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Discussion: Navy NJROTC area and national champs

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 8, 2017 2:49 AM # 
mikeminium:
How does a local O club go about offering their services to host an Area championship. As far as I can tell, there are only a few Of the "areas" that actually have an area championship.
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Jan 8, 2017 3:03 AM # 
jvincent:
To kick off this discussion, here is a map of the NJROTC areas: http://www.njrotc.navy.mil/mgdgeo.html
Jan 8, 2017 3:13 AM # 
GuyO:
Italy & Spain are in an Area (4), but no other European countries?
Jan 8, 2017 3:34 AM # 
tRicky:
Are they used for target practice so this is the navy's way of saying thank you?
Jan 8, 2017 3:51 AM # 
origamiguy:
Is the Navy the only service that has these championships? We've started to see NJROTC groups coming from as far as Turlock and Carson City to BAOC events in the Bay Area.
Jan 8, 2017 4:08 AM # 
MRodrigues:
As for Italy and Spain, remember that these are only Navy JROTC units, not Army or Air Force. Those have more locations across the UK, Germany, Italy and Belgium. For now, the Navy JROTC program is on the leading edge for JROTC competitive orienteering and I don't see other branches at our local club events.

Trying to help fill a void left when the past host retired, I tried my hand at hosting the Area 5 championships here in Maryland last month. Our event would have been a nightmare without the map support of QOC and the tremendous scoring volunteer work of Valerie Meyer. In my opinion, the orienteering club/NJROTC partnership has been vital in growing our program and making us competitive. From increased training opportunities to valuable advice and reasonable map usage fees, I can't imagine this journey without them.
Jan 8, 2017 4:23 AM # 
mikeminium:
Answering origami: The Air Force has a national championship but it is associated with the OUSA US Interscholastic Championships. They provide their own trophies and awards which are given to eligible AFJROTC teams at the OUSA interscholastics. Although I respect Navy having its own championships, I think it would be nice if all sevice branches did the same at a single national event.
Jan 8, 2017 5:10 AM # 
jvincent:
I think that most O club/NJROTC partnerships are established. I don't know how an NJROTC Area could have an Area championship without the involvement of a local club. It would be difficult, if not impossible for a NJROTC unit to have a successful orienteering program without the support of a local club. Be it maps, equipment or simply regular meets where the cadets can train, these things are simply not financially or logistically possible for an NJROTC group to do on their own. Chief Rodrigues has THE premier O program in Area 5, and even he admits it couldn't be done without QOCs awesome support.
The most valuable thing a club can do is to make the group feel welcome and encourage their participation. Many times, large groups of kids (and admittedly some of which are not really there for their love of the sport) are viewed as a hassle, inconvenience, waste of volunteer time and a distraction to dedicated orienteers. But one thing that I read frequently on AP is the concern of the sustainability and future of the sport. I think it would be very shortsighted for any club to not try to foster these partnerships. If you could retain even a small percentage of the kids that are exposed to orienteering, this will certainly help. Not to mention that most NJROTC units that are even moderately involved can be huge volunteer assets.
Perhaps these two entities don't know each other exist. Could OUSA have someone that could act as a liaison between local clubs that don't know about the JROTC units and the high school JROTCs that don't know they could have some local support, therefore don't have an O program?
Jan 8, 2017 12:57 PM # 
gordhun:
I think the two (soon to be three) clubs in Florida have a pretty strong relationship with JROTC orienteering. It started and is still strongest with the Navy schools but now has participation from close to 40 schools and over 1000 different students in some 16 events over the school year. (Average participation per student 3 events). Marine Corps, Army and Air Force units are also in the mix.
Among other things the JROTC particpation very much strengthens the financial health of the Florida O clubs. There are many other reasons to forge an alliance with the JROTC units in your area wishing to get competitive orienteering going.
Reasons for the strong relationship?
1) Saturday events
2) JROTC run their own events within the events. O clubs only provides the maps and courses
3) Some JROTC leadership very committed to their students and to creating a better orienteering experience for them.
and recently
4) a comprehensive ranking system which tracks students' results over the year and awards the top ranked on each course
5) SI timing, and now Livelox which allows affordable live tracking and route gadget-like replay of the courses.
6) Offers to make orienteering-style maps of school campuses and local parks so the kids can learn to read maps the same way they learned to read books - with large print.
The clubs consider the JROTC as valued particpants, not noisy annoyances.
Jan 8, 2017 1:41 PM # 
MRodrigues:
For the Navy's Area 5 championship here in Maryland, we had just under 400 register with around 340 starts. As orienteering continues to grow within NJROTC, I can surely see the burden on the club without prior registration and a very different event environment for the seasoned orienteering community. I have noticed both very welcoming orienteers excited to see younger participants, and those clearly put off by the many "kids being kids" near the starting area. It is a balance that must be managed by instructor supervision regarding behavior, and ensuring that have some classroom training on etiquette and expectations.

