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'A Brighter Future'

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 7 March 2012, 11:58 AM  
Hello people.

I'm starting this thread as a place for people to post ideas to improve orienteering in NZ. This is where you should post if you have some ingenious thoughts, or you want to bring about change to the current way of life in NZ orienteering.

I would like to lay down a few ground rules if I may:

1. Ideas should be realistic, and relevant i.e. within the capabilities of the NZ orienteering community and NZOF. This will keep the thread productive.

2. Refrain from turning civilized conversation into a sledging contest.

3. Try to give your opinion on the current topic in discussion before presenting your own idea, and work with the other members of our community to find a way to implement the idea/find a solution to the problem/dismiss the idea as currently unrealistic, or irrelevant. - This way things will get done rather than get lost in a sea of brilliant ideas. (Sub-threads would really come in handy in this sort of thread).

I will get the ball rolling with the following post

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 7 March 2012, 12:06 PM  
As an elite athlete, I have some issues with attitude towards high performance in NZ orienteering. I believe it is important, not just for the athletes representing NZ, but for the entire community as it has the potential to further the sport in NZ on many levels. If you look at some of the most successful federations, high performance is more often than not their main focus.

It would be fruitless to spout my opinions on all aspects of the current system at once, so I decided to try to give my thoughts on one issue that has currently been on my mind. The email I'm pasting below is one that I sent to the NZOF, and the national selectors earlier today about WOC/JWOC trials - please discuss:

To whom it may concern,

This gigantic email may be shared with the NZOF council and the NZ orienteering community, and I hope my proposition will be given serious consideration. This following paragraphs touch on an aspect that I think is likely to improve things for NZ's elite athletes, NZOF, and the NZ orienteering community alike. I'll post this to the Maptalk forum to see if anyone shares my opinion. There are always counter arguments for every idea, but from what I've seen it's a lot harder to bring about change even if the new idea has more merit than the old one i.e. it's very easy to just poke holes in an idea because it seems like it will involve some work. It would be encouraging to see positive action from the NZOF council in this matter. I'm sure the following would sound better if it was coming from someone that isn't an elite athlete, but I believe I am in a good position to see some opportunities for improvement that might not be so obvious to the NZOF council. The performance of our elite seniors and juniors should be of higher performance. Currently there is no direct reference to high performance as an object in the NZOF constitution, but high performance both nationally and internationally is a direct reflection of the success of our federation. For the NZ public, and orienteering community to see NZ orienteering athletes performing well on the world stage has, in my opinion, the most potential for ensuring the growth of the sport in NZ, both in numbers and financially. It has worked for other nations, why not for us? With better results in the high performance sector of our sport comes media interest, more money, bigger sponsors, recognition of orienteering as a sport, more affiliates to NZOF and so on and so forth. With more money, our federation and clubs can afford to make more maps of higher quality, further adding to the growth of the sport in NZ. Some outstanding results as of late (Lizzie Ingham, Angela Simpson) show that kiwi's have the potential to make it in the big leagues. These results come from a lot of hard work and discipline from the individuals, imagine what we can do with a little more support! (not necessarily financial support either).

After being in the NZ team for WOC since 2006 I have had a lot of time to see and think about the way things work throughout the orienteering world, especially in the high performance side of things, and the following is an important factor which I think is limiting NZ's capacity for achieving good results at WOC/JWOC etc. I think that the current trial process for World Championship events definitely needs some revision. I think that a simple recipe for success for a smaller orienteering nation such as ours is to mimic the more successful federations whenever it is feasible. Something as straight forward as changing our trial process of WOC/JWOC etc. can do a lot to improve the performances at said events.

What I suggest is that WOC trials in NZ should no longer (2013 --> ...) be held throughout the nationals weekend at Easter, but much much closer to WOC (this also applies to the current early timing of JWOC trials). For one thing it is unfair to have trials at the same time as NZ champs. It is a totally different style of orienteering to have a solid run in a trial race than to give it everything you have and take a few risks to win a national title. With the way things are now athletes are forced to make a choice as to which style they should use at nationals; which in most cases is a choice that goes unmade until the race starts, causing confusion, a lack of focus and consequently bad results.

