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Discussion: Junior Nationals 2020 and beyond

in: Orienteering; General

Oct 31, 2018 4:06 PM # 
I'm guessing this is flogging a dead horse but I'm disappointed but not surprised to learn that the 2019 Junior Nationals are about to be scheduled for Apr 13-14.
Some months ago we in Florida had to bite the bullet and schedule our biggest event of the year, the state-wide JROTC orienteering championship for that weekend. This conflict is disappointing as the two clubs were developing the habit of making a good donation to help the top JROTC team get to the Junior Nationals. Last April South Sumter made the long drive up to the Junior Nats and came home with team bronze medals which thrilled them no end.
So what is done is done. But what about going forward? Are we any closer to getting a system in place where we orienteers can know a year or few in advance where the next national events are going to be? If not what has to be done to put it in place?
Oct 31, 2018 4:12 PM # 
Alex Jospe is working on making new bid packets for all the national championship events with a goal of getting better more comprehensive bids from multiple clubs further in advance.
Oct 31, 2018 5:53 PM # 
Pink Socks:
the 2019 Junior Nationals are about to be scheduled for Apr 13-14.

How long has the Florida event been confirmed on the schedule? It's not been a secret (for 8 months, at least, see link below) that QOC's 2019 bid for Junior Nationals has been for April 13-14, 2019. Yes, it would be great if things were 100% confirmed years in advance, but if you're worried about a possible conflict as an event organizer, ask around.

the habit of making a good donation to help the top JROTC team get to the Junior Nationals.

If your big local event is in mid-April, I think it might be hard to always get the top team to Junior Nationals. In 5 of the last 10 years, the Florida event would be taking place after Junior Nationals. 2018 was the latest in the year (April 28-29) that it's been in a decade (at least).

I'd consider having your biggest event in February if that's possible. Not only would you avoid head-to-head scheduling conflicts with Junior Nationals, you'd have more planning time to fund and ensure that your top teams can make the trip (if CascadeOC earns the 2020 bid, it's way beyond a long drive for you).
Oct 31, 2018 5:57 PM # 
Try this link for the planning calendar:
Oct 31, 2018 6:01 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Thanks for the link, Janet.

I was trying to link the internet archive's version from 2/24/2018, which showed QOC's bid for April 13-14. That link has some characters in it that prevented me from linking it with text, so I fixed it by pasting the entire link at the end.

I forgot to mention that CascadeOC schedules our biggest annual junior event in late February, and the timing usually works out really well for sending kids to Junior Nationals.
Oct 31, 2018 6:28 PM # 
That's a good point about holding the state champs earlier to get the winning team to the Nationals but of course that is not the only goal of the championships.
Besides with our individual and team ranking system we always know who are the top individuals and teams in the State at any point in time.
Say the Junior Nats were going to be in Jan 2020. We could put out a call in November to see which teams would be interested in going, receive expressions of interest but more importantly tell the teams that are interested how much they can count on from us. It is amazing how much a show of support from an orienteering club can help a school generate in funds from the community.
But if has been known for 8 months that QOC will be hosting the Junior Nats why in Hell's name is it taking so long to get it approved and on the calendar?
Oct 31, 2018 6:32 PM # 
Gord, just because it's been known for a long time doesn't mean it gets through sanctioning instantly. In the meantime, as Patrick pointed out, the planning calendar is an excellent resource for, well, planning.
Oct 31, 2018 8:38 PM # 
You put your event on the planning calendar as soon after the club board approved the idea of bidding for the Junior Nationals as you managed to settle on a weekend and what do you get?

