April 2013, Issue 2 - Juniors

In This Issue

Controller's Notes

This month's newsletter theme, juniors, holds a special place in my orienteering  heart. I was born into and grew up in the orienteering community. I have toddled through the string course; been shadowed on course 1; run away from my shadow and become totally lost; refused to go orienteering; found I actually liked it after all; and struggled to make each leap to harder, longer courses. 

I am just one of many former juniors now running the elite age category and older. I asked these orienteers to send in pictures of their junior days. I hope that you enjoy looking at them as much as I have. 

Thank you to everybody, especially Mike Waddington and Patrick Saile from GHO, who submitted articles and pictures for the 2nd issue of the newsletter. I am so happy to have material from across the country.

Next month the theme will be master's orienteering (35+) and the featured club will be EOOC (Edmonton). Write in to  by April 22nd and tell us about your experiences as an adult orienteer, a fantastic orienteering vacation, how you got started in orienteering, or something completely different.

Your Orienteering Canada Newsletter Editor, Meghan Rance (GVOC)

Update from the Orienteering Canada Board of Directors

Here’s a quick update of what’s new at the Orienteering Canada level:

We are very excited to announce that Orienteering Canada has two Assistant Executive Directors. James Richardson and Tracy Bradley have been hired on part-time contracts. They will be working with volunteer Executive Director Charlotte MacNaughton and the Orienteering Canada Board and committees, as well as, with the associations and clubs to help us move our strategic plan goals forward. Both James and Tracy live in the Ottawa area. 
Tracy Bradley - Tracy grew up in the sports of gymnastics and lacrosse and spent 13 years as head coach and program director of one of Canada’s largest gymnastics facilities. Tracy then went on to pursue a post-graduate in sport business management and workied at Swimming Canada in club development and NCCP. While at Swimming Canada, Tracy was heavily involved in the program development and implementation of the Club Excellence program and went across the country engaging communities and various local, provincial and national sport organizations on the benefits of improving systems and processes within their clubs. Tracy is currently working at Diving Canada as Manager of National programs and is actively involved with coaching education. Tracy will initially focus on coaching, officials and club development.

James Richardson - James is passionate about orienteering, it’s in his blood and he believes it should be Canada’s national sport. His father was a driving force of Newfoundland orienteering in the 1970’s and 80’s and James grew up with summer holidays centered on the Canadian Championships. After many years away, he returned to the sport in 2009 and quickly became involved at all levels. James serves as treasurer of Orienteering Ontario. As a member of Ottawa Orienteering Club, he has been a competitor, board member, course setter and currently co-serves as their publicity director; significantly increasing the recognition of the sport in Ottawa. In his “spare” time James runs a professional non-profit theatre company which he started 12 years ago. James will initially focus on communications. 
National Orienteering Week 2013
May 4 – 12, 2013 is National Orienteering Week. Clubs across Canada will be hosting beginner friendly orienteering events. Make sure that your club’s event is listed on the NOW event listing at You can also find some promotional ideas for your club. Email your NOW events details to
Additions to
Visit the new Canadian Champions archive page at Thanks to Lorna Guttormson (Ottawa) for gathering and compiling information about Canadian orienteering champions dating back to 1968, we now have a great archival resource. We know that there are a few errors and omissions so please contact Lorna if you have updated information (her email is on the web page). We’ve also added pdfs of old Orienteering Canada newsletters to the publications page. What a treasure chest of Canadian orienteering history.

National Event Database
We have created a national event calendar. You can currently see a test page at Contact Thomas Nipen ( or Russell Porter ( for information about how to include your club’s events. This database also helps clubs with the reporting we require for our insurance requirements.

Updated Rules
Updated Orienteering Canada competition rules came into effect Jan 1, 2013. Find them on the officials’ page in the resources section at

Comments, questions? We’d like to hear from you. Email us at

Best regards from the Orienteering Canada Board of Directors: Alex Kerr, Dave Graupner, Marion Owen, Ian Sidders, Jeff Teutsch, Bruce Rennie and Charlotte MacNaughton

Newsletter Naming Contest

Congratulations to Peter and Ilona Dobos from the Waterloo Stars for submitting the winning entry for the newsletter naming contest. The newsletter's new name is O-Canada.

Thank you to everyone who entered. There were over 35 submissions. A jury of 16 from across the country voted in two rounds to determine the winner. Other entries included Northern Foot of Fiscal Cliff, Directions, To the Point, Bearings, True North, Terrain, Canadian Orienteering News and Out of Control. Peter and Ilona will receive an Orienteering Canada branded tote and buff. 

