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Planning For DIY Courses
  • Topic created by skolins on Sat May 30, 2020 at 0:57 am
    Samuel  Kolins (skolins)
    skolins
    Num Posts: 121
    Primary Club: DVOA
    Fav map: Governor Dick
    First O: 2012
    While many of us are still stuck in lock-down, now is a good time to start thinking about what orienteering opportunities might look like once we are free to move around a bit.  In particular, I want to start a conversation about what some "Do It Yourself" courses might look like in the coming months.  The DIY model would provide no-contact courses for our club members (including those with higher COVID risk, personally or in their family), and if done right could also introduce the sport to some of the many people that are now looking for new contact-free activities to try.


    As a bit of background, OUSA has put out safety and liability guidelines for DIY courses:
    https://orienteeringusa.org/2020/05/ousa-safety-recommendations-for-do-it-yourself-orienteering-events/

    and is also organizing a central listing of DIY courses:


    So here are a few questions that we might talk about, with a few of my thoughts mixed in.  Certainly the answers to these questions could depend on each other, and my lists of options are not meant to be exhaustive.

    1.  What type of "flags" and/or punching would we want?
    • GPS-based smartphone app (such as UsynligO) - could be with or without streamers/flags. The app can also give you a hint to get to the next control or the finish, which could be good from safety perspective.
    • QR-code based app (scan a QR code at each control, such as iOrienteering) - with a streamer or flag to help find the QR code.
    • Just streamers or flags.
    2.  How would we like people to "register" and "sign waivers".  Options from OUSA include:
    • Require signing of a waiver via a registration portal before being granted access to the map (for example, OUSA's Event Register is set up to do this and is free this year for local club events).
    • Post the waiver on the same page as the map download, with clear language that downloading the map serves as agreement to the waiver.
    • Print the waiver on the map itself with clear language that possession of the map serves as agreement to the waiver.
    We might want to use a mix of these options, for example waivers on maps for outreach white/yellow courses, and then a more official registration system for advanced courses.

    3.  Would we like to restrict participation in any ways (for safety reasons).  E.g.
    • Require people registering for advanced courses to have completed an advanced course before or have had other relevant experience.
    • Restricting (orange and?) advanced courses to club members.
    • Geographical restrictions on who can register (to prevent long-distance travel to events that might include gas station stops, lodging, etc).

    4.  Would we like to charge for these courses and if so how?  Note that if people register for an event or if we post results, we will owe OUSA a start fee that helps pay for liability insurance for all of the clubs, so we may want to charge for courses to be able to cover that fee, in addition to a portion of the general club costs (mapping, website, equipment, etc).
    Some options could be:
    • Free.
    • Suggested donation amount (can be sent via PayPal)
    • Charge a fee (can be collected through Event Register), possibly with a waiver for those who have lost jobs during this situation.
    Again, a mix of methods might make sense - for example free outreach events but a fee for intermediate and advanced courses.

    5.  How long should courses be available?  This is more of an issue when streamers or flags are placed in the woods, though in terms of community building having people doing the same courses in the same general time period[, and comparing and discussing results,] may also be nice.

    6.  Any cool ideas for generating community around these events?  We can post splits and route-gadget, and have e-board threads about people's experiences.  Maybe have some people who are willing to talk via e-mail with newbies who do a course, had fun, and excited to get more involved?  Any ideas are welcome!


    The answers to some of these questions will depend on discussions with the parks about what works well for them, but even before we feel ready to talk to the parks we can think about the types of models we want to propose.


    Certainly this is not what anybody wanted, but I think there are also some opportunities that we can take advantage of with DIY courses, including:
    • Outreach opportunities with DIY white/yellow courses that are available at any time and maybe even advertised on park billboards.  With invisible punching it is also easy to set up "pink" courses (longer distance white/yellow) to try and attract some runners. There are a lot of people in our parks now, looking for new outdoor things to do that preserve social distancing. If we jump onto this opportunity, we can get these people to try orienteering and hopefully many will stick around long term.
    • Flexible dates and times, which help with people's schedules and with the ability to avoid summer thunderstorms or excessive heat threats.
    • Opportunities to try a course more than once to learn from your mistakes.
    If this situation forces us to figure out DIY events, they might turn out to be a great addition to our summer or winter down-times even when things return to "normal"

    OK, enough rambling. 
    Stay safe, and interested to hear your ideas.
  • Reply by DaveUrban on Sat May 30, 2020 at 8:40 am
    Dave Urban (DaveUrban)
    DaveUrban
    Num Posts: 148
    Primary Club: DVOA
    Fav map:
    First O: 0
    re #6 - Another organization I'm in has informal, but scheduled, get togethers using ZOOM (free video conference). We could discuss route choices, feed back to organizers, or problems we encountered. Not as good as face-to-face but available and virus free.
  • Reply by Sandy on Sat May 30, 2020 at 7:23 pm
    Sandy Fillebrown (Sandy)
    Sandy
    Num Posts: 285
    Primary Club: DVOA
    Fav map: Hickory Run 1:15000
    First O: 1993
    A lot of really good ideas!  Thanks for starting the conversation. 

    I really hope many of the parks we have mapped are willing to let us set courses  and make them available to people.  Any of your ideas -putting out streamers or flags or using one of the apps like UsynligO - would be great.
  • Reply by Guy-O on Sun May 31, 2020 at 0:42 am
    Guy Olsen (Guy-O)
    Guy-O
    Num Posts: 295
    Primary Club: HVO
    Fav map: Spackman Creek
    First O: 1982
    Why reinvent the wheel...?

