You are currently viewing Board Shorts 242-246, June-December 2023

Board Shorts 242-246, June-December 2023

While your OACT Secretary was gadding about the planet in the second half of last year, here are some of the things the association’s management committee was dealing with:

June 2023:

  • Susanne informed about the latest OA program proposals: ‘Learn to orienteer Program’ meeting. OACT is welcome to deliver a pilot in term 4; Sporting Schools “map making programs” for Year 9/10 students – this was heavily discussed with no state representative agreeing with that.
  • OACT has received a request to deliver relay orienteering to a school in September and orienteering might be delivered for Girls’ Grammar when they will host World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships, 18/19 April 2024.
  • ACT Sport & Recreation Update: Phil has submitted a first ‘application’ to see if we fulfil the category 3 criteria in the new sports categorisation process, which we think we should. (category 1 and 2 for mainstream profit-making organisations and sports) We expect a result in August and to be notified in September. If successful we should be able to request a grant in October/November for 2024-2027. However, we will not hear the result until February 2024, which means that we will set our budget for 2024 and fees based on no grant.
  • Maurice to raise a proposal for 2026 Carnival incl. School Champs etc – on where and how we could arrange the events to ensure reduced distances etc and therefor keep our costs down.
  • Ari Piiroinen ran a Course Setting Workshop for Bushflyers, which was very well received – we got a first time course setter, Silke, and a first time organiser. Phil to ask Ari if he would be able and willing to run another workshop outside of Bushflyers, and if so when would be a good time? The Board noted Edith is now an accredited Controller level 1. Michael Radajewski has shown an interest in a controller role, and is a potential controller.
  • ACT Parks Update – Callum Brae – Saturday 24th June was cancelled late by ACT Parks, who originally (in April) had given us the impression that it would be okay. We were given conditions for less than 100 runners, and all on tracks, so not viable and the event was cancelled. The director has moved on, there is a new ranger. At this stage we are awaiting further response from ACT Parks on the permission process, specifically on what areas will be excluded and not. This is expected to come soon, at least a first indication. The timing is not right to escalate the issues too far, since this most likely will backfire. We need to wait and see how far we can get with the improvements we have discussed so far.
  • Event Planning & Management Sub-committee: For 2023/2024 summer: Proposed events for Twilight will be in parks. There might also be two sprint series on Sundays, one over Christmas holidays, and one in Feb-March (possibly leading up to ACT Sprint Champs? Or an AL sprint 24/3 or 17/3?). Blair Trewin has advised that the current plan is that Oceania will not be held in Sep/Oct 2026. 2026 will be a ‘normal’ AUS Champs carnival.
  • Budget: OACT is going towards a big loss this year, currently estimated to about -$31,000. Looking at the expenses associated with Easter Carnival 2023 we see that Technology, toilets and roadwork were considerably higher costs than expected. Conclusion from this is that we need to consider this when we chose venues as well as when we set the entry fees for future carnivals. These costs ate up a lot of our potential income this year. To improve our situation some options that might be worth investigating further are: Sausage stall at Bunnings (like Blue Lightning will do 13th of August, Belconnen). Look for sponsors, e.g. Garmin/Polar/Intersport/… or around healthy living or nature. This could maybe be a task for a future Development Officer?
  • Development: World MAZE race went ahead – Unfortunately it was not possible to run at the preferred locations, but it was run and people showed up. A list of Newcomers was compiled, and Alison will contact the ones that provided email addresses in the same way as we do for Newcomers at our events; High SC-ORE unfortunately had to be cancelled due to too few entries; The PAF community Pop-up ‘Game On Canberra’ Series has started is on/off; Toni has resigned as our Development Officer after close to a year in the role. The Board thanked her for her ongoing enthusiasm and efforts in driving coaching and participation programs.

Other business:

  • Coach in Residence: Susanne mentioned another potential candidate would be investigated further as OACT would benefit from a coach in residence, so please spread the word. In particular those going to JWOC/WOC/Europe in the coming weeks and months; ASOC trials have started; MTBO Promotion has started for October. Marina to be invited to the next suitable board meeting.