Coach Louise's Top 5 Tips for Juniors
(and Everyone Else)

  1.  When you punch a control, refold and reorient your map (every time)
  2. When you enter a control, look up in the direction that you will leave it and pick a distinct feature. This will help you to flow through controls.
  3.  When you choose a route, think about the best way to enter the control and plan backwards from there.
  4. When your something-is-not-quite-right alarm bells start ringing, orient your map, slow down or stop, and relocate. Running in circles rarely saves you time.
  5. When you see other people on course, find the confidence to trust your own orienteering. Don't let yourself get distracted or pulled off your plan.
Afan Jones (right) with his younger brothers about to embark on his orienteering "career" in 1966 with the 5th Farnham Boy Scouts (Bourne) troop. His first event was on Puttenham Common just 2 miles from his back garden, 30 SW of London,UK. Since it was such a long time ago, he cannot remember his debut result

Looking Up and Planning Backwards

"When you enter a control, look up in the direction that you will leave it and pick a distinct feature. This will help you to flow through controls."

On the map below, which features would you look for at the beginning of each leg to help you flow through controls? How far ahead do you think that you would be able to see?
"When you choose a route, think about the best way to enter the control and plan backwards from there."

How do you want to enter each control on the maps below? Do you want to enter from higher ground so that the control is more visible or from a re-entrant that is easy to follow? Is there a way to enter the control that might be slower due to vegetation or obstacles? Decide your attack and plan your route backwards from there. Does planning backwards change your route? 

Emily Kemp's Orienteering Journey

Emily and Thierry Gueorgiou 2011 - Photo by Annika Billstam
I can still remember the fateful day that my dad decided to give orienteering a try. I was only 8 years old and my memories consist mainly of just being lost in the great big woods of Gatineau Park. Fast forward a couple years and I’m participating in my first Canadian Orienteering Championships and Sass Peepre Junior Training Camp in the wilds of the Yukon where I learnt how to read contours. After experiencing my first big competition and meeting so many amazing new people, orienteering soon became the main source of joy and motivation in my life. 
A lot has changed since then; I am now an elite senior athlete training amongst world class orienteers in France. I sometimes have to pinch myself and ask “how on earth did I get here?” There were quite a few not-so-easy decisions that I made along the way in order to get myself here. 
OOC at the COC's in 2007
I started training when I was about 13 years old; my dad invited me to run hill intervals with him and afterwards I couldn’t walk properly for almost a week. Obviously I thought being in so much pain was super-duper cool because I kept at it. For years my dad was the greatest training buddy ever! We’d tear through the hills of Gatineau Park on our mountain bikes, suffer through 10 kilometer time trials just for the fun of it, we’d wake each other up at 6am to go to spinning classes, and racing against each other every Sunday morning at the Ottawa Orienteering Club B-meets was the equivalent of running at the World Champs. 
Emily and Eric - some friendly brother/sister competition
I’m the sort of person who absolutely adores a challenge, which probably explains the fact that I started running in women’s elite by the time I was 16. If I was going to travel 12 hours to an event, I wanted to get my money’s worth out in the woods! I think that it was an important factor as far as improving my orienteering goes. I was confronting navigation and distances that, though intimidating, let me grow and improve in leaps and bounds as an orienteer. Every 20 minute blow-up was a chance to work on my relocation skills and racing against women who were more experienced than I was gave me insight into the level that I wanted to attain.
Randy and Emily Kemp - winners of the co-ed division of the OOC 8hr Rogaine in 2009 Photo: OOC
An important turning point was when I went to my first Junior World Orienteering Championships in 2008. For my first international event I was terrified by all the older Scandinavian girls who were so strong and talented! I remember witnessing my first flower giving ceremony with the music, the cheering and the glorious ambience of everyone applauding for the winners. My dream was to someday be up there; to be one of those girls proudly holding up the Canadian flag.

JWOC soon became my main motivation during the hard, cold, Canadian winters when the forests were full of snow and the competition season seemed so far away. I knew that I loved orienteering enough to commit myself fully to it and that’s what I did. I tried to train every day, I analysed maps for the upcoming competitions, I played Catching Features during the winter and I lived for the moment when I’d climb onto the plane destined for Europe to spend the summer travelling and racing. 
Team Canada at JWOC 2009 - (from left) Jeff Teutsch, Colin Abbott, Lee Hawkings, Angela Forseille, Graham Ereaux, Emily Kemp, Graeme Rennie, Damian Konotopetz, Eric Kemp
Moving to France was definitely the biggest decision that I have made in my entire life but the whole time I knew that it was the right one because I knew that orienteering was what I loved and wanted to do. Thierry Gueorgiou once told me that nothing is a sacrifice when it comes to pursuing your goals. Leaving behind my family, friends and everything that I knew was definitely not a piece of cake, but in the end I have never once regretted it. While living in France I have overcome crazy training volume increases, never-ending injuries, tears of frustration from feeling like I was in way over my head, and sadness from being so far away from my family. 
Meeting the French in 2009
Coming to France gave me so many new opportunities to train and compete. I was so hungry to orienteer that sometimes I did too much. Coupled with the stress of moving to a new country with a new language and so many new experiences my body went on strike quite often, developing tendinitis and other aches and pains in order to get me to slow down. Eventually, I learned the very important skill of listening to my body and taking care of it when it was saying “Whoa Emily, I’m exhausted! I need some tender loving care otherwise something’s going to blow!” 
A short term solution to avoid injuring my knees Photo: Cristina Luis
My time here hasn’t been all injuries and tears though; it has been filled with spectacular memories of doing what I love most. I was able to end my junior career with a bronze medal that I had dedicated so much of my life to. Never once have I thought that I had taken the wrong path and every day I wake up knowing that it’s one more day that I can work to get closer to my goals. 
Middle Distance finish chute JWOC 2010
Even though I am no longer a junior, the learning definitely doesn’t stop here. I am always learning how to recover properly, adapting to the training volume and experimenting with different techniques. I will, however, always look back on my junior years with fond memories of growing up in such a wonderful community of orienteers. Every junior with big dreams needs a helping hand whether it be from their local club to put on trainings, or their parents to drive them to competitions across the country. I’m very thankful to have gotten the help from my family, OOC, OQ and Orienteering Canada. As Robert Frost might say “two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”. The best thing that I can say to all other juniors out there is to choose their own road, bumpy or smooth, twisty or straight, that will bring them closer to their goals.
JWOC flower ceremony 2012. Emily won a bronze medal, Canada's first orienteering medal at a world junior championship.