1) Schools that have a local club nearby are VERY, VERY fortunate.
2) Greg Lennon was instrumental in helping us get started with a campus map for training. That map has been used for countless drills and though our area is limited, has been a fantastic tool.
3) I would like to increase the cooperation between club and the host unit at local events. Instead of feeling like a burden, the unit could provide pre-registration (start times and map numbers) and recognition while our cadet volunteers help man the start and download areas and help collect controls.
4) After seeing Cascade's interscholastic race series, I was interested in making one for our area that would mimic a sport season for high school athletics.

I am happy to see the discussion and interest, and would love to be an asset to help grow participation and better organization within the JROTC community.
Jan 8, 2017 2:57 PM # 
mikeminium:
So my club is in area 3. We have a couple Navy schools come to meets from time to time. But I've never heard them talk about an area championship. Do some of the areas just not have a championship? It would be great if we could help them get one started.

We already have a ranking series for youth (not limited to JROTC but they are certainly welcome, and we could easily do a separate ranking) of 13-14 events from Nov to March, and 2 moderately large (100-200+ starts) JROTC events, one co hosted by a Navy unit, the other by Air Force. But we've never had any real luck growing interest beyond that. Since we are near the border, we usually get a couple area 9 schools at our JROTC events too. But we haven't had any real luck getting any of the schools to come regularly or interested in national level competition.
Jan 8, 2017 3:03 PM # 
BorisGr:
MRodrigues>> I love the idea of having an Interscholastic race series over the course of a season in our area. Would you want to have those piggyback on existing QOC events or create separate events?
Jan 8, 2017 5:13 PM # 
barb:
There is an OUSA JROTC Committee, pulled together this past summer by Robin Shannonhouse and Glen Schorr. I recommend making sure they hear these ideas. Contact info for the Chair (LCDR Ron Hojnowski) is on the OUSA Committees web page. For a summary of their July 2016 meeting, see our notes on Committee activities. Thanks to Robin for alerting me.
Jan 8, 2017 6:10 PM # 
Bob-F:
@mikeminium, Ron will be at the Georgia Navigator cup. He is the Hillgrove HS coach.
Jan 8, 2017 6:58 PM # 
mikeminium:
Thanks. I see the 2017 NJROTC nationals are scheduled for Red Top Mountain. What's the date?
Jan 8, 2017 7:13 PM # 
Bob-F:
The NJROTC nationals are scheduled Feburary 18-19
Jan 8, 2017 7:17 PM # 
mikeminium:
Thanks BobF. I didn't find that date or details anywhere on a google search. I'm assuming there's internal promotion within the NJROTC structure.
Jan 8, 2017 7:29 PM # 
bburg:
DVOA's annual NJ Scout Championship has in recent years become our annual NJ Scout/JROTC Championship. For several years a couple of NJROTC units had been attending. But 3 years ago a local unit commander volunteered to contact all Area 4 units and provide trophies for the winning cadets and teams. Our cadet attendance went from 100 to 250 to nearly 400 cadets, now involving 11 units coming in buses from as far away as Buffalo NY. I think it's inevitable that we split up the event to one for scouts, one for JROTC. I've had some preliminary discussions about DVOA hosting a true Area 4 NJROTC Championship with the commander. I've also done trainings with 3 of the units, so far mapping 2 of their campuses. One unit over the past 6 years has annually climbed in national rankings, finishing 7th at last year's NJROTC Championship. The experienced cadets now do all the initial training of new cadets right on campus, and their team numbers have grown from 25 the first year to 114 this year. The unit attends 3 or 4 DVOA events each year, and on their own with their parents, smaller groups come to 2 or 3 others.

