepting errors more now than before. I have no firm view on that either way. I certainly remember courses being cancelled at OY events in the past. My course for the first event at Tabletop is in my memory. Likewise a cancellation at an Australian Championships in Queensland. [Both from memory were due to coordination issues] In both cases there were significant results at stake. Orienteer of the Year and Championship placings. I don't think much hangs upon SS events these days other than the event on the day. So maybe there is less pressure on the organiser to cancel the course. It has been a long time since a Bendigo course has been cancelled. There are errors, but its the same thing. Why bother unless its catastrophic.
Jun 12, 2018 5:13 AM # 
Hawk3Peat - I am a little concerned by your statement << I think I began it with the point that a sport run by volunteers will always have problems. Just was making the point that we more readily accept these errors now than in the past and continue to make excuses for them.>>
My perspective - in previous work places I was in charge of up to 40 volunteers and 2-3 employees, as well as being on the "receiving end" of similar situations.

I am concerned by your statement that a sport run by volunteers will always have problems - even in that statement while being realistic - you are providing an "excuse" for mistakes.
Similarly even if events were provided by commercial enterprises there will still be avenues for mistakes - then what do you do? Refuse to pay them? Dock their profit? Refuse to hire them again?
In my work situation I held no difference between the Volunteers and the paid - in the sense of job performance. Saying it's a volunteer is almost demeaning their offering. The only difference is the receipt of payment - not the quality of work. If the person allocated a job - paid or otherwise -and isn't up to it - it is the responsibility of the organiser to realise this and adapt or alter.

Making excuses - really is accepting that People make mistakes. And while it is disappointing, the person who has erred is probably feeling a whole lot worse than most of us realise. And it is.... just a run. (OK I can hear the explosions now!!!)
Jun 12, 2018 6:59 AM # 
Can I disagree in a friendly manner? An employee is subject to direction. A volunteer in a sport is not, except the ultimate direction of expelling from the sport. Its pretty clear that latter path is only going to happen in absolutely exceptional circumstances. So managing sporting volunteers is a totally different relationship to managing employees. One is a peer, and one is a subordinate controlled by the delivery of money. I always laugh at the production of strategic plans for our sport that mimic plans in commercial organisations. We don't have the same control over our "resources', so we just have to harness passions and enthusiasms where we see the opportunity. Change is rarely strategic, more often emergent.
So I think Roch's comments were fair. They should not be interpreted as any slight on volunteers. Mistakes will often happen when you have a mismatch of tasks and available resources. A good example is this question- when was the last time anyone did an assessment of the changing volunteer capacity of our sport to provide a Championship carnival? An Australian Champs carnival now can have 8 events in ten days. It used to be a weekend. In the time that the carnival load has grown, the number of orienteers has decreased. Mismatches like that will eventually mean mistakes by volunteers. That is no criticism of volunteers.
Jun 12, 2018 10:03 AM # 
Invis - very interesting and I accept your point of view and supporting statements. I must have a "different" perspective on volunteering. When I've managed sporting volunteers (eg previously for our State leagues and forthcoming 4 events in 2 days hair brain idea) and also when I'm managing a committee + volunteers for our Annual School Reunion (225+ ppl attending) I treat them exactly the same way I've always treated employees... and I likewise when I'm a volunteer I treat it as a "job".
Jun 12, 2018 1:50 PM # 
Mistakes can and do happen, but that is what the role of the event advisor is. Watch for and prevent the mistakes. Jim refers to the "mistake" that the person printing the control descriptions didn't have access to Dropbox so mistakenly used an older email version, but where was the check of the printed descriptions by the controller?
As a controller I have sacked a course setter. Tough decision but some times it is needed to ensure the good of the event. Yes they are volunteers but if they are not performing they still need to moved on and get some one in who will do the job properly
Jun 12, 2018 10:26 PM # 
Irony time. For my sins guess who I have just been asked to EA for. Apparently there is a shortage of volunteers.
In response to the tinytoes perspective... it appears you are a collaborative manager in a professional role. That would sort of transfer to the voluntary sector. But first you have to have volunteers who have put their hand up to enter into that social contract. But my main point is that if volunteers don't put their hands up for a certain event, then no amount of strategic planning will make it happen with the necessary level of resources, and thus the mismatch mistakes creep in. And some poor souls find themselves with a continuous role of begging for volunteers at events.

That's why I stopped roigaining. I find it hard to say no, and I was forced to respond to those requests if I attended an event. My last year of rogaining I spent vetting but not competing. It made sense just to stop until the sport reformed itself to create a lower volunteer burden. It seems it only achieved this by the emergent outcome of more cancelled events. The obvious choices still haven't been made.
Jun 13, 2018 2:03 AM # 
Funny you should say that. I have been to one rogaine this year .... and guess what ....l couldn't say no and am now vetting the September event!
Jun 13, 2018 5:22 AM # 
I'm getting more and more involved with rogaines - and I don't even do them! I'm a groupie and I admire greatly those who do but I'm getting more and more responsibility foisted upon me. Give me the Admin bit every time - oops hope no one is reading this.
Invis - thank you for what I am interpretting as a compliment (collaborative manager), though it was an observation on your behalf. I think that was why I always got a lot "out" of my volunteers. I think the difference is that I could choose my volunteers (interview, skills set etc.) but we don't necessarily have that capacity in sporting arena as you point out. Also my club is so very fortunate to be one of the larger ones with a wealth of experience and goodwill - and little in the way of ego!
Jun 14, 2018 4:56 AM # 
I started a post about gripes about rogaining admin when I was involved- then decided it wasn't worth it.
Jun 14, 2018 7:28 AM # 
Invis - you are really burnt out if you can't even winge! :-)))
Jun 14, 2018 7:44 AM # 
I checked the VRA volunteer web site. There were 36 positions for a short rogaine. Why do they need food and therefore caterers at an event. The idea of food was to keep people around until results are processed. Its all computerised now. Why persist with the navlight timing system. Better exist out there. Lots of unfilled positions like equipment manager. It hasn't changed since I managed a rogaine back about 2005. I have mused about running another, but on orienteering maps, not auspiced by VRA, with SI timing, OE event software, eventor entry, no food and web based results. I think about ten helpers would be more than sufficient. But doubt I will. Have no faith it would catalyse change.
Jun 14, 2018 8:11 AM # 
See. Not totally burnt out.
Jun 14, 2018 1:36 PM # 
It's not a rogaine unless there is a Hash House :) Food is essential for the social aspect (which orienteering is sometimes missing). But yeah, I got an insight into the workings of the SARA committee earlier this year and I would rather stick to my 5 different orienteering committees!
Jun 15, 2018 2:07 AM # 
Its not a rogaine unless there are volunteers.
Jun 16, 2018 1:05 PM # 
Slightly off the original topic but.... NSW have scouts come cater the hash house, I imagine the scouts get funds for it and it means the volunteer load is reduced. VIC rogaines have great catering but it takes the bulk of the volunteer load, which as Neil has said, is pretty high.
Jun 17, 2018 3:56 AM # 
Jayne - In NSW some rogaines have scouts come for catering - we (in the Hunter) tend to have a mix - sometimes a local P&C, sometimes a local Scout group and sometimes Girl Guides. Rogaine NSW does have the luxury of a Sydney based scout group do catering and they are well set up and seasoned providers... but the actual scouts are sometimes scarce - and it is the parents doing the work. It certainly does allow the volunteers needed for a rogaine to focus on the rogaine.

Please login to add a message.