What's New in Canadian Junior Development? 

There has never been a better time to be a junior orienteer in Canada. While the Sass Peepre junior camps and club junior programs have been around for many years, national excitement and support for junior orienteering has exploded recently. 

Junior High Performance Program

The Junior High Performance Program is aimed at juniors who fit into Orienteering Canada’s Learn to Compete stage and up of the long term athlete development model. These athletes are aiming for solid performances at the Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC). Head coach, Brent Langbakk, has set up a network of mentors for these juniors, monitors their training, and will accompany the team to JWOC in Czech Republic this summer.

Sass Peepre Junior Camps

For many years, the Sass Peepre Committee has organized an annual training camp for juniors from across the country. Junior athletes of all abilities from 10 to 19 years of age are invited to participate in the 3 day camp, which always has amazing volunteer coaches coming from the ranks of the Senior National Team, High Performance Programme athletes, ex-national team members, and parents wanting to help their kids.

In 2013 there will be two separate Sass Peepre Junior Training Camps:

Manitoba- July 30 – August 1 (with Western Canadian Championships). 2013 Sass Peepre MB Camp Info

New Brunswick-  August 20-22 (with Eastern Canadian Championships). 2013 Sass Peepre NB Camp Info

For anyone interested in putting on a (junior) training camp, Kitty Jones has written the Guidelines for Organizing a Sass Peepre Junior Camp

Junior Coaching Resources

In 2012, the Sass Peepre Comittee commissioned a compilation of junior training exercises from across Canada and an examination of orienteering programs around the world. You can find the one-page exercises (such as the one above) Junior Development Page of the Orienteering Canada website.
Pre-HPP Online Coaching

Last summer, the Sass Peepre committee launched an eight week online orienteering coaching program for juniors. Using Skype, former Canadian JWOC team member, Colin Abbott met with juniors from the Yukon, BC, Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick to armchair orienteer.  The program received positive feedback from both juniors and parents.
This spring, Sass Peepre is offering the Skype coaching sessions for 14 – 16 year old juniors hoping to join the Junior HPP in the next few years. Each week, Colin meets with between three and seven juniors from across the country. They spend an hour talking about orienteering technique, studying maps and, thanks to a generous donation of licenses by Catching Features creator Greg Walker, running through virtual terrain.
Catching Features, an orienteering computer game, has taken the Skype coaching sessions to a new level. It allows the juniors to practice the orienteering techniques being discussed and to experience a wide variety of terrain.

When asked if they thought that the coaching sessions were useful, the instant response from the juniors was “100% yes!”
What do they like about it? They think “it’s cool that everybody is across the country but we can still meet up and train together.”
What does one of these Skype coaching session look like?
Sass Peepre Online Meeting March 26th, 2013
Coach: Meghan Rance (Regular coach Colin Abbott away at Ski Nationals)
Athletes: Emma Waddington (GHO), Roan McMillan (GVOC), Christian Michelsen (GHO)
Focus of meeting: route choice planning and simplification
The meeting started with a discussion about route planning and what makes a good route. The Catching Features map for the evening was the female Ski WOC 2013 sprint course. Because of the complicated trail network, slow off-trail travel, and lack of features, Meghan emphasized keeping routes simple (few turns), looking for distinct junctions such as T-junctions, and counting off features.
Before Emma, Roan, and Christian began the course, Meghan explained the unique ski-o symbol set.
During the course, the Skype conversation was quiet except for groans when a control was missed or cheers when a difficult control was found. Once everyone had finished, the group used the replay function to reviewed the course. They discussed legs that they planned well and legs that they executed poorly. Most of the mistakes were caused by a lack of a clear plan. Then they discussed what strategies worked well and what strategies didn’t work as well on the map.
After the group had analysed their own routes, it was time to examine other people's routes. Everyone exited Catching Features and watched the gps tracking of the top athletes in the real Ski WOC race. Once they had compared those routes to their own, they went back and re-skied the race in Catching Features.
Catching Features is available at

Club Profile
 Golden Horseshoe Orienteering (GHO) Hamilton

Number of Members - >1000

When is your orienteering season and what type of events do you run?
October to May. We host an event once a month. Generally our races are mass start events including team events.

