I attended the parent athletics meeting at the high school last night. The Athletic Director mentioned the new orienteering program and said he was excited about it.
What is happening to further our overall goal of getting every kid in Cambridge to orienteer, and more generally to bring orienteering to more people with a focus on the Boston area and on youth and families:
The high school CRLS program is officially happening, as are the teams at the 5 middle schools. In all cases, we are looking for coaches / faculty sponsors. Navigation Games will provide all the orienteering coaching expertise, maps, activities. After we find the main coaches, then another challenge will be recruiting students. We have worked with a graphic designer and have a poster, and will put on demos after school the first week. The high school program will meet 2-3 times a week in the fall as a "learn to orienteer" program, and then become a more competitive team in the spring. The middle school program will meet ~5 times, once a week, at each school in the fall. And in the spring the season will be longer and culminate with an interscholastic meet at Danehy Park.
I have spoken with a couple of the other coaches to see how they run their programs. Ethan and I have been reading the MIAA (athletic association in MA) handbook; we aren't required to abide by all of the rules as we are not a covered sport, but much of the information is useful. There is a coaching class that I think it would be good for us to take.
In addition to VLUS and Morse, we have some new opportunities this fall. I hope to do something with the RAUS school. I just arranged a 2-hour session with a small private Montessori middle school in Cambridge for Sept 22. Last night I spoke with a PE teacher from Amigos K-5, and we may get to do something with her kids this fall. Given the positive response, it probably makes sense for us to reach out to all the Cambridge schools with a summary of what we can provide - ideally a menu of canned programs. The outdoor wellness teacher at Lincoln-Sudbury is excited about using the new map that Ed made (we still need to finish it with legend etc.); I think that will be a 2-week curriculum in her class this fall.
DCL League and beyond
We will focus on outreach to other schools in the high school league CRLS is in, to see if we can encourage them to start programs, so our kids have some competition. Email, calls, maybe little videos.
I also want to send out a flyer and letter to all MA high schools, similar to what we did with WOD in Cambridge. The idea would be to make them aware of the IS Champs 2018 (happening in MA), and give them some ideas for how to start an orienteering team. This would be in collaboration with NEOC and others interested. The IS Champs are a good opportunity to raise awareness and get new people into the sport.
By the way, last week Ethan and Vilppu put on an orienteering event on Ed's new Lincoln-Sudbury map for around 150 high school athletes from various Dual County League schools. It was a team poison score-O - teams of around 10 kids had 4 maps per team and had to decide how to split up to get all the right controls. Apparently one team ended up with a perfect score. But the main point is that it introduced a bunch more people in the league to the sport of orienteering.
The Mayor's Program kids, and particularly Keegan, did planning for a series of two events with a goal of raising some money for Nav Games. Not sure if we'll pull it off, but we have applied for permits and now need to do the publicity.
Elite youth training
Set up weekly training, similar to what Ethan did all spring with the core set of 5-6 kids.
We will run after-school classes for kids in grades K-5 at two schools this fall and winter. I dreamed up a new theme: we bring a locked treasure chest to each class, and see if the kids can solve the clues to unlock it. The clues will involve activities relating to spatial awareness, map navigation, agility.
Very excited to welcome Violeta and Juanma tomorrow to join Ethan in making a big effort this fall to expand youth orienteering in Cambridge and beyond! They will stay until mid-November.
There will be three Youth Series events in conjunction with NEOC/CSU meets this fall, as in the spring.