August 2023

  • The President reported that OA has been considering methods for improving its financial situation, including by increasing the amounts payable by the States and Territories, but all jurisdictions are opposed to this, not least as they are also struggling financially.
  • The Executive Officer reported that ACT Sport & Rec High Performance grant has been acquitted; a proposal has been made linking sports up with potential sponsors under the ‘Gamechangers’ program; Phil has submitted our proposal for classification as a category 3 sport as part of the new ACT Sport & Recreation funding model. We will be advised of the outcome in due course. ACT Parks & Conservation Service informal further detailed maps look promising as the ‘no go’ zones in most areas look to be significantly less extensive than originally indicated. Black Mountain and Aranda Bushland are still heavily affected.
  • ACT League event 31 July 2023 – The Board discussed the situation where a control was not able to be found at this event as a tree had been felled after the control was hung. The controller for the event has concluded that the results can stand, with those on affected courses recording a mispunch. The Board considered that as AL points are calculated for participants across all courses, it would not be fair for some competitors for their results to be counted towards the AL competition and so decided that the AL competition would be reduced by removing this event this season.
  • Development / Marketing / Promotion: Before we appoint a replacement Development / Marketing / Promotion Officer, we need to be clear about OACT’s priorities and set direction on where effort needs to be placed. To have a targeted program to get maximum value for effort rather than ad hoc activities, that actually cost us money for little return. Phil suggested there are 5 steps for consideration based on external and internal focus elements including:
    1. Awareness of orienteering through community and school events – this does take time and resources and does have value but we aren’t getting a great return on effort in getting people involved in community orienteering;
    2. Getting people to try an event, usually through Street-O, Saturday Metro or Wednesday Twilight – we have started actively managing newcomers and once again this does take continued effort but is required to retain newcomers. Unfortunately, in recent times we have been unable to hold the Map Mates program or the Keeping Up with the Kids program. To get families and juniors to be engaged, the adults need to be engaged/targeted;
    3. Having people to come back and do more events, the returned customers – we do lose many people at this step – there is a group of 60 or so ‘regular’ orienteers who have joined as Casuals rather than joining as a member of OACT and as a club member;
    4. Encouraging those who do several or more events to become members – Some clubs are better than others at welcoming new members;
    5. Encouraging members to do and volunteer at more events, increasing our participation numbers – as an example, we have 395 members, from which 157 have purchased Saturday Metro Season Passes but average attendance at Saturday Metro events is 125. The numbers get worse when looking at AL event participation by our members.
  • Event Planning & Management: 2023/24 Wednesday Twilight series will be 12 events avoiding areas in the Canberra Nature Reserve Zone 1 Core Conservation areas. The proposed program is due to be confirmed by mid August; the AL event planned for 16 July at Ballinafad was postponed to a date to be determined; OA remains very keen for OACT to hold a double-header NOL event weekend in May 2024; Wednesday Midday events have started up, but attendance averages are only 16 per event.
  • ASOC: The Board considered whether specific funding should be made available to ASOC representatives in addition to funding for the third administrative position. The Board noted that Blue Lightning has revived the cake stall and has a Bunnings barbecue coming up, with funds going towards ASOC participants. As Blue Lightning is also hosting a weekend event this season, for which they will retain any income, the Board agreed no additional funding was necessary at this time.

September 2023

  • Learn to Orienteer program has been launched, entries are open. The program is aiming for beginners of all ages, not specifically children/youth. Info has gone out via website, to the schools, through the SC-ORE community, and Newcomers to the ACT Junior League during 2023 series will also receive information. Alison to send to Newcomers. Susanne, Ken M, David S will run the program together, with built in flexibility for absence such as sickness or other commitment during the course of the program.
  • Safety and Emergency – Susanne referred to the two incidents at Collector Hill on the 19 August, where one person injured her leg, and a junior got lost on the Easy course. This prompted a review of the Safety and Emergency Plan document. The consensus is that the document is still good, but needs a few updates incl removal of no longer relevant information. We could look into potential safety card further, and potentially add text to the back of entry cards when printing new ones.
  • ACT Parks & Conservation Service Update: We have received a High Performance grant, $15000 again. Phil has spoken to Yvette Berry (ACT Minister for Sport & Recreation) about our access issues. She asked for more info about our situation/requests.
  • Finance: Maurice has taken over the treasurer role while Andrew is away; MapRun: Peter Effeney has requested payment for MapRun use for 2023; 2024 Budget Planning – last year we had an operational loss of about $17000, the prediction is that we will end up at about the same amount this year. OA levies will be around $14000-15000. State Reg. is expected to be around $11000 – to either be paid in December or January (for 2nd half of 2023)
  • Event Planning & Management: Joshua and Owen will continue operating the event computer. We will need a Welcome person; 2 MTBO events are planned (13 December 2023 and 7 February 2024); The camping at NSW Champs 2024 was popular, and a suggestion is to provide something similar in the ACT, i.e. with camping close by two events; Hermann is to turn 100 in June, and an event in his honour is planned for the 2 June in Stromlo where Hermann used to work; Maurice is drafting a “summer fun sprint series”; Susanne is looking at securing events for Term 1 Sprint series
  • Entry fees for Twilight 2023/2024: The Board decided Season pass for adults would be set at $84 (members) = a discount of 42% (equiv. to 7 out of 12 events); other entry fees to remain the same: Members: Adult: $12, Junior: $5, Family Max $29, Non-members: Adult: $20, Junior: $10, Family Max $50; 3 free entries for Newcomers (i.e. newcomers to orienteering)
  • ASOC update: 20 students were offered a place in the team to represent the ACT in WA. One declined his place, so OACT will send a team of 19; Blue lightning has done a good job in gathering funds for their reps, through the cake stall at Junior League events and through a Bunnings’ sausage stall. They have also received donations. Most appreciated all of this.