What are some advantages to orienteering in Hamilton?
Close proximity to high quality maps and terrain within city limits. Two full-time employees and 50% of members in our Adventure Running Kids program.

What is the best thing about GHO?

What is one Hamilton map that everyone must try?
Mineral Springs (COC 2013 map). It very well could be the best orienteering map within city limits of a city over 500,000 in Canada! ;-)

Notable Members
Ted de St Croix, Ron Lowry

GHO Events to look forward to?
Salomon Raid the Hammer, COC 2013

Adventure Running Kids®: 40+ years in the making!

By Mike Waddington

Adventure Running Kids®, or ARK for short, is the hugely successful kids program in southern Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe region that recently celebrated its third anniversary. What started as an idea during a training run with my buddy and colleague Mark Tarnopolsky at McMaster University,  a couple of years ago, has exploded to quickly become North America’s largest adventure running program for kids.
ARK's current success is due to the pioneering work of Jack Lee. In 1966, Jack founded the Hamilton Orienteering Association (HOA). A few years later the HOA changed its name to the Hamilton King’s Foresters Orienteering Club (HKF).

During the 70’s the club showed tremendous growth in youth numbers, in part by hosting the first ever Hamilton Schools Orienteering Challenge. However, in the mid 80’s participation started to decline. Jack renamed the school race the Hamilton Schools Adventure Challenge and, at the same time, kick started youth program growth through a parallel kids program called “Forest Adventurers”. HKF, with the support of Orienteering Ontario, then mapped every school in Hamilton and orienteering became strongly linked into the local schools curriculum. Jack Lee, together with Jim Gilchrist, then wrote the key book on how to develop orienteering in schools. With these efforts orienteering participation in Hamilton schools jumped to a few hundred kids and HKF established a decade of strong junior development. 
What HKF learned from that process was that school and kid orienteering programs had the potential to be much larger if marketed or branded as an “adventure” program. Shortly after Golden Horseshoe Orienteering (GHO) formed in 1999 with the merger of the HKF and Niagara Orienteering Clubs, the club introduced the Dontgetlost Adventure Running Series. With the emergence of adventure racing in southern Ontario at the time, it seemed like a perfect way to brand and grow orienteering.

The race series demonstrated that there was a market for adult orienteering in southern Ontario. Meanwhile, the Hamilton orienteering schools race was still growing (now over 1000 kids annually), yet junior membership in GHO was declining. A junior program needed to be re-introduced and the name and the content needed to build on the successful foundation that Jack Lee had developed.

After a few years of developing a curriculum and a branding strategy, Adventure Running Kids® was born in the spring of 2010. The ARK program borrowed orienteering curriculum from HKF’s 1980’s “Forest Adventures” program, merged it with the team aspect of the Dontgetlost Adventure Running Series and introduced running skills and fundamentals from trail running and orienteering. The result has been a huge success; a success that was 40+ years in the making.

Adventure Running Kids®: 500+ kids...and growing!

By Golden Horseshoe Orienteering

It's a weeknight in mid-February, 2010 in Hamilton’s Churchill Park. The darkness and quiet is broken by the bobbing headlights and laughter of 17 kids racing across the snowy, frozen parkland. The bobbing headlights emerge from the darkness. The kids stare enthusiastically at the details on their maps and race to a flag on a small fence.

When the first kids arrive at the flag, a voice from the dark park yells out “biathlon time”. The kids drop their maps and switch to making their best snowballs before throwing them at a target on a nearby tree. With laughter growing and snowballs flying overhead, the snowball sharp-shooter kids grab their maps and race back into the darkness. The voice barks another order, “plank penalty”. Six of the snowball-challenged biathlete kids lower themselves to the snow and assume the plank position for 40 seconds. The voice gets closer. “Remember to orient your map before taking off OK? Checkpoint 5 is tricky but the trail makes a great catching feature.” Canadian Orienteering Team member Patrick Goeres emerges from the darkness and finishes his sentence with “oh yeah, and we’ve got capture the flag when you are done. OK that’s 40. Off you go”. The kids race off into the night. 
What is going on? Why are there kids racing through the dark? GHO (Golden Horseshoe Orienteering) is finalizing the curriculum and design of Adventure Running Kids in a four week pilot project.
What is Adventure Running Kids?
Adventure Running Kids, ARK for short, is a kids running participation program for 6 to 14 year olds. ARK combines navigation, trail running, night running, cross-country running and snowshoe running with a fun and sometimes muddy eco-adventure. 
"What's missing from so many kids recreation programs is a sense of adventure," says former Canadian orienteering team member Mike Waddington. "In ARK, we challenge kids but also teach kids how to be stronger, tougher, faster runners while gaining an appreciation of the environment and learning how to problem solve. One of the key skills in adventure running, for instance, is how to read a map. Kids love the independence it instills but also the aspect of being on an adventure."

