- What is the Greater Boston Youth Orienteering Series?
- Who is the Youth Series for?
- When and where are the events?
- Do you need to pre-register for the Events?
- What to Expect on the day of the Event?
- What courses will be available at each event?
- What is the cost for the Event?
- What should participants wear?
- Do I need a compass and SI stick? Oh, and what is an SI stick?
- Is this a drop-off event or are accompanying adult(s) expected to participate with the kids?
- My son/daughter is a Scout: Can you earn the Orienteering Merit Badge at these events?
- Are Scout Groups and other Groups welcome?
- What if I would like to do more orienteering?
- What is the Greater Boston Youth Orienteering Team?
- Who is sponsoring the series?
1. What is the Greater Boston Youth Orienteering Series?
A series of events where coaches lead local youth in learning the sport of orienteering. Each event starts with age-appropriate activity stations aimed at teaching map reading skills and navigation through unfamiliar terrain. After the activities, participants have the option to try an orienteering course with family, friends or an accompanying adult(s). More advanced youth orienteers can compete independently on the longer and more technical courses.
2. Who is the Youth Series for?
Youth from ages 6 to teenagers who would like to learn how to navigate through various types of terrain. Basic navigation will be taught to beginners while advanced teenagers have the option to work with an experienced coach to learn technical orienteering skills. No experience is necessary at any age! Fun navigation activities are also available for 3-5 year olds.
3. When and where are the events?
There will be one event in the spring and two in the fall. Events are held on Sunday mornings from 10 AM-12 noon. You can join one or as many events as you would like.
Sunday, April 7
Sunday, September 22
Sunday, November 3
* Pending permit Approval – Check NEOC schedule closer to event time.
4. Do you need to pre-register for the Events:
Pre-registration is not required for individuals or families. You can sign up and pay at the day of the event. An accompanying adult will need to sign a liability form for all participants. Pre-registration is required for groups of 5 or more (see Groups below).
5. What to Expect on the day of the Event?
Start by checking in at the registration table to sign up for the event and pay. Staff at the registration table will help participants determine which navigation activities and/or orienteering courses are suitable for their age and level of experience.
Navigation Activities in Age-Level Groups (10 AM-12 noon)
Participants will participate in fun, age-appropriate navigation games & activities with a coach. There will be different stations based on age (3-5, 6-9, 10-12, 13+) and skill level. These activities are available from 10 am – noon.
Participate in courses with family, friends, or compete independently
Coaches help participants (and families) decide if a course is appropriate for their age and skill level and, if so, help choose the type of course appropriate for each child and guide them in getting started. For some youth and families, the navigation activities are plenty. Participants can complete a course with family, friends, or compete independently (see course descriptions below). You can start the courses until 12 noon. The courses close at 2 PM and you have to check-in at the Finish before this time.
6. What courses will be available at each event?
There will be four courses at each event. The courses will accommodate different age and skill levels. The terrain will also shape the nature of the courses. Some of the events are based in open parks while others are in wooded areas.
Training Courses (“woods wanderers”): A short and easy navigation exercise or course for younger children who are not ready to tackle the regular courses on their own but want to try using the map to find their way. Many of these courses will be visible from where the coaches and adults hang out and will vary by event. They could either have children follow streamers through the woods, or have happy faces (right way) and sad (wrong way) faces in an open park area as a means of keeping the runners on track.
White Course (“trail blazers”): A short and easy course, which stays on trails. Good for younger children who want to try a regular course, families who want an easy walk, and first timers. If it is turns out too easy, do a second course!
Yellow Course (“control spotters”): A more complex and slightly longer easy course, which largely stays on trails, but where the control points are no longer on the trails and you have to keep precise track of which trail you are on. Good for more adventurous newcomers, families, and children who have started to understand how to read a map.
Orange Course (“bush whackers”): The most advanced of the courses at the Youth Series. This course requires that you leave the trails and search for the controls in the woods. This course corresponds to an intermediate level course at a national orienteering event. Good for teenagers who have a good understanding of how to use map and compass, as well as individuals and groups who have done orienteering before and want more of a challenge in the woods. You can do this course if you have never done orienteering before, but plan on getting lost! We recommend that newcomers start with one of the easier courses and move up to the orange course once they are comfortable with map and compass. You can always do more than one course in a day!
7. What is the Cost for the Event?
$5 covers a participant’s activities & course maps for one event. Participating adults using maps are also considered event participants. There is a family max for each event of $15 (includes adult members of family). Groups of 5 or more must pre-register and are $20 plus $2/individual.
8. What should participants wear?
Children should wear sneakers and comfortable clothes that will allow them to run in the woods. The activities are aimed at keeping kids moving so that they don’t get cold, but children may also need appropriate outerwear (ex. rain jackets) and layers in the event of inclement weather.
9. Do I need a compass and SI stick? Oh, and what is an SI stick?
There is no requirement to bring a compass or SI stick to the event. You can borrow them for free at the event or use your own. We ask that you provide some form of collateral (i.e. car key) or phone number where we can reach you so that they all make their way back to the club.
An SI stick is a small electronic timing device that keeps track of your overall time on the course and time between checkpoints along the route.
10. Is this a drop-off event or are accompanying adult(s) expected to participate with the kids?
The navigation games and activities are designed for kids and their families and so we expect an accompanying adult(s) to be present. The activities provide a great chance for an accompanying adult to also learn navigational skills and we encourage (but don’t require) accompanying adults to participate in the navigation group activities. Adults and families are required to do the courses with their child unless an adult chooses to allow a child to run the course independently. This is not an event where kids can be dropped off.
11. My son/daughter is a Scout: Can you earn the Orienteering Merit Badge at these events?
No, the Youth Series events are not designed to fulfill the criteria for the Orienteering Merit Badge, neither are there any scoutmasters available to sign off on the badges. However, the events provide an excellent way to learn the basics of orienteering and to practice some of the navigation skills necessary for the badges and we welcome scouts to the events as an individual or as a family. The New England Orienteering Club organizes two scout-O events each year, which are tailored for scout groups. We recommend these events for scout groups that are interested in the Orienteering Merit Badge. More information about these events can be found at scout-o.org.
12. Are Scout Groups and other Groups welcome?
13. What if I would like to do more orienteering?
The orienteering organizations sponsoring the series have weekly events in local areas throughout the year, but typically in the spring and fall. Check out their respective websites for a listing of events (see #15). Interested youth can also join the Greater Boston Youth Orienteering Development Program.
14. What is the Greater Boston Youth Orienteering Development Program?
The Greater Boston Youth Orienteering Development Program is open to all youth (beginners or more advanced) that want to improve their orienteering skills further. The Team will have practices at 5 local orienteering events and will focus on developing navigational skills, fitness running, and teaching youth to independently compete on age-level orienteering courses. Pre-registration is required ($40 for spring season). Registration and more information here.
15. Who is sponsoring the series?
Three local organizations sponsor the youth orienteering series:
- New England Orienteering Club (NEOC) - neoc.org
- Navigation Games (NG) - navigationgames.org
- Cambridge Sports Union (CSU) - csu.attackpoint.com