Deer Lakes Park
Comprehensive Orienteering Training
12 April 2015

WPOC held its fourth comprehensive orienteering training day in Deer Lakes Park; it included instruction for beginners and exercises for those with experience.  The weather was very nice (temperatures in the high 60's); this probably contributed to our excellent turnout.  There had been significant rain a couple days before so the trails were sometimes muddy and there were many additional wet spots off trail.

There were two beginner sessions, one starting at 11 am and the other starting at 1 pm.  In both, the plan was to teach map reading and basic compass use in orienting the map, to take the class as a group to a few controls and then to release them in small groups to find as many more of the remaining 17 controls as they could in a reasonable time.  Dave Battista was scheduled to teach the first session; but as the number of participants reached at least 34, the group was split and Jen Livingston handled half of them for part of the session.  The 1 pm session was taught by Naomi Jarvis.  Usually the second session is small; but on this day the number of participants reached 30 and Naomi had all she could do to deal with them as we had no backup instructor to help her.  Nevertheless, as they returned from their adventure, everyone in the beginner sessions seemed to have had a good time.

Jim Wolfe taught the intermediate instruction session at noon.  This covered pace counting and following a bearing, and included a lot of discussion about adjusting to the terrain  The workshop drew 21 participants, another very large number to deal with.  Participants got to measure distance using pace counting, to follow a bearing to various features across different terrains, and to combine terrain association with following a bearing.  Except for keeping the group together (or within a reasonable distance of each other) the session went well and everyone agreed that they had learned some useful skills.

There were three advanced exercises for the more experienced orienteers to try.  One of these, Line-O, was an exercise that had been used several times before.  In this exercise, the orienteer must follow a serpentine line drawn on the map to find the control points which are not marked on the map.  At least 8 people tried this exercise.  The other two were brand new.  Short-Term Memory-O involved an exercise in which the orienteers did not carry a map.  Instead, at the start and at each control was a map that showed the location of the next control.  The orienteer had to study the map sufficiently to be able to find the next control and then go to it without a map.  At least 13 people tried this exercise.  Memory Vector-O also involved studying a map.  At registration was a map showing the complete Vector-O course drawn on a regular map.  Orienteers could study this map; but when they were ready to leave, they could take with them only a page showing the shape of the course; i.e., showing the lines, circles and control numbers for the course.  They had to make it all the way back to the finish using nothing more than this page showing the course shape.  This exercise was expected to be very difficult; but at least 3 people tried it.

Thanks to Christy Freeman, Sherry Shank and Ryan Knecht to handling registration.  Thanks to Alexis Rzewski and Loretta Opila for handling start/finish.  Thanks to Dave Battista, Jen Livingston, and Naomi Jarvis for teaching the beginner sessions.  And thanks to Noami, James Fenn, Ryan, and Alexis for picking up controls.

To see the photos that Alexis took at the event,go here

Our next event will be on 25 April at Brady's Run Park.  This will be our first outing at that park.