There are many reasons (warning: I may digress whilst elaborating on these points) as to why the trials should be held much later. In most cases there were reasons in the past as to why the trials should be early, but now it makes sense to make some changes:
Flights used to be significantly cheaper to book really early on, but the fact is that now, unless you are booking a few days before, the prices fluctuate a bit but don't differ too much until a couple of weeks before the flight date.
Accommodation usually has to be booked well in advance so it was good to know the team early on, basically to see 'how many' would be going. Teams are now bigger. We are sending full teams to JWOC, and soon we will be sending full teams to WOC since Angela and Kate are moving up to elites and competitive orienteering in NZ continues to grow. This means that NZOF can decide for itself the 'how many' well in advance, and then fill the spaces after selection. A team manager and/or coach should be selected much earlier too. A lot of the official accommodation for WOC 2012 this year in Switzerland was already booked before WOC 2011 even took place. This puts NZ in the back-seat for accommodation choices when we are appointing a manager responsible for accommodation bookings a few months before WOC/JWOC. Currently NZOF fronts the cost of athlete accreditation at WOC, but if NZOF also books/pays for accommodation for WOC athletes one year in advance (like other federations), then there is a huge window of opportunity to find sponsorship or get money from trusts, which as I'm sure you're aware is a lot easier when there's evidence of costs incurred rather than quotes, or estimates. This will make WOC much more appealing to the large contingent of NZ orienteers who simply can't commit to going to WOC every year, because of the cost. There are a lot of these athletes that have/had huge potential to gain enough experience to make podium results over the years (Darren Ashmore / Karl Dravitski / Jamie Stewart to name a few) but have fallen into the cracks because it's simply too expensive. My point here is that by making some policy changes, there is a lot of things that NZOF can do to help elite athletes with little, or potentially, no financial cost to the federation.
Work or School/Uni is probably the hardest thing to work around, but I don't think athletes that are committed to orienteering at WOC or JWOC should need 3 or 4 months to organise some time off. If trials are held close to the date of departure, then anyone intending to make the team can surely request the time off (explaining that there's still trials to their employer/lecturers) and organise themselves for such a scenario in which they make the team. If they don't make the team, then it's not too difficult to continue with life as per usual.
Physical/Mental Condition changes a lot in 3 or 4 months (it can be for better or worse). The trials should be as close as possible to the date of departure for WOC/JWOC, then NZOF can ensure that we are sending the best possible team every time. If someone is named in the team months before the races, unfortunately in some cases (more often with juniors), athletes can become slack and ease off from training since they are already in the team. I also believe that having the trials close to JWOC/WOC will have a much more beneficial effect on the training and performance of the athletes. I think that having specific trial weekends close to the date of departure will make athletes much hungrier to make the team since the competitions are so close and easy to visualise and it will result in them training a lot harder throughout our orienteering season, where they get the chance to improve their orienteering skills at events and trainings. At the moment, trials are so early on in the season that everyone is a bit rusty and there's some athletes that will be performing much better than others at the time of WOC/JWOC that won't make the team. Also currently, if someone gets injured between the trials and WOC/JWOC, non-travelling reserves (if there are such a thing?) are likely to have already slacked off from training as well.
Athletes based in Europe also get the opportunity to get into the best possible orienteering condition before the trials if they are held later. Many of the European national teams have their WOC or WC trials in the same or relevant terrain much closer to the competition date. If the trials are held later in NZ, then European based NZ athletes can collaborate with other national teams to participate in their trial races. This will give relevant results that accurately display the NZ runners' physical and technical condition compared to other top international runners much closer to the important competition they are actually trialling for.
Having the trials later in the piece also gives the selectors a much wider scope of events from earlier in the NZ/European season to take into consideration during the selection process if an athlete is unable to participate in the trials due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances. Currently if an athlete is sick or one of their relatives died at the time of the trials, there are no recent relevant results that can be looked at for consideration for the team.

Trials should also always be held on terrain that is as relevant as possible to the terrain for WOC or JWOC and on a new or recently updated map enough to suit the trial courses in order to be fair. It doesn't have to be an A grade event, but should be of a similar standard. In my experience, the higher the standard of the event, the more luck is taken out of the equation, and luck is not really something that should come into play in a selection race. It is true that the best orienteers usually come out on top regardless of the terrain type, but apart from the top 2 or 3 elites, the terrain can make a huge difference on results - especially for the Woodhill junkies competing out of their comfort zone. Why do other federations hold their trial races in relevant terrain, or even terrain adjacent to the WOC/JWOC terrains? Because different orienteers thrive in different types of terrain, so it makes sense to select the athletes that will perform the best in similar terrain to WOC/JWOC.This year WOC trials are being held on terrain that is very dissimilar to the terrain that will be used at WOC. The sprint trial is the most relevant (as it has been in previous years) simply because sprint terrain differs the least around the globe. NZ's best results in the last few years have predominantly come from the sprint discipline. This is not because NZ has faster runners, it's because our athletes spend more time training and racing in semi-relevant sprint terrain than they do for long/middle/relay distance terrains. If our athletes are encouraged to train in, and prepare for trials in a terrain that is similar to that of WOC/JWOC, it stands to reason they will perform much better when they get their chance to compete at WOC/JWOC.