In addition to running, ARK invites local, world-class adventure runners, like Around the Bay Road race winner Kate McNamara, to motivate kids with their stories of adventure. ARK also provides the kids with workshops on good nutrition and physiology" 
Fast forward a few weeks. Goeres and several GHO volunteers have just finished fine-tuning the curriculum following feedback from participants and coaches in the ARK Pilot Project. The successful media launch from newspaper articles and several radio interviews gave ARK great exposure in the Hamilton community. 

“We hoped to get about 20-25 kids but we ended up having to cap it at 80 kids,” recalls former national ski-O team member Mark Tarnopolsky. “That really shocked us and we had a waiting list of another 20 kids…but that is why we hired Patrick.”
Patrick Goeres was hired by Golden Horseshoe Orienteering for 6 months in 2010, with the assistance of an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, to launch ARK. The first spring session was a huge success and in the autumn of 2010 GHO hired Patrick Saile, an orienteer from Tasmania, to grow the curriculum and the program.

In the autumn of 2010, Adventure Running Kids had grown to 100 kids. By the next spring it was 110 and this spring there are 278 kids enrolled in the Hamilton Adventure Running Kids program.
The growth has been incredible in Hamilton. There are now four different ARK sessions a week in the city
The combination of the rich running history and long-term orienteering presence in Hamilton has helped ARK grow, but ARK does things a lot differently than traditional running and orienteering kids programs and that resonates with kids and parents. There is even a quote on the ARK website from, top Canadian marathon runner and Hamiltonian, Reid Coolsaet -- “I wish ARK was around when I was a kid”. That endorsement is huge in a local community.

Adventure Running Kids is the result of a long and carefully planned project by Golden Horseshoe Orienteering. The club studied what made other endurance sport kids' participation programs successful, such as Jackrabbits in cross-country skiing, and then developed the curriculum and a new approach to coaching to make it work. This, together with an attractive web site, a full-time employee and an aggressive advertising program on Facebook, helped the program grow. 
What makes ARK different from traditional running and orienteering programs?
Traditional running and orienteering programs do too much of their specialty. Running is tough and not always fun. Orienteering is not an easy sport to learn and kids get impatient learning to read the map without running. GHO combines the best aspects of both types of programs.

In a typical ARK session, kids rotate between two of four potential stations: running core strength and agility; running endurance; running power and speed; and navigation. The program is offered in two separate 12-week sessions (spring and autumn).
The 12-week program curriculum has not been static. Patrick (Saile) has  adapted the curriculum based on conversations with parents and kids and other coaches over the last few years. For example, he worked with two of our volunteer coaches to re-develop the running agility curriculum and, together with Nina (Wallace, former Canadian JWOC athlete and coach),  developed an excellent, but more importantly fun, progression through navigation skills development.

The curriculum adopted in Adventure Running Kids programs also complements Orienteering Canada’s Long-term Athletic Development Plan (LTAD).  “Our Adventure Running Kids are meeting many of the technical and physical goals outlined in the Orienteering Canada LTAD” states Saile. 
Depending on the age distribution and experience of the participants, the main ARK program is divided into four groups of ~15 kids each with 2-4 volunteer group coaches.  The youngest kids, in the red and yellow groups, take part in activities that are closely aligned to the LTAD Active Start (6 year olds) while the older kids, in the green and blue groups, follow the FUNdamentals LTAD levels.
ARK Attack! is designed for kids aged 10-14 that want more adventure, more navigation and more mud. ARK Attack! meets the Learn to Train rung of the Orienteering Canada LTAD ladder.

Adventure Running X (or ARX for short) is for teenagers, and while kids can still focus on fun and participation and opt out of the more competitive and higher intensity workouts, ARX is designed with the Train to Train LTAD rungs in mind. “When we developed Adventure Running X, we wanted to find the right balance of participation and training/competition,” says Wallace. “We deliberately left the X up to the teenagers to define themselves be it Xplore, Xcel, or Xtreme.”
ARX athletes now receive specialized training three weeknights a week, including running training together with GHO’s Tuesday Night Training and advanced navigation on Thursday nights. Advanced navigation prepares some of the athletes for the next LTAD rung within Orienteering Canada’s own High Performance Program. 
Last spring, GHO expanded Adventure Running Kids into the Niagara and Kitchener-Waterloo regions with 8-week ‘Introductory Programs’. The aim of these programs was to give kids in the new areas a taste of ARK and to use that as a way to launch the full 12-week program in the autumn of 2012. The Kitchener-Waterloo program is organized through a partnership between Golden Horseshoe Orienteering and Stars Orienteering.

In the first year, the K-W region sold out the 40 spots in the introductory program and averaged about 100 kids in the autumn 2012 and spring 2013 program. When you add in the volunteers in the K-W region, Stars Orienteering is likely Canada’s fastest growing orienteering club.
This spring, ARK Attack! has also been added to the K-W ARK offerings. 

