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Discussion: Scout Orienteering

in: Orienteering; General

Aug 25, 2018 2:41 PM # 
I am a member of the St. Louis Orienteering Club. Every March we hold a one day Scout Orienteering Festival. We offer a 30 point 60 minute score-O course and a 2-3 KM point-to-point beginner level orienteering course. The festival is located at our local scout camp. We charge $5US and the funds go to the club.

The question is how many clubs hold a local scout orienteering festival? What format do you use? How much do you charge? And does the money go to the club or the local scout council.
Aug 25, 2018 4:02 PM # 
Speaking for small club EMPO (NY, near Albany), we've had occasional success depending on whether we had club members involved in scouting who reached out to the local council before they had their schedule set. Club membership is dwindling so it's not a yearly event these days but used to be held in late October.

When we've had events, proceeds went to the O club, but scouts were changed a smaller than normal fee ($4/scout each of whom gets a map, vs $5, leaders free). When we expected large groups we requested pre registration, but not everyone who signed up necessarily attended.

If a large turnout, two beginner and two adv. beginner courses would be offered.
Aug 25, 2018 4:03 PM # 
DVOA has MASOC (Mid Atlantic Scout Orienteering Championships) which had its 30th anniversary this year. It is for both Boy and Girl Scouts. The funds go to the club and scouts come from several different councils. Despite the championship name, any scouts can participate even if they have no experience. Instruction is available in the morning before the first start times.

In the morning there are regular courses done individually or in pairs (and possibly with an adult shadow) depending on age/experience. The courses vary from white to orange difficulty. Adult leaders can also go out on one of two courses which are yellow and brown difficulty.

In the afternoon there is a one hour troop score-o. There is a bit of extra strategy to it because each troop can only score points once for each control, so they need to divide things up among their scouts or pairs. There is an award ceremony with trophies for individuals for the morning event, and later troop scores are calculated including the score-o results and trophies for that are mailed to the troops.

This event is held at a state park and money goes to the club.

There's also a New Jersey scout championships, which is held at a scout camp and offers just regular white-orange courses for the scouts without the score component. This event also has advanced courses and doubles as a regular public meet.
Aug 26, 2018 5:13 PM # 
OCIN started an annual scout camporee last year and is doing it again for this year (and already planning for 2019). See long article in the last OUSA newsletter. I hope Greg Fasig will join this discussion and contribute more details.

Scouts arrived Friday night at the Scout Camp. Sat morning was beginner skill sessions (5 session rotation). Sat afternoon was open courses (pairs of scouts), with most scouts starting on white and working up, doing as many courses as they wished. Sat evening we did a night score-O (teams of 2). Sunday was Scout O championships (solo!) with kids assigned to courses based on age.

This year we will be adding a more advanced track to the Saturday training for returning scouts, and the opportunity to work on (and possibly complete) the orienteering merit badge.

OCIN received $10 per scout for the weekend. The scout camp handled all campsite reservations; pre-registration was done through the scout council website. From that, were our costs of printing maps and other materials. We had about 200 scouts in the inaugural year, and are preparing for a possible 400 this year.

2017 Scout-O results

2018 Scout-O information and registration

(Note: the links to leader's guide, training tools, map symbols from this main information page are currently broken. If you click the "click here to register" button, then select the "resources" tab, those links will work from that location.)
Aug 28, 2018 1:56 AM # 
Mike summed it up very well. Of course, one of the keys is recruiting volunteers to help with the event. Scouting is a volunteer organization so many adults (Scouters) are happy to help if asked and given some instruction.

Getting the event up and running was and is a lot of work but we’re also really making a difference. The Scouts are really starting to understand what orienteering really is and when the do, they like it.

What was most pleasing about our inaugural event was 1) the number of Scouts that approached and thanked me for putting together the event and 2) the feedback from their adult leaders that the kids were still talking about how much fun the camporee was several weeks after the event.

I’m happy to provide assistance to anyone that would like to get one going and I’m glad to report that the Miami Valley Orienteering Club (just North of us in Dayton) is going to host a 1-day Scout orienteering event in 2019 and Dan Curley of O-LOU in Louisville put on a 1-day event this Spring.

