The new Learn to Orienteer program, funded through the Australian Sports Commission, is being piloted in the ACT and Victoria. We have two enthusiastic groups of 15 to 25 participants learning the fundamental skills of orienteering. The information and feedback gathered from these pilots will help refine the program, so it is ready to be run in towns and cities throughout Australia from 2024.
Quickly teaching the fundamental skills
Orienteering Australia has the goal of producing a beginner program that can quickly and systematically teach the fundamental orienteering skills to newcomers. A group of orienteers from across Australia have been working together to modify and expand the Learn to Orienteer program trialled in Victoria. We have created a flexible program that guides participants through engaging activities, which each teaches a specific skill.
Already, after 2-3 weeks, participants have learnt about the map, orientation, map interpretation, handrails, attack points and contours. Each week also finishes with an orienteering course to practice the new skills learnt.
It is exciting to see that the participants are new to orienteering and are eager to develop their skills and confidence so they can engage further with our sport. There is a range of ages, combining both adults by themselves and families with children.
We have already heard many fantastic comments: “Aha, that makes sense”, “I get it now”, “Do you have another course for me to do?” Creating this positive environment is the aim because it comes from a safe learning atmosphere and a participant’s growing confidence to navigate.
These pilots will give us valuable information to help refine the Learn to Orienteer program. One important aspect is making the program flexible, so it is appropriate for the local community. This may be the time and locations, or the cost, specific target audience, length of program or range of skills taught.
The program delivery guide and the vast collection of activity cards, as well as a wide range of resources are being updated so they are ready to be picked up and used by future coaches.
We look forward to a successful completion of the pilots and receiving more feedback. Good luck to the participants as they develop their orienteering skills, and we can’t wait for more people to engage in the thrill of orienteering through a Learn to Orienteer program.