I find Cadets to be the perfect population for orienteering clubs to attract. When they catch the bug, they are competitive, team-oriented, involved with personal fitness and training, and avidly want to improve their skills. The key has been the 2 commanders who looked around for a next area within NJROTC ranked activities to excel in and chose Orienteering. That leader support has made all the difference.
We are definitely interested in expanding our partnerships, and love what Cascade and others are doing scheduling a high school series of events. So far, we have been doing all the organizing of the Championship. But for my own and our volunteer team's sanity, I'm definitely interested in talking to other clubs who only provide technical support, equipment, and course setting. So much of this thread is percolating ideas for what DVOA could do in the near future.
I find that partnering with local clubs is invaluable for JROTC units. Most youth training is stuck in compass and pace count and know precious little about reading and navigating on the map. Plus the few times I have seen printed courses, too often I find that they rely too much on sheer luck rather than good course design. So it is a giant win/win situation for both cadets and orienteering that OUSA and all clubs would do well to enthusiastically cultivate.
Thank all of you for jump-starting a whole bunch of possibilities.
Jan 9, 2017 1:33 AM # 
barb:
AP at its best.
Jan 9, 2017 2:08 AM # 
MRodrigues:
Boris> Yes, please! I would love to work with you to help make this a reality. If QOC could handle the extra runners, piggy backing would be the easier option, but I am open to any suggestions.

Mikeminium> You are correct...some areas do not have an orienteering championship. For the Navy national format, each area is allowed to send the top 3 schools from their championship event, but because some send none, other areas are allowed to add their 4th and 5th place finishers. The Georgia schools seem to grab these up fast with their top schools being very deep at the varsity level...and always cleaning up at the national event.

When I began our program 5 years ago, it was more out of a running background and a love for the outdoors. To be honest, throughout my military career, I had never heard of the sport. With one event, I had the bug. That enthusiasm drove me to every book, website and training opportunity I could find. We went from not having a team to now being repeat area champions with a full team of 45 cadets. In my opinion, making it a legitimate activity with uniforms, practice and expectations made all the difference. I contacted Rob Turbyfill after his book came out and arranged a coaches course for myself and another instructor. That accelerated my knowledge and enthusiasm as I brought the new skills to our team.

Though I am very happy with our success and proud of my cadets, I still have some challenges:

1. The Navy national championship is usually held during President's day weekend, and that makes for a long season to keep high schools committed and motivated when we begin in August. I try to keep them going in the Spring, but that has also been difficult.
2. After our area championship the first week of December, even those going to national's are hard to keep engaged approaching the winter break and end of the semester.
3. With a 45 cadet team, I struggle keeping it interesting and relevant for all levels. The varsity team needs just as much attention as my beginners and I inevitably leave a group out for a practice or two.
4. We don't have a park or woods near our school. Though I have and use an orienteering campus map, students get bored by the new year. We do plenty of armchair orienteering, Catching Features and running, but I always struggle to keep each practice (twice a week) fresh and interesting.