Aug 28, 2018 2:27 AM # 
I appreciate these accounts of success in bringing scouts to orienteering and vice versa. My experience is very frustrating and I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
As a director of Suncoast Orienteering (SOAR) from time to time I get requests from scout leaders for information on orienteering events and how they can bring their scouts to earn their badges.
I think I have bent over backwards for them. Of course their scouts can come to events but what about more? I've made simple maps of the areas where they meet so they can come to the event better prepared. I've offered and started maps of scout reserves so they can hold their own championships. I've offered to hold special scout district championships and I've offered that the scouts could have a ranking series similar to the one the Florida JROTC have embraced.
But the more I offer the farther they seem to run away from me.
I know a lot of scout orienteering interest is about qualifying for the badge and then moving on but surely as in other areas there are some who would embrace orienteering as their core activity. How do I get to them?
And how do we get input in to eagle scout projects that are called orienteering. I have come across three eagle scout 'orienteering' projects in Florida and two of them are just awful. One is just about compass bearings and the other incorporates information about land measurement using rods and chains. Seriously. The third is pretty good but then I had input in to that one.
Florida has many scout reserves that would be great venues for orienteering. Getting on the boy scout reserves is difficult, the girl scout reserves nigh on impossible. I think if you guys where it is working could get the scouters in your district to write in their national publications how orienteering is such a great activity for their reserve that may open some gates for us in Florida.
Any other ideas you would have would be appreciated.
Aug 28, 2018 3:59 AM # 
LAOC has an annual event that has been going for a little over 20 years. Originally called a scout meet, we changed the name a long time ago to youth meet and welcome any organized youth groups. But the vast majority of units attending are Boy Scouts. The event is open to 6th grade and up to try to make the focus more on competition, although we do welcome beginners and offer instruction.

The format is morning point-to-point courses and afternoon score-O. The score-O uses the same controls as the morning courses with possibly a few additions. Scouts are required to run in pairs and we also have separate adult categories, who may run individually or in pairs. We give ribbons for various classes on each course and also have a scoring system that results in an overall award for the best scoring troop.

We do this on the same weekend every year, but it rotates to different venues. It is entirely hosted by LAOC. The day after we hold a public score-O using the same controls.

It hasn't resulted in a lot of units coming orienteering more than once a year, but we do have a lot of units that make a point of putting this one event on their annual calendar. So at least once a year they are coming orienteering for the sake of the fun of competition and not to earn their badge or rank.

Link to the event details:
Aug 28, 2018 4:33 AM # 
@smitty: Is the requirement to orienteer in pairs from scouting or LAOC? I'm pretty sure MASOC allows experienced scouts to run Orange as individuals.
Aug 28, 2018 6:01 AM # 
But the more I offer the farther they seem to run.

This is a good thing, no?
Aug 28, 2018 10:21 AM # 
Good catch Tricky. I'll amend the comment to be clearer in meaning.
Aug 28, 2018 3:29 PM # 
Gordhum; Brian Coleman is OUSA's scout liaison. OUSA has a memorandum of cooperation with the BSA.

For reference what type of maps of their camps do they have?

I suggest you try to contact your local council's director of camping and layout a program for them. Tell them your club would like to form a partnership with them.

1. Map local camp. Everybody loves nice five color orienteering maps.
2. Put on an orienteering workshop/first class orienteering day.
3. Develop a permanent course for scout troop to use.

My council uses the detailed orienteering map for more than orienteering. It is part of there emergency plan, and hiking trails.

I do not know how your council's volunteer organization is structured but in my council (the Greater St. Louis Area Council) we have a camping committee with a lot of subcommittees. The map and compass committee is part of our council's camping committee. We work with the council to put on activities for the scouts.

You can also try contacting the local district camping and advancement chairman and offer them some program opportunities. Try to find out what troops are doing to get their scouts through the first class navigation requirement.

Good Luck.
Aug 28, 2018 3:57 PM # 
My experience with boy scouts is very similar to GordHunter's. Even with the required "Youth Protection Training", access to scout venues is restricted. I have made several maps for scout-only areas via "remote sensing", but still we are chided for not supporting the scouts.
Aug 28, 2018 11:03 PM # 
Around here we're not immune from cotton-wool syndrome (ref above and also looking after kids in "Family Sport"). It makes the self-reliance of orienteering even more valuable. Hang in there Gord.
Aug 28, 2018 11:34 PM # 
There may be some ideas in this scout/cub program that is working. Working to the extent that one of their biggest issues is parking.
Aug 29, 2018 1:49 AM # 
NEOC has 2 Scout meets per year at different venues. I think we cap it at 400 per event, and I think we usually get close to that. I know of only 1 scout who continued on to coming regularly to our events, over the past 30+ years. It is a huge source of income for us, so we continue with it and thankfully we have a few members who do a lot of work for it. Biggest hassle is getting club members to volunteer at the event.
Aug 29, 2018 5:06 AM # 
@GuyO The pairs is mostly a BSA thing (or so I've been told). It also makes everything easier and "fairer" if every group is operating under the same rules.
Jan 5, 2020 11:54 AM # 
Excuse me folks but I'm just bringing this off the back burner. I have some developments happening in Florida and may need to find this thread more quickly than I did just now.
Jan 6, 2020 12:07 PM # 
While it is here can I ask if there is anything like a national standard for scout courses and competitions?
If not is there any appetite for developing such a standard?
Jan 6, 2020 10:58 PM # 
Gord, Brian Coleman is OUSA's Scouts BSA liaison and probably the best person to talk to.