I hope this novella grabs the attention of some people in a position to bring about change. I'm not digging for another maptalk trolling contest, I am simply dreaming of a brighter future for NZ orienteering.

Please keep me posted, or CC'd in any conversations regarding this matter.

Thanks for your time.

Ross Morrison

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 7 March 2012, 12:25 PM  
wooops, **The performance of our elite seniors and juniors should be of higher performance** should read:

The performance of our elite seniors and juniors should be of higher importance.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 7 March 2012, 1:22 PM  
If you cbf'd to read that whole message, a long story short is that trials shouldn't be on nationals weekend, they should be much closer to WOC/JWOC to ensure that the right athletes peak at the right time. And team size should be pre-determined a year in advance in order to book accommodation/rental vehicles and acquire funding for that and for the team. By helping our elite athletes to achieve we can further the sport of orienteering in NZ, and open various avenues for funding and get some media attention. Changing some policies is the most simple way to make improvements - there's less work involved than finding and paying a coach, making new maps or increasing the high performance budget.

Show Profile  thomasr Posted: 7 March 2012, 7:07 PM  
My 5 cents. I have a couple of points.

1. I don't think high performance is as important to orienteering as you suggest. If growth is what we want then creating strong communities within our clubs that foster contribution and cooperation are far more important than facilitating European experiences for a select few.

2. The gap between what we have now and a true high performance program is HUGE. Over the last 3 weeks I have had a chance to see how the rowing high performance program functions. There is no way a small sport like orienteering could have even a few of the elements needed for the program to be truly successful like rowing.

3. I like early trials. For Uni and work I need to give lots of warning. For me, my timetable is set back in December the year before, and I need to be able to firm up well before the trip. Early trials also give lots of time to peak twice.

4. Media attention is not achieved by overseas results. A story about a superseries race in NZ gets as much coverage, if not more, on Sportzhub and the other electronic airwaves.

Basically, I disagree, I like the status quo. I think that to grow orienteering now personal responsibility and giving a little to the sport when you can is the way to do it.

Show Profile  DMjunior Posted: 7 March 2012, 9:22 PM  
The status quo is clearly not working so change is needed. Ross is actually suggesting something positive and ways to do it. At the moment too many people in NZ orienteering seem to just sit back and take the attitude that someone else will do it or that we can just keep rolling along how we are. This is not going to work. We will get left behind by other sports/hobbies and orienteering in NZ will suffer.

NZOF seems scared of change or spending. Its stuck in its ways and introduces policies that are ineffective and pointless. Do something rather than type up an email with a rule. For orienteering to grow we can't just sit around and hope something will happen.

For example this website. I do not by this crap that it has taken 3 years at least to make and sign off. That is bullshit. Yes there was some need for planning but this could be a job done in a much smaller time frame. At the moment where would possible new affiliates/sponsors look for NZ orienteering? An outdated, tired old website or Maptalk where everyone comes on to have a whinge. Its not good enough!
To grow the sport there is no one answer. Ross has made a suggestion which could be a piece in the jigsaw puzzle toward growing this sport that we love.
What Mike is doing in Auckland is tremendous. 500+ kids orienteering weekly is great for the sport. So why doesn't nzof dig into its pockets and give out some of that "well earned" levy money to someone in each region to try and replicate. Kids are where it happens. They bring mum and dad along, and after a couple times sitting in the car they have ago, then the week later the whole family is there.
There are also I am sure many other suggestions to help promote orienteering in NZ and grow the sport.
The problem is no one ever seems to listen or does anything about it.

You may say that I am the same, just ranting on Maptalk and expecting someone else to do it but that is not true.
I recently applied for the NZOF general manager position, I have served on the HBOC committee, I ran STB for 3 years as an event to promote orienteering in Hawkes Bay through action packed sprints as well as fill the orienteering void of summer, I am helping a struggling club (Taupo) with Katoa Po and as well as this I am training hard for (hopefully) JWOC in Slovakia.
I am no trying to talk myself up or anything, I am just making sure that people know that I am not just a whinger. I go and do things because I love orienteering and I want to see it prosper in NZ. I am just so frustrated how everything in NZ orienteering is made so difficult by policies and rules and people not wanting change or worried about stepping on other peoples toes. Just get out there and do it, thats the only way things get done.
The only way Orienteering in NZ will have a brighter future is if the powers at be do something and change something because right now its very average.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 8 March 2012, 1:46 AM  

I have the feeling that if I said vitasport was good that you'd disagree with me.