Granted the planning calendar is unofficial but the link to it is right there on the official OUSA page of sanctioned events, described as "Other events under consideration (not yet sanctioned) >". I don't know, maybe that's a recent change, but I know I/QOC did our due diligence announcing our intentions so I'm not going to let this bother me. Much.
Oct 31, 2018 10:18 PM # 
Not a recent change.
Nov 1, 2018 5:23 AM # 
We always hold our JROTC Regionals in January, as they are a selection event for Navy Nationals which are consistently held on President's Day weekend in February. Our Youth League finals are in early March, but don't usually get quite as large a turnout as the JROTC Regionals.
Nov 1, 2018 5:45 AM # 
You need to live in the most isolated capital city in the world where no-one on the other side of the country cares when we set our events because no-one travels over for them anyway. Vice versa also applies although we don't schedule conflicts with either the nationals or Easter carnival because people do travel and they're always at the same time each year anyway so easy to avoid (well other than MTBO, which could be any time of year depending which state is hosting it).
Nov 1, 2018 9:32 AM # 
Folks we are well away from the intention of this thread which is to try to move the Orienteering USA to a longer horizon in planning the National events. It has not much to do with 'sanctioning'. That is a detail that can be worked out.
Yes it is a job for the O-USA Board to put in place such a policy but just as in politics a new policy is best put in place when the powers that be know there is grass roots support for the idea.
So here are my ideas for going forward. Do they have your support?
To the best of my knowledge there are to be three National championships each year -Junior, Masters and the 'Nationals'
North to South the USA can be divided in to three 'region' of orienteering -east, central and west.
If you agree lets ask the Board to accept the principle that each of the events will rotate among the three area so each championship has first priority of being awarded to any one region every three years.
That encouraging existing events to step up the game and become a national host, just as is happening with the two existing bids, will be a preferred option.
That with the view that any event is better than none the sanctioning committee streamline its approval process to get events on the board and then work positively with the host club to bring up any important standards that feels should be met.
That given the wide variety of climate zones and preferred orienteering seasons in the USA it is recognized that National championships will sometimes fall out of your area's normal season. ie a championship in Florida would likely happen from mid November to mid March for climate reasons and early in that period for travel and hotel reasons. A championships in Alaska (man, I'd love to se that) would be a July/ August certainty.
What say you fellow O-USA members? Are you for long range planning for National Championships? Are you in favor of priority regional rotation for the three Nationals? Are you in favor of a streamlined sanctioning process for national events that has most events approved quickly with only a 'potential deficiencies' report accompanying the sanctioning instead of a veto killing the sanctioning.
Nov 1, 2018 2:01 PM # 
Gord, in addition to beating the drum on ap you might want to discuss your ideas with the VP of Competition. As Ed noted when you first started this thread, she is already working on this topic.

Also, there once was a champs in Alaska but I missed it, too.
Nov 1, 2018 2:13 PM # 
I am 100% for long-range planning of the national championships, and I support Alex's leadership to make this happen. I don't think we should be afraid of competing bids, because that pushes us all to think what we can do better to make our event top-notch.

I would love to see Team Trials on the list of long-range planning events, as well. We know where WOC is going to be, so surely we can identify good terrain for TT in advance. Especially with sprint WOC in 2020, I think we want to lean forward to identify good urban terrain for TT.
Nov 1, 2018 9:20 PM # 
Honestly, I don't think it's worth even trying to adhere to a policy of alternation between defined regions until we've vanquished the problem of getting bids for all three championships that don't have to be cobbled together starting less than a year in advance (much though the effort to assemble those last minutes bids when a championship would otherwise not happen is appreciated).

Regarding streamlining the sanctioning process, having assembled two sanctioning applications myself (3 if you count the new fee-waived NREs), it's merely a minor annoyance from a large club perspective to have to satisfy the committee you've got things well enough in hand. It's presumably more of a problem for smaller clubs that can't point to a long track record of successful past events and maybe don't have a large pool of experienced volunteers known to the sanctioning committee members, but I'm not certain that isn't justified. Supposing OUSA were to implement the suggestion that applications be approved with potential deficiency reports attached, presumably the ultimate result if any of the deficiencies aren't subsequently rectified is either a sub-par event or sanctioning being later revoked. That wouldn't be ideal any more than the current state of affairs. I'm far from convinced that the current sanctioning process isn't a fairly well measured response to the problem of ensuring national events (mostly) live up to expectations.
Nov 2, 2018 1:48 AM # 
A bid for 2020 Junior Nationals is now being voted on by the Sanctioning Committee for April 3-5, 2020, and should be ready to go to the board's November meeting.
Nov 2, 2018 10:45 PM # 
I've been suggesting for a very long time that the wait for clubs to bid is a bad way to put together a schedule. My suggestion for a solution is to approach clubs and offer them the championship. Back that offer with support in regards to website, map printing, course design, etc and it could be a very inviting offer.

If we continue to do the old method(ie not being proactive), OUSA will continue to struggle to find hosts, and championships like the one just held will be subpar, lightly attended and quite frankly and bluntly embarrassing. Under 190 participants in a year there was only a single champs?!

That said, I have the impression that one board member has been working proactively on the schedule and anticipate seeing good results in the coming years. But I hope part of the improvement is the end of club bids and the implementation of offers directly to targeted clubs in various regions.
Nov 3, 2018 3:50 AM # 
bgr you have hit the nail on the head. I'm embarrassed to have not seen it myself. We all as event organizers know that when we put out a general plea for volunteers and ask people to call if they are interested in volunteering we will wait a long time between rings of the phone. However if we pick up the phone and call our member list and ask someone to do something chances are we will get many positive responses.
Maybe we club leaders are the same way. We don't want to put ourselves out there to hold an event but if we are asked (and supported) and if O-USA initiates the confidence that they think we can do a particular event then I would guess more clubs would be stepping up.
For instance I know two clubs which could hold a dynamite US Masters Championships with all the trimmings, community support and everything but one of the clubs will not put itself out there. However if O-USA were to sweet talk and ask them they might change their mind. The other club? He's a pushover for anything orienteering.

This discussion thread is closed.