See Youth Programs at this link:
Jan 7, 2020 7:06 PM # 
Gord the standards are basically the same as for most events. Keep it simple if you expect a lot of beginners. Where ever works for you is acceptable. For my score-O I use a mix of varying difficulty for the controls. Something for everyone.
Jan 7, 2020 10:09 PM # 
Thanks Dave but what I'm trying to get at is if there is a standard for dividing the scouts up by age and ability for competitions, things like that.
I'm very impressed by a report I have seen about a weekend orienteering jamboree they hold in OCIN area. The kids start out pretty inexperienced and end up with a championships.
There are other neat things happening, too, but I can't seem to get any handle on whether there is uniformity the same way there seems to be with most JROTC programs.
Jan 8, 2020 12:07 AM # 
NEOC's Scout O this past fall offered 2 White, 2 Yellow, and 1 Orange practice courses during the day, as well as a number of mini-demo stations...essentially small butterfly loops at each difficulty level so scouts can get repetitions of finding controls and rapid coaching feedback. They also did a night Score-O.

Pia Webb and Wendy Johnecheck have also offered the mini-demos during Youth Orienteering days in the Boston area, they work really well for introducing orienteering. I'm sure they'd be willing to share examples of how this has worked.

Typical NEOC Scout-Os have had championships on the second day, although not this past fall. Sounds similar to what you describe with OCIN's event.
Jan 20, 2020 3:45 PM # 
hi all, dvoa also hosts a fall Quail Hill scout camp (open to jrotc and public not just Scouts), since 1999 when I and theo Zaharia created the first of at least 4 generations (revisions) of maps (currently [[since 2013 or so) mr bob burg (dvoa mapper esquire) fixes and field updates a really accurate ocad map and sets the courses at these current bsa PR meets).
we are trying to rekindle more interest by scouts, the key item is to advertise 4 approx months by releasing flyers and info for the local council to post.
we also have two yellow courses (one longer than other) to urge newbies to try yellow and steer older scouts (pairs) onto the longer course. of course, we add some orange controls to the longer yellow course, at least i did when i course set last.
Feb 1, 2020 5:07 PM # 
I am a boy scout leader in El Paso TX. Scouts are required to do everything with a buddy. That is why pairs are important. Safety is the reason. I am looking for orienteering in the El Paso, Las cruces, nm or Albuquerque areas. Any help?
Feb 1, 2020 7:11 PM # 
Praisehim2000: There is nothing in orienteering that prevents scouts from orienteering as buddies. We usually promote the sport for individuals but scout events: scout rules.
West Texas and New Mexico are close to wastelands for orienteering in the US right now but it looks easy enough to help you.
So do you have a scout reservation/ camp close to El Paso where we could do a basic map for you? Basic map means the map is created remotely by computer and you help with any corrections you want.
Failing that would a map of Arroyo Park or UTEP help you stage orienteering events to help your scouts meet their badge requirements? Once you have the map there is plenty of information on line to help you set out a course. Once you are setting courses you may find other troops or individuals wanting to pay you to run on your courses.
Feb 1, 2020 11:31 PM # 
See my post in El Paso Orienteering...
Feb 2, 2020 1:04 AM # 
...scout events: scout rules.

If the event is organized by scouting officials.

Otherwise, the club hosting the event is under NO obligation to enforce the "buddy system". That is entirely the responsibility of the adult leaders accompanying the scouts.

For example, the scout-Os that OCIN has organized as part of camporees as well as standalone have had many solo participants.
Feb 2, 2020 2:48 AM # 
Scouts are required to do everything with a buddy.

Everything? No kidding? Wow
Feb 2, 2020 3:50 AM # 
Actually, the OCIN scout-O (held on a scout camp) made provisions that satisfied the scout council requirements by having pairs of adults stationed strategically around the course so as to be able to observe individual participants throughout the course.
Feb 2, 2020 11:28 AM # 
guy olsen, please retract you poorly worded bsa non-buddy statement. please read up on he topic or call your scout club liason member, who would have told you the bsa policy for scouts to hike with a buddy when not in a group or a patrol (it is in there handbook). Common sense is that when alone in the woods And not trained like scouts in local clubs are and there parents allow it (or shadow them) that All scouts on/hiking on an orienteering course be with a buddy. Case in point, two inexperienced scouts (white course) at a Masoc scout event '19 hiked off" the course and the map. one of the scouts called for aid on his cell phone and the ED & police aided in the return to finish . long story - but a total example why scouts need a buddy. either that or local clubs pay legal fees to being sued for hurt or worst participants, etc.. in your defense enforcement is a totally separate discussion. RR
Feb 2, 2020 2:34 PM # 
....but having a buddy didn’t stop them wandering off the map....having the cell phone seemed more important in that situation.
Feb 2, 2020 3:42 PM # 
Gordhun, thanks for info. We have a scout camp in cloudcroft, nm, about 90 minutes from us. It's on us forest service land. Small, but decent terrain. El paso has Franklin mountains state park. Local JROTC units use Franklin's for high school meets. Haven't yet found a poc or schedule. Any help on maps would be great.
Feb 2, 2020 5:32 PM # 
OUSA has contacts with JROTC which may be able to help you get connected. Visit the OUSA Board page and scroll down to Committees > Youth Programs for names/email.

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