Finally, I wanted to agree with bburg. Our area has a handful of schools that pursue victory and are organized with practice and knowledgable instruction. Unfortunately, with 56 schools in our area, this leaves 50 schools that try, but don't know what they are doing. From pace counts and Army style land navigation, I always feel sorry for cadets that are not set up for success by their instructors. The truth is that every school is inundated with opportunities and scheduling challenges. Until an instructor takes ownership and personal responsibility for their team, without club assistance, this pattern will never go away.
Jan 9, 2017 2:10 AM # 
MRodrigues:
Here is the 2017 NJROTC orienteering nationals website link:

https://sites.google.com/site/2017nnoc/
Jan 9, 2017 5:05 AM # 
GuyO:
We don't have a park or woods near our school.

By "near" do you mean walking distance? If not, Little Bennett is not far from Frederick.
Jan 9, 2017 10:58 AM # 
MRodrigues:
GuyO> Exactly...walking distance. We consider Little Bennett our closest mapped park and have hosted score-o events and use it for weekend team training. I am more referring to something that wouldn't require a bus or mass car pooling for 40+ on our Monday and Wednesday after school practices. The truth is that I need more creativity and variety for those days. I am working on a more detailed curriculum that progresses week to week and a larger pool of activities that can be done on our school map. Suggestions?
Jan 9, 2017 12:07 PM # 
haywoodkb:
Thanks to GordHun many schools in Florida have a map of their campus or local park to practice orienteering skills. Many of these maps are developed using LIDAR that is provided by the local county government. Please encourage your county government to make LIDAR data available so that more maps can be created for orienteering events in your area. LIDAR collection is typically funded by one or more counties working together.
Jan 9, 2017 3:13 PM # 
carlch:
@ MRodrigues
Have you talked to Erin Shirm? When my son was a junior they did an exercise called "agility" which used cones set up in a gym or open field along with a map of the cone layout. Using the map, several "courses" were laid out and than the kids ran the courses.

You can also use aerial photos to make courses and there is always mini-O which can happen in small spaces. I think the key is to have lots of controls so everyone has to constantly read the map.

Check out the map and video on the first post in this thread:
http://www.attackpoint.org/discussionthread.jsp/me...
Jan 9, 2017 4:14 PM # 
gordhun:
A note on Registration:
In my view when you have a hundred or so cadets from any number of schools pre-registration is a must. (FLO events regularly will have a minimum of 150 and sometimes up to 300 or more JROTC entries.) The good part is that pre-registration is not difficult to achieve and the entering schools do the heavy lifting.
We have the host school send out an excel spreadsheet for the entries.
Entering schools fill out their team rosters listing name, gender, course and SI number.
Host schools compile that to one list and send to FLO or SOAR.
FLO or SOAR enters that list to SI timing (We use the Irish program, Or)
Start tickets are assigned and packaged for the teams and given out at event day check-in. The teams assign their start times to students and give each the appropriate ticket. Tickets handed in at START.
No fuss; no crowding. Yes there will be last minute changes but they are proving manageable.
SOAR has also started giving cards to each team so thy can calculate and submit their own team results - a big time saving and improvement in accuracy.
We'd be glad to share more details and copies of the registration program to any who would like it.
Details of the Florida JROTC competition set up is available on the FLO website by clicking on JROTC.
Jan 9, 2017 4:18 PM # 
jtorranc:
A DC area interscholastic league would be, surveying the history and accomplishments of WIOL, a wonderful thing if it can be got off the ground and made a permanent part of the Mid-Atlantic orienteering scene. I think one reason among many it has never happened is that there hasn't been anyone inside the schools willing to push to make it happen (I can just imagine the looks I would get if I, as an outsider, tried to approach a local school system and convince them they ought to encourage their schools to field teams in a sport they'd never heard of.). I doubt there will be much difficulty getting QOC buy in if such a person and a few co-conspirators in other schools now exist.
Jan 9, 2017 6:46 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Two comments:

1) Within the past 5 years, CascadeOC has hosted the O-USA sanctioned National Interscholastics Champs (2012, I was event director), and also the NJROTC National Champs (2016, I didn't do much).

Back in 2012, I knew that the Navy had their own championships, and I thought that was stupid. "Why do they have their own when they should just join the existing one organized by the national governing body?"

