Happy Meteorological First day of summer.
Posting a link heavy blog today which typifies the tech times were living through, linked to the wider question of the title. Only blogging every couple of weeks at present as my delivery of work planned months ago comes into fruition. Every group or individual who comes and explores on maps with me during an Orienteering session says they loved it, have written elsewhere about how children are inherently interested in maps and navigation, adults today support this entirely due to current knowledge of how young people are increasingly monitored, tested, examined and using tech more than ever which makes the rewards of getting out and discovering the outdoors-independently, incalculable. Our sports club Wessex Orienteers currently has around 80 members, a typical amount for any grass roots club, we plan, organise and deliver events and activities all year, entirely through voluntary hours work by more or less the same members. Its great to see the regulars who have become friends and my competitors at our events, at the same time we in Wessex constantly ask ‘how can we get more members?’ Talking to a development officer of our N.G.B (National Governing Body) yesterday who agreed that this is probably the most asked question of ALL sports clubs that operate on a local level, if all the many groups and introduction participants I work with say they enjoyed the activity greatly (and many swear they will come to other events) how do we get them to come back?
You might be forgiven for thinking I love the tech, blogging, tweeting, facebooking for Wessex, truth is I’m totally ambivalent about it. Theres nothing I love more than curling up with a book and nothing else, animating the story in my imagination, whilst I manage a fair amount of social media for work its far from my favourite activity. I, like most people when faced with a window on a web page will shut it down if it dosent work in less than 30 seconds. Of the 80 Orienteers who are members of Wessex, 14 are active facebook users when we have 200+ ‘friends’ on the site- perhaps indicative of the age bracket of the first Orienteers who took up the sport in the 1970’s when Chris Brasher broke it in the U.K, our friends are most of all young people from clubs around the country. With all the above in mind, a couple of us came up with an idea to play the current culture at its own game. Rather than flyering, standing at stands at events promoting our sport with lots of lovely conversations in which people say they will come along, and lots of traditional methods we are launching something seemingly of its times. POCNAV:- Stands for Permanent Orienteering Course Navigation. Observing the success of Park Runs and other ways to ‘do’ outdoor activities using devices which measure individual efforts, Free, we thought of something that has sparked an interest from the N.G.B. and is launching Monday 01 June. Our Club Twitter handle:- @wessexorienteer
British Orienteering Webpage
Currently containing 6 parks with one of our clubs Permanent Courses the Poolemouth conurbation has about the same number of places that most Orienteering clubs look after and use for local, night and regional events. Another 2 courses will be opened this year, at Boscombe Chine and Queens Park- both superb areas to run and navigate around typifying the richness of our area. We wanted to open up and gamify our sport bypassing the difficulties of promotion and utilising what is unavoidable today (much to the disgust of many)- the tech. Rather than having to come to specific events this will run when the runner wants to take part, running or walking the entire course in the score –style, meaning participants will visit all controls on the course in any order for their activity. Maps of the areas already exist on our website, they can be pre-printed and planned on first or using the already existing Q.R codes which are on plaques at the locations, one- off visitors can scan in and use the map on their handset to take part.
Linking the other common devices like garmin and strava each person will upload their attempt and join a league of competitors who will gain prizes appropriate to age category after the 16 week challenge. By taking away the perceived dedication it takes people to go to a proper competitive event, we would essentially like lots more people to discover our sport in the best places available on our doorsteps, when they want, at the speed they want. You never know they might even enjoy it so much they come and discover the wider areas of wild country that we love competing in the most, at an event, or even better- join our club. Over the summer there are some club relays and the big summer 6 days event, then the non-elite season fully starts October when forests are clear of summer undergrowth again. We believe this is the first time a club has attempted something like this- it may not work, but I’m still trying to understand the times were living through, and using this method of engagement might be just what we need to get people to come back and encourage new memberships.
Heres a sample of the area used for third fortnight:-
and my Strava recorded run around the whole course
Heres the whole season which runs from -01 June and October … with a break for August when we are all in Scotland for the Worlds. Do come and try it, share, blog, tweet, in fact do anything that answers the question asked by the post.
POCNAV. Permanent Orienteering Course Navigation.
- Each Fortnight, there will a focus on one of the local permanent, Orienteering courses. (POC) These maps are available at http://www.wessex-oc.org/ from the Permanent Courses tab, or the Q.R code at each location.
- The idea is that runners visit all controls in any order and record their time.
- Runners must physically touch each post.
- Runners need to complete the POCNAV in that 2 week period, record their times and ages and send it to Becca Ellis c/o Wimbourne Orienteers or Jason Falconer c/o Wessex Orienteers. You will be entered onto an age category Spreadsheet kept up to date by us.
- Runners should start and finish at the ‘start’ and ‘finish’ point.
- Runners may look at, print the map beforehand, and attempt to work out the optimum route choice (unlike in ‘normal’ Orienteering events)
- We will be relying on honesty for runners to accurately record their time however the use of a GPS device ( Strava or Garmin) is encouraged, but we do not want to exclude runners who do not have ready access to a GPS.
- Scores will be worked out as follows.500 Points for fastest time, 490 for second and so on.
- The runners 6 best scores out of a possible 8 will count in a league table updated after each fortnight, take part in as many as you like.
- There will be a prize for the fastest runner in the following categories: women, men, women 45+, men 45+, women, men who do not belong to an Orienteering club, girls 16 and under, boys 16 and under
Fortnight Focus Map: – Start / Finish at:- Dates Inclusive:- more info-
|1. Kings Park||Next to car parks at end of Clarence park rd.||01-14 June||Public Park|
|2. Upton Country Park||Edge of open space just north of service road to House||15-30 June||Public Park|
|3. Slades Farm||Triangle between Childrens play area and dog training area.||01-14 July||Public Park|
|4.Poole Park||In front of new café by small middle car park||15-31 July||Public Park|
|5. Moors Valley Country Park||Underneath Go Ape traverse||01-14 September||Forest challenge|
|6. Broadstone Rec.||Either 1 just off Blandford road, or 2 on Edge of Cricket green||15-30 September||Public Park|
|7. Boscombe Chine||tbc||01-14 October||Public Park|
|8. Queens Park||tbc||15-30 October||Public Park|