Other business:

  • Coach-in-residence application – Stephen and Susanne have a zoom interview lined up.
  • Newcomers experience – Alison reported that we have had 92 individual new people taking up the opportunity to try orienteering for free during ACT Junior League incl 11 adults without children Slightly more than half of the children came back for another round (family groups) with most of the children in the age group 8-12 years old, boys and girls. Since 1 April OACT has received 57 new members: 36 Adults, 10 juniors and 11 Sub-juniors (i.e. under 10). Some of them are renewed memberships (e.g. from Grammar, Radford and a family), but the majority seem new to OACT. As at 18 Sept OACT has 398 members.

October 2023

  • MTBO Marina Iskhakova provided an update on planning for the AUS MTBO Carnival and Championships to be held in Canberra in October 2024, and thoughts on how to promote and grow participation in MTBO. The planning is progressing well. The aim is for the 2024 MTBO Carnival and Championships to offer events from beginners to international elites. Entries to open in early 2024. OACT will receive $5,000 from the Moira Whiteside Bequest for the 2024 AUS MTBO Champs.
  • The President reported that the current Strategic Plan is an all-encompassing document, however doesn’t assist in prioritising actions. It tries to cover everything whereas a more useful planning document would highlight the major priorities and actions. Susanne will lead a review of the current Strategic Plan, to be followed by a workshop in first quarter of 2024 to gather input from the broader OACT membership.
  • The Executive Officer reported that outcomes of the State Sporting Organisation (SSO) categorisation assessments were expected to be announced by end September, then by end October. That has been delayed. If we get approved, we will be able to apply for a 3 year grants, if not, we will still be able to apply for grants but annually and with even lower amounts available; OACT provided input to OA’s review of Eventor – main points were: Issues with administering Casuals, and improving the useability of the application, especially for newcomers. OA doesn’t have rights to change the application, so don’t expect too many major enhancements.
  • ACT Parks & Conservation Service Update: Stephen has escalated the concerns to the Deputy Director-General who manages the ACT PCS and the Office of the Conservator. OACT reps will be meeting senior officials on 30 November.
  • Controllers / Course Setters Workshop is to be held Saturday 25 November. A venue has not yet been booked, awaiting on a better idea of number of participants, and trying to obtain a venue at a reasonable cost.
  • Membership Fees and Event Entry Fees 2024
    The Board discussed a range of options for the 2024 fee structure. It was noted that OACT does have sufficient cash-at-hand to absorb another year of an acceptable operational loss. The aim is to limit any increases in fees, particularly for members, and to look at increasing participations, seeking other sources of income and reducing expenditure. An example of where savings would be made is in the type of map paper to be used for non-ACT League or Championship events; Phil to raise with OA the issue of double State Registration Levies paid on new members who join in the last 3 months of a year receiving membership for the 12 months of the following year.
    • Membership Fees:  The Board decided to keep the 2024 fees at the same cost as for 2023.  
    • Entry Fees, for series commencing in 2024:
      • Saturday Metro, Sprint & Winter Midday fees for members are unchanged.  Fee increases for non-members and no free entry for Newcomers.
      • Season Passes are available for members only, with the cost to be equal to half the number events plus one in the series.  For example, a 12 event series would cost the same as if entering individually 7 events.
      • ACT League (non-Championship events):  The costs involved with running an ACT League event are generally greater than for community events.  For example; toilet hire, increased travel, better quality map paper to be used etc.  
      • ACT Championships:  Entry fees to be increased by $5 – $10.  Actual fees to be determined per event based on expected cost of running the event.  That would also bring the cost in line with that charged by ONSW and OVIC for their Championship events.
      • The fee structure of members & non-members and Adult & Juniors should be adopted for MTBO.  The intent is to provide benefits for financial members over non-members and Casuals.
Adult Member$12$15
Junior Member$5$7
Family Member Max Paid per Event$29$37
Adult Non-Member$20$30
Junior Non-Member$10$15
Family Non-Member Max Paid per Event$50$75
Newcomers3 x FreeFee Paying
  • Event Planning & Management:
    • Sprint Series dates and locations are in Eventor, but there may be some changes to the locations – the events are mostly being set and organised by the 2023 ASOC juniors
    • Winter Series dates and locations for the AL events are in Eventor. Dates for Saturday Metro series are in Eventor with locations to be determined after meetings with ACT Parks.
    • SC-ORE has commenced, but unfortunately one school withdrew the previously provided approval so the venue was quickly changed to another school, Aranda PS.
  • Finance:
    • The Acting Treasurer took the Board through the major items of expenditure and income since the last Board Meeting. All expenditure was appropriate, however the Board did note that it is time to remind all responsible for expenditure that prior approval is to be sought from the Board for expenditure over $600.
    • Valerie has booked Canberra Park as accommodation for 2026 ASOC teams.
    • Susanne has arranged for OACT to run a Sausage BBQ at Belconnen Bunnings on Saturday 17th February 2024. Valerie volunteered to co-ordinate, or at least be the initial co-ordinator.
  • Coach-in-Residence: Krisztina Gera from Hungary will join OACT in early February for 5-6 months. OACT has received an application from a male Canadian who might be available from April. Susanne will contact him in December to see if he is suitable and available.