In 2015, one of the local NJROTC units approached Cascade about hosting the national champs, since it (I think?) had never been in Area 13 before. The club agreed to host it (the event director was an AF JROTC commander, so that was humorous), and it was also open to the public, and it was a big success! A much bigger success than hosting the IS/IC Champs in 2012, I would say.

The big takeaway I had was that I understood why the Navy built their own. It's a growing and very dedicated community. In 2012, there were a lot of complaints about IS champs being too far away, and attendance was lower than we hoped. In 2016, the Navy units just made it happen, and a bunch of them came all the way out there. It was inspiring to see.

For the people who advocate that the Navy Champs should join the O-USA IS Champs, I'd actually flip it. I'd explore the idea of having O-USA's champs join the Navy Champs. I still think it would be great if all the IS and JROTC kids would be at the same grand event, but I also appreciate how the Navy does things and would understand if they wanted to leave as-is.


2) Interscholastic League.

I love the idea of having an Interscholastic race series over the course of a season in our area. Would you want to have those piggyback on existing QOC events or create separate events?

As a participant and occasional organizer of CascadeOC's Winter Series & School League (WIOL), I would encourage piggybacking existing events. Or, depending on how QOC's organizes its calendar, create an event series from what you already do. CascadeOC's calendar is essentially four series, with the Winter Series & School League being 8 events from November-February, each with the same format (we originally picked November-February because it's between XC and track seasons, and we don't have snow restrictions).

By piggybacking, you don't have to create additional events and find staffing for them. If the added attendance requires more staffing, then perhaps ask/require some of units to help staff certain events. It's also a good way to cross-pollinate organizational knowledge and social connections between the units and club members, too.

By piggybacking, you also get more exposure. By having our events open to the public, we've had parents of kids start to participate (as well as cook chili for team fundraisers). The exposure works both ways. In addition to kids getting their parents involved, we also have parents getting their kids involved. And then those kids getting other kids involved. We get a lot of questions about how we've built our junior league, and it's really been a slow, steady growth over 30 years. Getting the JROTC units involved is low-hanging fruit in terms of attendance numbers, but the rest of our juniors have been built more organically through parents bringing their kids and/or building school teams. Some teams fade away as the kids age out, but others are still going strong.
Jan 9, 2017 6:56 PM # 
ishields:
We have frequent participation at BOK open events from an NJROTC group from Morehead City, about 150 miles away. Typically somewhere around 15 cadets. We are in the early planning stages for an area event for October. For our normal open events, we ask groups of 5 or more to follow out Group Preregistration Procedures (http://backwoodsok.org/group-pre-registration-proc...). Obviously registration for an NJROTC area event will be a little more formal, with assigned starts and so on. The groups tend to be well organized. The kids are kids, but generally not a problem. I like having them.
Jan 9, 2017 8:20 PM # 
JimBaker:
The Colorado interscholastic league piggybacks on RMOC events. It seems to have worked out well. RMOC has a means for groups to be invoiced and pay as a group, in part to make it easier for such groups I think. I haven't noticed JROTC at our events, though I have noticed active military from the nearby bases. Probably a big opportunity here.
Jan 10, 2017 6:04 AM # 
GuyO:
AFAIK, all the interscholastic league events in the USA are also public events. Whether all those events would have taken place if the leagues did not exist is doubtful, though.
Jan 29, 2017 3:36 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
This is definitely a thread alright.
Jan 29, 2017 6:00 PM # 
Una:
We at New Mexico Orienteers have seen about 1/4 of the ~40 NM JROTC programs at our meets. Navy and Marine Corps mostly, Army some, Air Force hardly any. For them Los Alamos is a draw because of the Manhattan Project. Back in 2010 we began a joint project with them but it got shelved due to, er, a series of incidents with certain instructors.

They can wrangle the cadets but they really need help with the orienteering, starting with in class instruction by someone other than the instructors. Or send instructors to orienteering boot camp? Their land navigation exercises tend to consist of dumb running on compass headings.

I may start that project up again...

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