Navigation GamesSome work in progress
ARK is one of our inspirations. Also Andrea Schneider's work, and Deb Humiston's, and Erin Schirm's, and Mary Jo Childs'.
Our model is a non-profit (so we can chase grants and have easier access to municipal resources, and other reasons), with paid staff (because volunteers would not be able to take on all of the work).
I've been interested in working in urban schools to get the broadest reach, across all economic levels -- and make the most difference with kids who don't have as much opportunity to play outside.
This year we've delivered 505 programs (eg an afterschool class, a team training) with > 6200 participants in those programs.
My original goal was for every child in Cambridge, MA to try orienteering.
Now my goal is for every child in the USA to do orienteering in school.
We are developing and testing lesson plans and workshops for teachers. For example, we have a collaboration with the City of Cambridge -- every third grader in the public schools will have 4 orienteering lessons in PE this year. We'll present a workshop on the curriculum, along with one of the teachers, at the MA health & PE conference in November.
We have been funded by private donors and program fees. Our current big donors will only support us for a few more months, so we are applying for grants and looking for new supporters. In 2019, we'll pay around $70,000 for staff and bring in about $35,000 of that in program fees.
I believe that through orienteering, kids can build healthy minds and bodies. They can learn all sorts of useful habits of thinking to deal with feeling lost/confused, to see multiple ways of doing things, to pick the way that works best for them... They develop greater awareness of nature, and I think that's important in this era of human-driven climate change and mass extinction. In building up a new sport in this country, we have the chance to associate certain values with it, and for me a big one is teamwork, being aware of other people, and helping each other learn and develop.
I do think that by building up orienteering locally we will eventually see a stronger national scene, but my motivation and action remains primarily on the local level right now. That is, if you don't count Safe Sport and Map Grants and the Safety Handbook and Erin's Youth Working Group, which I'm still working on with OUSA...