  • Reply by camperpat on Sun May 31, 2020 at 7:54 pm
    Pat Burton (camperpat)
    camperpat
    Num Posts: 244
    Primary Club: DVOA
    Fav map: Hibernia
    First O: 1999
    We bought si air punches a few months ago.   No contact with that 
  • Reply by skolins on Mon Jun 1, 2020 at 10:14 pm
    Samuel  Kolins (skolins)
    skolins
    Num Posts: 121
    Primary Club: DVOA
    Fav map: Governor Dick
    First O: 2012
    I like the ParkQuest page.  Good idea to try and get people to share photos as well as posting results.
    Do you know if they have park permissions?  If so it might be a nice link to share with some of our park partners when we reach out to them about this idea.

    No waivers on the ParkQuest page, so that is one thing we would need to add (but they also put this up before the OUSA guidence including waivers).

    In this format, I might also include a note/link to donations.  As I understand it, since a result list is being created there will be an OUSA start fee (we still do need to pay for liability insurance), so we might want to let people know this and encourage a donation.

    Good to see some models of clubs making this work as they emerged from their lockdowns.
  • Reply by skolins on Mon Jun 1, 2020 at 10:27 pm
    Samuel  Kolins (skolins)
    skolins
    Num Posts: 121
    Primary Club: DVOA
    Fav map: Governor Dick
    First O: 2012
    With regards to SI Air, I think there is a whole additional conversation that can be had about doing actual events in the COVID era and what that might look like.  A good conversation to have, and by talking about DIY courses I was not trying to imply that had to be all we thought about.  I just wanted to think about DIY courses as they might be something we can do before having large events is allowed, and even without COVID, I think there are some exicting opportunties to explore with DIY courses.

    For many people, the big risk point of an event is just the exposure to a bunch of people in the start/finish/parking area, all of whom have different views of what appropriate social distancing is.  I want to find ways so that everybody feels comfortable.  I could see opportunties that blend somewhere between events and DIY courses, like a course that is put up on UsynligO after the event for people to do or DIY courses where a few people gather to do the course on the same day.
  • Reply by Guy-O on Tue Jun 2, 2020 at 0:55 am
    Guy Olsen (Guy-O)
    Guy-O
    Num Posts: 295
    Primary Club: HVO
    Fav map: Spackman Creek
    First O: 1982
    I know for a fact that park managers were consulted regarding ParkQuest.  What I'm not sure about is whether they did this in parks that have permanent courses.

  • Reply by skolins on Tue Jun 2, 2020 at 10:20 am
    Samuel  Kolins (skolins)
    skolins
    Num Posts: 121
    Primary Club: DVOA
    Fav map: Governor Dick
    First O: 2012
    Awesome - our relationships with parks are critically important, so it is really good to see example of parks being consulted and being open to this type of course.
  • Reply by camperpat on Wed Jun 3, 2020 at 6:50 am
    Pat Burton (camperpat)
    camperpat
    Num Posts: 244
    Primary Club: DVOA
    Fav map: Hibernia
    First O: 1999
    Our local club which has over 800 members has recently reopened many activities with stipulations.  we plan to have u sign in on line , limited the number of people for a hike to 25 with people wearing a mask for the initial orientation and specfics to the activity that day.   and spreading out to eat lunch.   Our biggest problem was a car shuttle for kayak trips.  but even the local outfitters are shuttling people of 10 in a van with masks on and it is all working well.  
  • Reply by shiatsuron on Fri Jun 5, 2020 at 8:04 pm
    Ron Barron (shiatsuron)
    shiatsuron
    Num Posts: 26
    Primary Club: DVOA
    Fav map:
    First O: 2004
    PA State Park regs & rules

    http://www.docs.dcnr.pa.gov/cs/groups/public/documents/document/d_001192.pdf

    I know it's just the state parks, but county park rules aren't that different.

    It spells out what is or isn't allowed. Certainly UsynligO courses are of no concern of the park managers as long as the course(s) have no physical aspect to them, ie streamers, and that there is no gathering of people that could be considered "an organised event". Personally I think the park managers would appreciate knowing about novel ways park users are figuring out to enjoy resources. Without a permit, collecting money on park property is not permitted.

    A logistical concern, with physical courses that are left up for any period of time is either what nature does to the CPs or vandalisim. Streamers have no $$ value but if participants are looking for them they might not exist, even after short periods of time. I do know that for casual informal courses such as what many of these could be, if a streamer is missing, it doesn't matter. If you are looking at the feature, you know you are there. Streamer or not. Streamers work better for advanced or intermediate courses. NOT features along trails or roads or busy park areas.

    I've done Greg A's Hickory Run map and found that the UsynlgO app signals the CP often before I figured out where it is. I thought that would be annoying. It turns out Pavlov isn't concerned with what the reward is, just that you get it. Besides, without knowing where the actual feature is, it would be foolish to launch off to the next point unless you actaully know where you are. So, you get signalled, you know it's close, you find it anyway, then you move on.

    I don't see any of this actually replacing the types of event we currently have, just an adjunct to them. Formal or informal, they are often easy to set up, don't require a lot of people to make happen, have less of an impact of the park resources, but still get people out into the woods either setting up a course or doing them, which is what orienteering is really all about.
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