The growth in Niagara has not been as strong as K-W but is still impressive. ARK also started with a sold-out 40 kid intro program, grew to about 50 kids in autumn 2012 and is now over 60 kids this spring.
Combining the numbers from ARK participation, ARK coaches and the ARK race series, there were over 800 people in ARK at the end of 2012. Indeed ARK was a valuable program in Orienteering Canada’s Project 5000 membership drive as roughly 1 in 7 Orienteering Canada members are now linked to ARK.
This spring GHO has ambitious plans to expand ARK into the Halton and Peel regions between Hamilton and Toronto. “We just hired our second full-time employee and are waiting to hear if we have been successful in another Trillium Fund grant” states Mark Adams (another former Canadian Team member). Mark has been carefully plotting growth costs and revenues for the program and meets every few weeks with GHO’s employees. “The population base in Halton and Peel is much larger than anywhere we have been so far so there is huge potential for growth of ARK” says Mark.
ARK is also expanding into Burlington and Brampton. The program starts in a few weeks and almost 70 kids have signed up between the two areas.  In the next two years, ARK will expand into Oakville, Mississauga, Milton and Caledon.
Where will ARK expand next? “We think we have developed a great program that kids and parents love. It is affordable, it is growing our volunteer base, it is growing our membership and it is growing our revenues so I’m keen to see ARK grow into more cities in southern Ontario and, heck, why not some other cities outside of Ontario too” says Waddington.
For more information on ARK and if you are interested in “building an ARK” check out our website or contact us at

An Interview With ARK Coach Patrick Saile

1.       How did you become involved with ARK?
I saw an ad for the position of ARK program manager on Attackpoint just after I arrived in Canada

2.       How did you end up in Canada in the first place?
I was avoiding reality. 6 months travel.

3.       What did you do before becoming ARK coach?
Civil Engineer/Backpacking 

4.       What do you like best about the program?
I like its variety and the people it attracts (both parents and kids) 

5.       What's your coaching philosophy?
I don't care how fast you are, but I care if you're not trying your hardest.

6.       What does a typical coaching week look like for you?
There is no typical coaching week for me. My goal (doesn't happen for every location) is to have enough coaches in the program so that I am not required to do anything at an ARK session if everyone shows up. But given the size of the program, there is always someone who can't make it, so I step in. One night I might be teaching 6 year-olds what the symbols on the map mean, the next night taking kids through core exercises and running drills and then finishing off with the advanced ARX group running on a contour only map.

7.       What do the kids enjoy the most about ARK?
Depends which one you ask. Any or all of the above: Mud, running with friends, running in the woods, using the agility equipment, using the timing equipment (we use SI sometimes), Nav, etc.

8.       What do you hope for ARK in the future?
Continued expansion and mainstream acceptance of the program among Orienteering Canada members and clubs. I also hope to see our current participants eventually develop and perform at higher levels of all adventure endurance sports: orienteering, adventure racing, cross country skiing, trail running, etc.

9.   What is your favourite ARK coaching story?
It is not a specific coaching story but seeing kids' confidence grow, from being scared to get their feet wet when they first start the program, to full on fearless running through the woods, instantly orienting a map when handed to them and pointing in the direction they need to go - never gets old. A lot of them seem to develop an extremely witty, dry, sarcastic sense of humour. I don't know where they get it from, but I like it.

11.   What is the most challenging thing about coaching ARK?
Communication. My accent is hard to understand for some kids and they never speak up if they don't get it. I've started to developed a sense for when things don't get through - the blank stare or when I say, 'off you go', the kid looks at another coach and says 'what do I have to do?' or 'Go to checkpoint eight', .... 'what's an oight?'

12.   Do you have any advice for other coaches working in orienteering?
With kids, keep it simple. Orienteering is confusing and overwhelming to begin with and you only need to teach the absolute basics. The easier it is, the more it builds confidence when they 'get it' and then they'll be more open to new and more advanced things in the future.

From the Archives

Orienteering Canada June 1985

Orienteering Canada has recently posted PDFs of all its old newsletters dating back all the way to the 1960s. Check them out to see young faces, vintage orienteering ads, and much more!

Choosing Orienteering as My Sport

Adam Woods Discusses His Transition from Cross-Country Skiing to Orienteering

Two major changes have recently occurred in my life:

1)    I moved from high school to university
2)    I switched my focus from cross-country skiing to orienteering.

In high school, my main focus was cross-country skiing. I was one of eight Hollyburn Ski Club boys born in 1994/1995. Ski training was a social experience and there was always someone to push you. When I switched my focus to orienteering at the beginning of university, I ended up on my own.
Many orienteers are introduced into the sport at a young age by their families. That is true for me, but only to a degree. When I was quite young, I spent a summer biking behind my dad as he orienteered. After that, I wouldn’t orienteer for a number of years.

