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Discussion: Helping Teams to Get Junior Nationals

in: Orienteering; General

Mar 29, 2018 6:23 AM # 
Okay O-USA members. We have created the Junior Nationals out of the ashes of the Interscholastic/ Intercollegiate Championships. Now it is time to step up and help our Juniors get to those Nationals.
Can you help one Florida team? In Florida we have over 40 high school JROTC teams who participate in at least one JROTC competition per year, the average is about three. But we have one team that goes to about 10 competitions a year. Orienteering is truly their thing. They are the top ranked team in the state (we keep track of those things) and their orienteers lead the rankings in four of the six categories (we also track every individual result and award points for achievement). They came third in the recently completed Navy JROTC National Championships, an unprecedented result for a Florida team. The team is from South Sumter HS in Bushnell FL
The Juniors Nats were not on their season radar. But I have encouraged them to make a last minute effort to get there. It is a long shot and they desperately need financial help.
They are not from the Florida of rich communities with rich families. They are from the part of Florida where people go partly because they cannot afford to live in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, etc but they will pay what they can. They will drive to the Junior Nats if they raise some money but not enough for plane tickets. They have pared down their team from the usual 30+ attending local events to eight for the Junior Nats. That must have been some tough choices.
FLO and SOAR are chipping in $500 each and SOAR will cover their O-USA memberships. They are raising money with bake sales and car washes, of course but they need more from outside the community and here is where O-USA members and others can help. The team has set up a GoFundMe page. This could help raise the money needed for the trip. Yes, there I am, in for a few hundred bucks (an extra hundred when you consider it started out in Canadian dollars) Would you care to join me and chip in maybe $25, $50 or whatever and then perhaps meet the kids at the Troll Cup/ Junior Nats? They promise to try to bring a weekend of Florida sunshine to the event. Well maybe not the weather but for sure their sunny personalities.
Mar 29, 2018 9:52 PM # 
I know our community is generous, and this is a great cause! Let's help these kids make it to Juniors.
Apr 1, 2018 2:06 AM # 
Thank you to those who have chipped in to help the South Sumter team get to the Junior Nationals. They are getting close to their goal. FLO and SOAR have made sizeable contributions outside GoFund Me.
One other thing that is worth noting about these kids: We talk a lot about the retention rate of JROTC and other youth in orienteering and it is not a great rate for sure. Some question what they contribute as volunteers to the sport. Not many are course setting or making maps, etc. I agree.
Well the key members of the South Sumter teams are exceptions. Team captain Robert Weller and his older brother, a graduate of the program, are currently brushing up on Open Orienteering Mapper so they can tackle making an orienteering map of a state park neatly located between Orlando and Tampa, not close enough to either FLO or SOAR to make it a priority for us but a great park to have mapped and have them putting on O events there. I think what they learn if they get to the JR NATS will go a bit of a way to helping produce a better map in Florida, Don't you agree? Send them $25 or $50 and I'll convince them that you should get free entry in to their first orienteering event on their new map.

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