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Discussion: Orienteering Program Feature in Scouting (BSA)

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 6, 2018 4:23 PM # 
A comprehensive look at the role of orienteering in USA Scouting...

Program Feature: Orienteering

Have at it!
Jan 20, 2018 10:52 PM # 

Thanks for pointing this out to the Orienteering Community. Myself and members of NTOA have been offering a week long course called Orienteering and Scouting at Philmont Scout Ranch every summer. I can assure you that this is not what we teach at our course. Conversely, these are some of the paradigms we have to overcome every time we teach the course. Obviously, we still have work to do. Hat tip to Ed Hicks for bringing this to my attention. Finding the Way, Brian M Coleman, RMOC
Jan 21, 2018 3:22 AM # 
Orienteering, with a bag over the head. Interesting. Maybe it's worth advertising O events to scouts as a possible activity, little organization required by the scout leader, and no need for paper shopping bags. Or get more schools into O leagues, or create more junior orienteering programs centered around the sport we do.
Jan 21, 2018 1:23 PM # 
Paper bags are not as plentiful as they once were. Scout leaders may be tempted to substitute the modern plastic shopping bags. This can easily result in suffocation. The cloth orange/white orienteering bags are a much safer choice.
Jan 21, 2018 3:22 PM # 
We were offering a Boy/Girl scout program for a while in conjunction with one of our local parks (It was actually listed as a park program which we taught, with a fee per map going to the club and a fee per scout going to the park. We then received a pavilion fee waiver for our public event the next day which used the same courses.) In the beginning we had great numbers signing up but over time they dwindled, so we decided to at least rest the program for a few years. Scout groups also commonly show up for the beginner program we do twice a year with another park on our permanent course there (also listed as a park program but taught by orienteers, and this one is free and open to anyone).
Jan 21, 2018 5:57 PM # 
That is yet another horrible video linking the sport of orienteering to over-compass use.
Save us from the Sliva-syndrome.
As they used to say in Ontario "give me a map and I'm magic!"
A good balance is to think of the compass like a pitch pipe in music. It gets us started in the right direction. Then the map takes over and leads us around the course. Would someone get that message to the scouts, JROTC and other youth groups!!!
Jan 21, 2018 6:08 PM # 
Gord, I explain it with a question. If you only had a compass or only had the map (you weren't allowed to have both) which would allow you to complete the course?
Jan 21, 2018 6:34 PM # 
Good question.
Jan 21, 2018 6:34 PM # 
A compass points you to only one feature, invisible and far away. A map shows you many or most features all around you. Someway similar to Canadian's idea.
Jan 21, 2018 7:13 PM # 
The camp manager for the nearest scout camp was a long time orienteer, and enthusiastic about getting an ISOM map of the camp, and is developing a permanent course. I suspect that compass tasks are a way for a non orienteer scout leader to organize pseudo navigational activities. (I doubt that if trust someone who's only done compass triangles or bag over head out and back bearings to be able to navigate in a pinch. I'd give much better odds for someone who's done an actual orienteering course or two.). RMOC has maps of at least four scout camps. Philmont, also in Colorado, has a map or two.
I recall an earlier scout document on orienteering containing a fair bit of actual O. Most scouts are likely near an active O club. I don't know what other than scout leaders who orienteer would get the scouts to promote real orienteering. Perhaps the compass companies are producing some of the videos and materials. Maybe scout leaders don't like leading something that they don't feel comfortable doing. Maybe orienteering would be better off focusing its efforts on Hamilton-style orienteering specific junior programs. One or two of those in each major metropolis, and some smaller cities, might introduce orienteering to thousands, or even tens of thousands, of juniors a year, especially if added to JROTC and interscholastic leagues. There have been orienteering maps of scouts camps, and orienteering events on them, for half a century in North America, and the current video about orienteering is bag over head bearings.
Jan 21, 2018 8:28 PM # 
Scout orienteering badge requirements have been updated (I think) by orienteers; not too recently, but probably within the last 10 years. It takes a leader who's willing to do something he wasn't trained for to look at them and figure them out.

Ed Scott, former scouting leader, has created a lesson plan for orienteering. Others have written about how to learn. It's just a matter of leaders finding the resources.
Jan 21, 2018 9:17 PM # 
Wow, I thought you *figuratively* meant a bag over the head.
Jan 21, 2018 9:32 PM # 
ROFL. Yeah, it's that bad. Almost worth watching the video for its awfulness. Is there a collection of worst orienteering videos, for late night binge watching? Surely, there must be some treasures out there, if this one is any indication.
Jan 22, 2018 12:12 AM # 
I have always thought this hour long video was a classic.
Jan 22, 2018 1:59 AM # 
Just curious - does the expression 'couldn't find their way out of a paper bag' get much use in North America or is it purely a UK/Australasia thing. Strangely that scout video made me think of it, can't think why.
Jan 22, 2018 2:26 AM # 
Philmont is in New Mexico.

The expression "couldn't ______ his way out of a paper bag" is definitely in common use in the US, though I think the original verb was probably "fight".
Jan 22, 2018 3:22 AM # 
Oh, that's right. I've been by it twice; somehow had it in my mind as Coloradan. An RMOC member goes down and helps them with O stuff periodically.
Jan 25, 2018 2:09 AM # 
Around here, a temperate climate and fertile soils makes the indigenous forest fairly thick and unsuitable for orienteering. I was out for a run on one of our staple maps the other day. Farmland, not a tree in sight. A rare circumstance of weather (it closed the airport) caused a warm fog, with visibility 25-50m. Even though I know the area well, it became a really fascinating navigational challenge.

If only we could whistle up such a visibility limiter at will, it would give a top-class map on our back doorstep. Wonder if there are any other ways we could simulate it.
Jan 25, 2018 3:33 AM # 
I remember orienteering in the fog at Silvermine, an hour north of New York City. It gave a nice mood to the event, and limited visibility a bit, but not as drastically as gruver's example. Oddly enough, where I now live has more frequent fog than anywhere else I've lived, including south of London. I may try to go out in a fog and see how orienteering is in it (assuming that I feel safe traveling to the map, and that the map has the same good as my house, which is on a valley facing a different direction).
Jan 25, 2018 1:20 PM # 
Sounds like night orienteering. And you can always turn your super-bright light down to a lower setting.

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