 My “conversion” to orienteering began when my family discovered the Greater Vancouver Orienteering Club (GVOC). I ran my first training event with my mom. By the end of the race we were both convinced that we wanted to try orienteering on our own. I began attending Wednesday orienteering training rather than Wednesday ski workouts. The foundation for my transition from cross-country ski racing to competitive orienteering was set.

Two key events influenced my decision to switch sports. I ran my first non-urban event at Barebones in Whistler and I attended the COCs in Whitehorse. At Barebones, I ran the ten km expert course, it took me three hours and had me bailing to the road at one point but I finished it. I met the challenge and enjoyed doing it. However, the real turning point was at the COCs in Whitehorse. At the Sass Peepre junior camp, the presentation by the JWOC athletes made me sit back and realise that if I started focusing on orienteering, I could probably make the JWOC team too.

The transition to orienteering has not always been easy. Even though Vancouver has an active orienteering club, my first year engineering program sometimes keeps me too busy to attend.

I will always love cross-country skiing and even raced a couple of races at the 2013 cross-country nationals in Whistler. Still, writing this as I prepare for my first JWOC this summer I can safely say that I made the right choice.

Check Out Your Champions

Orienteering Canada, with the help of Lorna Guttormson (Ottawa), has created a new, searchable database of Canadian Orienteering Champions going back to 1968!

Did you know that Ted de st Croix (currently of GVOC) has won 13 male elite titles since 1977 and has 23 COC gold medals in total?

Who has the most female elite wins? You probably guessed that it is Pam James (Nova Scotia). Pam has won an inspiring 27 Canadian orienteering championships. 9 of those wins were in the elite category.

What other Canadian orienteers have lots of titles?
Gord Hunter (22), Pat de St Croix (19), Shirley Donald (19), Don Scott (17), Nesta Leduc (17)

What about prominent orienteering families?
Not surprisingly, the De st Croix family has topped the podium more than any other family in Canadian orienteering history. They have won a combined 59 gold medals since 1973.
Other golden families include the Smiths (44), James' (28), Kemps (24), Schecks (24), Waddingtons (23), and Ross's (22)

Junior Programs Across the Country

(and beyond)

YukonGreat maps and fabulous terrain mean that the Yukon is home to both past and current national team orienteers, stars of the future and Canadian age group champions.

The Yukon Orienteering Team has regular practices and consists of four different levels (yellow, orange, red and blue) based on age and skill and has participants ranging from 10 years of age to adults. The team adheres to the principles of the Long Term Athlete Development model which means the younger participants focus on basic skill development and general physical activity. On the other end of the scale, there are athletes who are training to compete at the Junior World Championships. Check out their website and Junior HPP coach Brent Langbakk's awesome blog for more on their junior program and coaching philosophy.

Vancouver - Despite having a very active club and many elite runners, Vancouver has only started implementing a junior program in the last few years. Currently, Vancouver holds a yearly six week junior program in the spring and introduces youth groups to orienteering through the Kickstart Program. With the Kickstart Program, youth groups can receive two hours of training and a new map in their area. The groups are then invited to take part in the Metro Vancouver Junior Orienteering Festival.
Calgary - Calgary has a well-established junior program and curriculum that is beginning to produce active juniors on the national level. The juniors of Calgary have their own blog. Read about their mapping clinics, flag decorating, and map building at The Lost Compass.
Edmonton - As well as their schools program, which provides orienteering sessions for about 4000 students per year, EOOC runs the Kids Run Wild program for kids aged 9 to 15.  Check out their website for a look at their program and activities.
Ottawa - The Ottawa Orienteering Club is offering a junior program this spring, from the beginning of April through to the end of May. Kids Running Free is based on last spring’s pilot program and has been improved to include new forests, more mud, and more adventure!
The program is led by two of Canada’s top orienteers, national team members Eric Kemp and Jeff Teutsch, along with experienced coach Jennie Anderson. The goal: to teach and encourage kids to jump off the beaten track, to run and explore with their peers and to learn some navigation skills along the way.
The program will build on last year’s experiences; we have an excellent collection and range of activities to challenge our athletes, including SI relays, corridor courses, map feature match-up puzzles and more.

The program runs Tuesdays from 6:30 to 7:30 for 8 weeks, starting April 2nd and culminating with a day-camp on Saturday, May 25th. Program sessions will occur at Brittania Park, the Nepean Sportsplex and Lac Beauchamp.

Visit for more information and don’t hesitate to contact us should you have any questions, recommendations or partnership opportunities.
Yours in adventure,
Jennie, Eric and Jeff
Washington State - WIOL (Washington Interscholastic Orienteering League) was started in 1983 by a teacher at Roosevelt High School in Seattle. As a teacher and coach, he saw a need to keep students training and in shape between the fall cross country season and the spring track season. What could be more fun than running outdoors through woods and fields in all sorts of weather, mud and wind with your friends? 

