Great Brook Farm, Carlisle, MA
October 24, 2021
Meet Director: Kelly Guarino

A fully updated map and beautiful fall day set the stage for a successful day of orienteering at DCR Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle.

There was a good turnout, with 123 starts spread fairly evenly over a full set of courses. New registration procedures via smartphone were welcomed by many, and were a disruptive challenge for others. Participants could also use their smartphones/QR codes for timing, in addition to traditional SI devices. The favorite reported control was set among the fall colors next to a footbridge on Yellow, and the least favorite was a Red/Green/Yellow control inside some trees that did not exactly follow the rules about controls on similar features near each other. My apologies to the participants who were tripped up by this oversight - I'm still learning. The rocky area northeast of the ice cream/farm complex continues to be a favorite, and was easier to navigate on the new map. Some participants like to challenge the Great Brook swamps each year, including one Brown runner who sunk up to his knees.

The mini-demo and expanded String-O outreach activities of this event were really enjoyable for families and new orienteers. Great Brook has a lot of non-orienteering visitors using the trails, and many of these passers-by asked about the event. One woman biked past the registration area, and returned an hour later with her spouse and two young children to do the String-O, and one gentleman said he knew what was going on when he saw the registration table because he was part of NEOC when it was formed over 40 years ago. We had orienteers from clubs on the other side of the country, students from schools in Lawrence and Cambridge, some participants who hadn't orienteered for decades, and a middle school teacher who was there to learn so she can include in her curriculum next year. At least three different parents noted that going out on a course was a for-certain way to have some time to themselves.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time. Wendy Johnecheck was essentially a co-Meet Director and did a bit of everything - she found volunteers, rounded up meet equipment, explained new procedures, kept me on track, uploaded courses, coordinated the mini-demo and string-o education initiatives, helped with set-up, and helped register volunteers and problem-solved registration problems throughout the meet. Jon Campbell spent hours and hours over many months to update the map, made my Purple Pen courses presentable for printing, and took care of the map printing. Tim Parson once again reviewed my draft courses from afar. Nick Townley helped put out controls and helped with setup and registration. Other registration volunteers were Mike Cooper, Kristin Hall, Steve Feldman and Patrick Mc Neal. Mark O'Connell was the computer station lead and was helped by Alex Vai, Andy McIlvaine, and Patrick McNeal. Channon Ames ran the Mini Demo education instruction, and Andy McIlvaine and Mori Finlayson-Johnecheck led young and new orienteers through the String-O. Kristin Hall, Stephen Tarry, Jim Paschetto, Alex Vai, Ian Finlayson, Sam Levitin, and Jon Campbell all helped with control pick-up, and Joanne Sankus helped clean up equipment and returned items to the NEOC locker.

We are thankful to DCR and the staff at DCR Great Brook Farm State Park for supporting this event.

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