10 years ago today was the first ARK pilot evening in Hamilton. 7 kids (all girls) and several coaches showed up. The first season of ARK (spring 2010) had 105 kids and was based in Hamilton. Since that debut season ARK has been hosted in Niagara, Kitchener-Waterloo, Burlington, Mississauga, Caledonia, Oakville, Guelph and Milton. ARK grew to include teens aged 13-18 in a program called ARX with some of those ARX athletes racing at JWOC for team Canada. Over 15,000 have signed up for ARK in the first 10 years.
ARK has been lucky to have great coaches and program coordinators. It started with Patrick Goeres and a half year later Patrick Saile took over and he has been running the program ever since with extra coaching help from the incredible Meghan Rance and others. Joany Verschuuren has been a coach in the program from that very first night. ARK is a great outdoor community of kids, parents, coaches and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Thanks Patrick, Meghan, Tom, Hans, Mark, Courtney and many more for making this program so fun and awesome.
Happy 10th birthday ARK! Get Muddy!
Congratulations to all the volunteers and staff of ARK over the last 10 years. An amazing accomplishment!
Big congrats! ARK certainly appears to be a great model for North American youth orienteering! Or muddiness. :)
Congratulations on 10 years of your pioneering program!
According to Patrick Saile when we consider all aspects of ARK (races, programs, ARX, summer camps, etc.) the 15,000 number is probably low.
The 15000 is unique individuals or total registrations?
And congrats! Mike you left your own name off the list! When Orienteering Ottawa was starting its own programs a few after ARK started your provided invaluable advice. Ottawa has intentionally taken a slower approach to growth and we hit something on the order 180-200 registrations this past year. But I dont think we'd be where we are if weren't for that early advice and the experienced I gained working with SOGO in Calgary which is modeled on ARK.
So true Canadian. If it hadn't been for Mike we wouldn't have seen all those kids running, jumping and smiling week in and week out.
Thanks guys. The 15,000 number is total registrations.
Yes Dontgetlost Adventure Running entered a partnership with Foothills OC to co-develop their SOGO program. I think it really shows what can be done with the right curriculum, marketing and awesome volunteers.
There is such a strong desire for such a program here in Florida. The desire is probably there across America. I wish I had the time and wherewithal to start such a program (oh yes, and permission to work in the US)
ARK, SOGO and similar programs have the three things that parents want most for their adolescents.
-get them outdoors and away from their computers, smartphones, etc for a while.
- get them exercising
-get them learning to think and make decisions for themselves.
Building a strong network of friends probably doesn't hurt either.
This is wonderful.
wow. Congrats ARK founders and volunteers ! here in KW we are just proud that Stars is part of the program. many areas in KW were mapped/updated with ARK in mind last 10 yrs
Thanks Nick. Yeah ARK in KW with the Stars has been a great success. Tim Grant (Timato on AP) has been a key coach in the ARK KW program from the very beginning. ARK debuted in Kitchener/Waterloo in 2012 with over 150 kids.
Congrats DGL on 10 years of ARK!
Couple of points:
1) DGL has hired staff without traditional Orienteering background, but brought the right skills and trained them on what they need.
2) Pretty sure no Canadian club has sent more athletes to JWOC over this time. That being said, the success of ARK is that they aren't focused on building JWOC athletes.