December 2023

  • ACT Parks & Conservation update: The President reported she, Stephen and Phil recently met with Executive Group Manager, EPSDD (Bren Burkevics) together with Branch Manager ACT Parks (Stephen Alegria) and Partnerships Manager ACT Parks (Michael Watts). It was a very productive session where the public servants acknowledged OACT’s strong preference for better and earlier information about access to various areas of the Canberra Nature Park. It is expected that an updated map of ecologically sensitive areas will be available by February. It was agreed we would meet twice each year in about February and August to plan seasonal programs. EPSDD is to confirm the outcomes of the meeting in a formal letter.
  • The Executive Officer reported that the ACT Government grant application process opening has been delayed pending Ministerial confirmation. Ann Scown is seeking quotes for items that could be bundled together for equipment and IT items.
  • Awards – the Board considered the establishment of a sub-committee to consider and report back on recommendations for awards eg for OACT and OA awards (close with OA 14 Jan). The Board agreed the sub-committee should be chaired by a Board member with two other association members, striving for an age and gender balance. Alison agreed to chair the sub-committee.
  • 2024 Budget Planning: Phil spoke to his circulated paper. We are heading for a potential loss of the same order as for 2023 and up to $30 000 mainly due to 20% reduction in participation (especially by members) in almost all disciplines compared to pre-COVID and ACT Government changing its grants allocation rules. We are not alone in that – almost all other State associations are experiencing the same issues. Members noted we have made little change to our event entry fees (nor have other States), but our per member costs paid to OA for their expenses has gone up considerably; the Board also noted the need to pay attention to our GST input credit claims.
  • Event Planning & Management:
    • Sprint series – Susanne reported the series has started well with juniors setting the courses, but there have been problems behind the scenes getting school approvals for January
    • Winter series – next meeting is scheduled and members have agreed it would be good to find camping options for our NOL and other major events eg at Broulee and Birkenburn
    • SC-ORE schools are being lined up for Autumn 2024 with a fourth school still to confirm, but we are having to move off the Register Now platform
  • Schools wrap-up – Stephen circulated a report detailing one of the busiest terms we have had in the last 5 years, despite overall participations still being well below pre-COVID levels
  • Learn to Orienteer – Susanne reported the 7-session program was well received, with several participants buying SI sticks and coming to street or sprint events. Susanne is looking at options for running another season in conjunction with next winter. The Board thanked Susanne, David and Ken for implementing a successful initiative
  • MTBO – Marina reported that she had reviewed the budget following Board feedback. Four out of five venues have been secured. Promotion has been circulated to all States. Entries open 1 January. Andrew will open income and cost centres in the accounting system.
  • AAIDT the Board noted OA and ONSW are proposing to include the development team concept for Aus Champs in 2024.