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Learn to Orienteer Pilot Program Recap

Learn to Orienteer is a new Orienteering Australia program funded through the Australian Sports Commission. The Orienteering ACT pilot program ran for 7 weeks, Orienteering Victoria ran a second pilot with 4 sessions of the same concept. The program was open to anyone who wanted to learn how to orienteer; beginners of all ages were welcome.

Here in the ACT we started our program in Weston Park with two sessions and an introduction to the basics of navigation and map reading. The following five sessions were co-located with the Runner Shop Twilight Series events and as the weeks progressed new skills were added and practiced.

We covered basic orienteering and navigation skills such as the importance of keeping the map orientated, staying in touch with the map, knowing where to go and deciding how to get there.

  • Where is North (Have I orientated my map)?
  • Where am I (on the map)?
  • Where am I going?
  • How do I get there?

We also covered different features, from rocks and man-made objects to the meaning of contour lines, how detailed a map is and the need to balance between being precise and to filter, the benefit of ‘handrails’, ‘catching features’ and ‘attack points’, the use of a compass, scale & distance and briefly how to make an active route choice among other useful tips and tricks.
In short, there were seven intense weeks with a lot to learn and practice!

All in all, we had 23 participants including parents taking the opportunity to learn to orienteer, plus three coaches. Several of our participants also took the opportunity to try a regular Twilight course after the Learn to Orienteer sessions to practice their newly learnt skills.
The final week, at Yarramundi, the participants were ready to Graduate and to run a course on their own – and they did it well.

We look forward to seeing all Learn to Orienteer participants and their parents at our upcoming Twilight events. Please help us make them feel welcome!

Susanne, Ken and David
(ACT Learn to Orienteer coaching team)