- What is the Greater Boston Youth Orienteering Series?
- Who is the Youth Series for?
- When and where are the events?
- What to Expect on the day of the Event?
- What courses will be available at each event?
- What is the cost for the Event?
- What should participants wear?
- Do I need a compass and SI stick? Oh, and what is an SI stick?
- Is it Ok for accompanying adult(s) to participate with the kids?
- Are prizes awarded for the series?
- What if I would like to do more orienteering?
- Who is sponsoring the series?
- Who are the coaches?
1. What is the Greater Boston Youth Orienteering Series?
A series of six events where coaches lead local youth in learning the sport of orienteering. Each event starts with age-appropriate games aimed at teaching map reading skills and navigation through unfamiliar terrain. After the games, participants have the option to try an orienteering course with family, friends or an accompanying adult(s). More advanced youth orienteers can compete independently on the longer and more technical courses. Coaches are available at the end of the course to give ‘high fives’ or course feedback, depending on the age and skill of the orienteer.
2. Who is the Youth Series for?
Youth from ages 6 to teenagers who would like to learn how to navigate through various types of terrain. Basic navigation will be taught to beginners while advanced teenagers have the option to work with an experienced coach to learn technical orienteering skills. No experience is necessary at any age!
3. When and where are the events?
Events will be held monthly in the spring (April-Jun) and fall (Sept-Nov), for a total of 6 events. Events are held on Sunday afternoons from 1-3 P.M. You can join one or as many events as you would like.
Sunday, April 2
Sunday, May 14
Sunday, June 4
Danehy Park - Cambridge
Sunday, September 22
Sunday, October 22
Sunday, November 19
4. What to Expect on the day of the Event?
12:45 - 1:15 PM: Registration & Group Assignment
1:15 – 2:00 PM: Navigation Activities in Age-Level Groups
Participants will participate in fun, age-appropriate navigation games & activities with a coach. Youth who are 13+ have the option to participate in more advanced training activities & courses with a coach.
2:00 PM: Participate in courses with family, friends, or compete independently
Coaches help participants choose the type of course appropriate for each child and guide them in getting started. Participants can complete the course with family, friends, or compete independently (see course descriptions below). Participants can choose to do more than one course, as time allows.
3:30 PM: Courses Close Check-in at the Finish no later than 3:30 PM.
5. What courses will be available at each event?
There will be four courses at each event. The courses will accommodate different age and skill levels. The terrain will also shape the nature of the courses. Some of the events are based in open parks while others are in wooded areas.
Training Courses (“woods wanderers”): A short and easy navigation exercise or course for younger children who are not ready to tackle the regular courses on their own but want to try using the map to find their way. Many of these courses will be visible from where the coaches and adults hang out and will vary by event. They could either have children follow streamers through the woods, or have happy faces (right way) and sad (wrong way) faces in an open park area as a means of keeping the runners on track.
White Course (“trail blazers”): A short and easy course, which stays on trails. Good for younger children who wants to try a regular course, families who want an easy walk, and first timers. If it is turns out too easy, do a second course!
Yellow Course (“control spotters”): A more complex and slightly longer easy course, which largely stays on trails, but where the control points are no longer on the trails and you have to keep precise track of which trail you are on. Good for more adventurous newcomers, families, and children who have started to understand how to read a map.
Orange Course (“bush whackers”): The most advanced of the courses at the Youth Series. This course requires that you leave the trails and search for the controls in the woods. This course corresponds to an intermediate level course at a national orienteering event. Good for teenagers who have a good understanding of how to use map and compass, as well as individuals and groups who have done orienteering before and want more of a challenge in the woods. You can do this course if you have never done orienteering before, but plan on getting lost! We recommend that newcomers start with one of the easier courses and move up to the orange course once they are comfortable with map and compass. You can always do more than one course in a day!
6. What is the Cost for the Event?
$5 covers a participant’s activities & course maps for one event. There is a family max for each event of $15 (includes adult members of family).
7. What should participants wear?
Children should wear sneakers and comfortable clothes that will allow them to run in the woods. Coaches will keep the kids moving so that they don’t get cold, but children may also need appropriate outerwear (ex. rain jackets) and layers in the event of inclement weather.
8. Do I need a compass and SI stick? Oh, and what is an SI stick?
There is no requirement to bring a compass or SI stick to the event. You can borrow them for free at the event or use your own. We ask that you provide some form of collateral (i.e. car key) or phone number where we can reach you so that they all make their way back to the club.
An SI stick is a small electronic timing device that keeps track of your overall time on the course and time between checkpoints along the route.
9. Is it Ok for accompanying adult(s) to participate with the kids?
Yes, it is encouraged (but not required) for accompanying adults to participate in the navigation group games. The activities will be designed for kids to be able to do without an adult present, but it is a great chance for caregivers to also learn navigational skills. Adults and families are required to do the courses with their child unless an adult chooses to allow a child to run the course independently. Kids cannot be dropped off at the event.
10. Are prizes awarded for the series?
Participation: Any children who attend 4 of 6 events will receive a NEOC water bottle.
Competitive Courses: Prizes will be awarded for the top results in the white, yellow and orange courses. Children are eligible for the competitive prizes, if they complete their courses either individually or in groups with other children. Parents can shadow (follow) children on the white and yellow courses in order to ensure their safety, but assistance with navigation makes the course result non-competitive. A child’s best 3 results from the event series will be used to determine series’ standings.
11. What if I would like to do more orienteering?
The orienteering organizations sponsoring the series have weekly events in local areas throughout the year, but typically in the spring and fall. Check out their respective websites for a listing of events (see next question).
12. Who is sponsoring the series?
Three local organizations sponsor the youth orienteering series:
- New England Orienteering Club (NEOC) - neoc.org
- Navigation Games (NG) - navigationgames.org
- Cambridge Sports Union (CSU) - csu.attackpoint.com
13. Who are the coaches?
The coaches are parents with many years of orienteering experience either in their youth and/or as adults. The coach for the 13+ age group has many years of formal orienteering coaching training from the UK.