National Orienteering Day, May 5, 2002, Five Rivers Environmental Education CenterIn late fall 2001, while helping to coordinate the EMPO 2002 meet schedule, Rob and I decided that we would like to be meet directors for EMPO's second annual National Orienteering Day event this time to be held at Five Rivers. As has been the case in the past, Rob and I enjoy being co-directors wherein we share meet responsibilities, keep each other on track, and support each other in the somewhat involved process. So, in early December 2001 we visited the park to begin that process and do some field checking. We kept notes about potential control sites and detailed a few map revisions. Before leaving, we connected with Craig Thompson, Environmental Educator and our future contact person for Five Rivers. We were very pleased to readily gain Craig's permission to use Five Rivers for the May 5th event. We reserved the small picnic pavilion/building in case of rain, accepted Craig's generous offer to assist with NOD advertising in the local papers as well as the Five Rivers' Newsletter, and promised to keep him apprised of any pertinent NOD issues.
Over the next couple of weeks Rob worked on tentative course layouts, trying to keep well within the guidelines anticipating that a lot of new orienteers would likely participate. Phil Hawkes-Teeter assisted with making a few map (OCAD) changes based upon our field checking. About this same time Phil forwarded information to us from the USOF Clubnet site regarding a free map offer from fellow orienteer/retail orienteering-gear guy, Gale Teschendorf. In anticipation of the expense of colored map copies, this seemed a good option to pursue. So I wrote and submitted an application to "GO ORIENTEERING!" and lo and behold we were selected for the map donation. We proceeded with NOD event plans, keeping in occasional contact with: Rob Rycharski, 2002 NOD coordinator (in addition to meet details, he also wanted our media plan); Craig Thompson (sending him a blurb for the advertising campaign); potential volunteers for the event; and EMPO officers.
Around the third week of April, we returned to Five Rivers. As we located planned control sites and placed temporary surveyor tapes, we traversed a good share of the park property. Springtime was in the air and patches of wildflowers were popping up through the woodland mulch. Before we were finished with the task at hand, however, dark clouds rolled in, thunder rumbled and we scurried back to the parking lot and our car with just a couple of minutes to spare before the torrential downpour began. After probably 30 minutes the storm passed and we were able to go out and complete the remainder of our control verification, including designing our first String-O course.
We had received our free maps around the first week of April, and when Rob was ready to attempt to transcribe courses for Master Copies a few days before the event, he began to discern that we had a bit of a problem. The high glossy finish of the printed maps, particularly in areas depicting dense vegetation, presented difficulty for the average ballpoint pen. We began to experiment with various writing utensils to see if any would be suitable for folks to use at the event when they would need to copy their own course onto a blank map. Soon we realized that we simply could not ask newcomers or oldcomers for that matter to struggle with the transcription process. Already we had received numerous phone calls and e-mails from new folks planning to attend NOD, so with anticipation of a fairly large attendance at the meet it seemed we only had one viable, inexpensive alternative to keep things running smoothly at the meet - copy the maps ourselves right now in the comfort and warmth of our own home! Approximately 108 maps later, we were feeling reasonably assured that we would have enough maps for the various courses, assuming the norm that each small group typically tends to use one map would hold.
On the morning of May 5th, the sun shining brightly and a favorable weather forecast promised for the day, Rob & I arrived at the park early and split up to hang controls. We welcomed Phil Hawkes-Teeter's arrival around 9:30am as we proceeded to set up our first String-o course, rearrange picnic tables for registration, haul out boxes of EMPO stuff, hang banners and results tabs, set up the refreshment stand, and of course field questions from passersby wondering "what is National Orienteering Day" and the like. Time flew by and before we knew it, the clock approached 11:00am and people began to congregate. Thank goodness for Reid Smalley's prior generous offer of help as we immediately realized that I was in need of support at the registration area. As newcomers arrived, most often in groups, Phil Hawkes-Teeter, later supported by Janet Tryson offered orienteering instruction. Phil is certain he gave instruction to at least 1000 people! We certainly know that's how it felt anyway! And every time I glanced over at Rob at the Start/Finish, he appeared calm and collected. But I suspected that the great turnout was in fact keeping him very busy! In total, the NOD meet attracted in the neighborhood of 125 participants, entailing 59 starts and 59 finishes.
As is always the case, events such as this meet generate many great memories. I always love to have new folks come back to the registration area, as many did at Five Rivers, and enthusiastically share that they had a fantastic time on their course. Seeing other relatively new orienteers returning for perhaps their second or third meet remains equally as exciting. Rob told Tom and Sal Madison, new to orienteering in just the last year or so, that they "made his day" when he saw them arrive at Five Rivers. On a different note another vivid Five Rivers' memory was planted in my brain at about the moment that I was told to peer around the corner of the pavilion only to see the Fly Fishermen (women) casting their lines. In the hectic-ness of registration I had not realized that this group had opted to set up right behind the pavilion. This will surely bring chuckles for years to come. In truth, it wasn't until after Rob had his finalized his courses that we learned that this Fly-Fishing group would be using the park area on May 5th. Even then, we didn't realize that they would be casting in the direct path of our finish sprint. But orienteers are taught to make logical route choices... And thankfully no one strangled himself or herself in fishing line, so I guess our orienteers did in fact do OK! In terms of course participation, our white and yellow groups, 16 and 13 respectively, were the most plentiful. Many of these folks were new to orienteering i.e. families, friends, a group of cadets, etc. and so we were particularly pleased with the NOD turnout. Individual group-size topped out with Maureen Boutin, who managed to corral 13 people and complete the orange course in less than 2 hours! On all courses, we were very happy to have familiar faces participate, indicating that Rob and I, having been meet directors/mentors at four previous EMPO events since 1998, are finally getting better at recognizing and identifying past O-acquaintances. ?
In celebration of National Orienteering Day, the Brunton Company donated free compasses for raffle/distribution on the day of the meet. The winners of the compasses were Mike/Rose Mulhern; Meg Berdan Group; Sherry McCredie Group; Erik Graham; and Brad Countermine. These folks seemed very pleased to be recipients, and we hope to see them practicing their compass skills at future EMPO meets!
In closing, a huge thank you to all who assisted with various NOD functions, including all of the above mentioned, as well as those who helped with control pickup: Glen Tryson, Rob Tryson, Janet Tryson, and Reid Smalley.
- Rita Reed
|Long lines at registration|
|Check the control code and punch|
|Team punching||Kolyveks and friends|
|Through the orchard|
last updated: --Thu May 27 2004 07:58:28 PM EDT--