In 30 years, WIOL has grown to over 200 students from 52 schools, extending from elementary to high school. Between November and February, there are 7 WIOL events followed by the WIOL championship.  
The best 4 races are counted at season’s end for an individual, and each school is ranked by the top 3 runners’ scores for any particular meet.  Many friendly competitions arise from getting to know the other juniors socially and informal course reviews and split comparisons are a common post race activity. Route gadget and preliminary results are up on the website within hours of the meet finishing.
WIOL is a very intense part of our orienteering year in the NW. Putting on a meet for 200+ students and another 100 or so public on 8 courses simultaneously every other week can be a daunting task. We have had good WIOL Directors over the years that have improved the program with forward thinking and strong support from the orienteering community – setting courses, vetting, running starts, finish, results, registration and many other tasks to put on a meet. We use the epunch system at every meet, have a dedicated crew of people that know the software and added online registration to improve flow at the meet. Some of our juniors go on to National Interscholastics each year. 

A scholarship fund is awarded by Cascade to the top 5 males and 5 females at the Varsity level to help with travel expenses. This March, 22 WIOL students attended Nationals in Kansas with terrific results for our area. 

What starts it all? A dedicated parent, or a ROTC coach or track coach volunteer who does orienteering on the side. Sometimes it’s a teacher in an alternative school or a home-schooled student that can bring the program in as curriculum. In one specific high school, the senior Varsity leader has passed the team responsibility to a rising 11th grader for the last 5 years.  But more often than not, it’s a grass roots effort of an interested orienteer that begins first by bringing their children and then their children’s friends and parents to try out the sport.

Check out the smiling, award winning faces of the Puget Sound region at home page.  We welcome Canadians in particular to come experience the energy of a WIOL event in action next fall!

Quiz Time

Match the map sample to the correct picture.
HINT-The red arrow indicates the direction that the photograph is looking.

The answers are at the bottom of the newsletter
Start with a Compass . . .

Orienteering is an inexpensive sport to get started in -  the only equipment you really need is a compass and whistle.  As time goes by you can add to your collection of o-gear goodies. As your orienteering skills improve, you will find that some pieces of equipment really do make a difference for you out on the course.
Here are some of the items you might want to consider along the way:

Compass:  The compass is the most basic of orienteering equipment.  You can buy a cheap one, but if you want to help your orienteering, think about getting a thumb compass and having an experienced orienteer give you a few tips on how to use it to your advantage. (approx. $50)
Whistle:  Every orienteer must carry a whistle at all times out on the course.  Three long blasts means you are too lost to get back on track on your own or you are injured and need help.  Three long blasts of the whistle is a signal to other orienteers that a fellow participant needs their help. ($2 to $5)
SI Stick:  At most orienteering events you need an SI stick (electronic timing device).  When is it time to purchase one instead of renting?  Do the math, and build in the fuss of having to rent every time, the fact that they last for almost forever, and the fact that you can choose your favourite colour if you purchase one! (approx. $40; rental $2 to $5 per event)
SI Safety Strap:  When you purchase an SI stick, spend the extra $2 to purchase the safety strap so you don’t lose it! (approx.. $2)
Control Description Holder: Once you are comfortable with a thumb compass and keeping your map lined up properly all the time, flipping your map over to look at control descriptions start to really interfere.  How many times do you lose your spot on the map and have to search for your current location again?   A control description holder (CDH) on your forearm allows you to look at your arm instead of your map, and not lose your location. ($10 to $20)
Socks or Gaiters:  Orienteering socks and orienteering gaiters protect your shins from the nasty raspberry bushes and twigs out there.  A bit of padding on the shin, and a tough material that will withstand a lot of what the forest and the fields have to offer at shin level. (socks approx. $20; gaiters $35 to $45)
Bifocal Safety Glasses:    This is for those of us whose arms, over time, have become too short to read the newspaper.  These glasses make a world of difference.  All of a sudden you can see the boulders as boulders and cliffs as cliffs on the map, and you can still see forest floor in front of your feet.  Wonderful! (approx. $30)
O-Pants:  They’re not meant for warmth – they’re meant to protect you from the forest. The material is pretty tough, it’s light weight and breathable, it dries ever so quickly and the burrs come out easily. ($30 to $50)
O-Shoes:  Orienteering shoes with metal studs on the soles help you in mud, moss, leaves, wet and ice.  More grip, less slip, whether you run or walk the course. ($140 to $220)
O-Shirt:  Well, a nice O-shirt just makes you look so darn fast!  And the material is lightweight, quick dry, loose, cool and fights a good fight against everything it meets up with in the forest. ($40 to $60)
Future articles will go into more detail on some of these items – how to choose the right compass; how to choose between socks and gaiters, what shoes do I really want?  In the meantime, if you have questions about equipment selection please don’t hesitate to contact us – eric, jeff or anne  See you in the forest!

Around the Refreshment Table

Pre-HPP squad member Caelan McLean (YOA) won the juvenile boys category at cross-country ski nationals in Whistler.

Kendra Murray (YOA), who finished 2nd junior in one of her races, blogged about the event on the Team Canada Blog
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Quiz Answers
1-I, 2-G, 3-D, 4-A, 5-H, 6-E, 7-B, 8-C, 9-F
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