I find your opinion very strange coming from an elite orienteer that is responsible for the NZ super-series - basically the high performance sector of our sport within NZ. If high performance is not so important, then why are you playing this role? What is the point of having an NZ superseries? I thought it was created to increase high performance in NZ by creating more internal competition in order for our athletes to achieve better results internationally, not just a way to pass the time. I am simply suggesting another way to improve our chances.

If we prioritse the personal lives of our elite athletes over over high performance, i.e. making trials earlier on in order to make life easier on them with regards to getting time off, then we will never make any progress.

Rowing is hardly comparable to orienteering. It is an olympic sport which is also one of the 9 sports directly supported by high performance sport in NZ. They receive a fairly large chunk of the annual $60 million funding budget. The reason they get so much support now is also because of their high performance results, and this doesn't include the money they bring in from sponsors. Of course we can't match their high performance program at the moment, but if we want to be like them we have to start somewhere. Sticking with the status quo won't get us anywhere. As Duncan pointed out, some other sport willing to make changes will trample all over us.
The main problem is, as usual, money.

I agree with you that personal contributions in our clubs and other orienteering communities are important, but who is in charge of 'fostering' these contributions? I have seen a lot of contributions, and a lot of hard work going into our sport in my 21 years of orienteering, but these individuals are not at all fostered. They work hard until they get tired of it all. They rarely get thanks and eventually get sick of the club/federation politics and anti-change until they can't stomach it anymore. I have loyally ran for HBOC my whole life, because they are one of the best clubs for innovation and the furthering of the sport. I have seen the club grow to more than 5 times the size of what it was when I began. However, apart from a few technological advancements which mostly come from other countries, the sport is still pretty close to where it was 21 years ago. If the number of orienteers in NZ doubles, then the NZOF anual budget almost doubles, by making personal contributions in clubs and fostering the development on a lower level it will still take a very long time to double the amount of orienteers in NZ. Currently the NZOF budget is very small. There is insufficient funds to make any significant positive changes in NZ orienteering. Even if the population of orienteers doubles or quadruples in the next umpteen years, we still won't have enough money to do anything truly productive.

Even in countries where orienteering is much more developed, the majority of the money doesn't come from affilates to the federation, or from the goverment, the olympic committee or national high performance organisations. It comes from sponsors, who sponsor the federation directly and the clubs. Sponsors won't want to support a federation or club that doesn't achieve results, or put any weight on high performance. The money brought in from these sponsors is much much more than is ever spent on the high performance sector of the sport, most of it is invested in further devoloping the sport in that country.

In one of the latest Suunistaja magazines (Finnish orienteering magazine) an Australian based Fin did an analysis of the anual budget of Australia compared to that of Finland. The Finnish Orienteering Federation last year had an annual budjet of 2.253 million euros, whereas the Australian Orienteering Federation had a budjet of 0.252 million euros (and NZ's budget is only a fraction of that). The Finnish budget is 10 times that of Australia, even though the number of orienteers is only 4 times as much. Finland has a very big commitment to high performance and have achieved many top results, the majority of the money comes from the government, but they also have a lot of major sponsors, both at the club level and the federation itself. They also make a lot of money from organising a lot of events, which is another thing NZ desperately needs. NZ has the climate where it's possible to have events throughout the whole year. This gives clubs the opportunity to make a lot of money. The events don't necessarily have to be orienteering either. A properly organised fun-run had the potential to generate more profit than hosting a national championships.

If NZOF were able to nuture our high performance athletes to get some results in order to bring on board even one major sponsor, the funding from that sponsor alone would easily outweigh the money coming in from increasing the amount of orienteers in NZ.

I think it's unfair to say that media attention is not achieved by overseas results, when we have never had a WOC or JWOC medalist. Something of that nature has the potential to reach the sports news or campbell live and get a decent write up in the sports section of national newspapers.

It's a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. We either have to get a lot of money from somewhere, to help our athletes achieve great results in order to make more money, or we have to find another way to help our athletes achieve great results in order to get some money. It's a question of 'which comes first' and I don't like our chances of finding an anonymous billionaire benefactor, so we have to make things happen ourselves. People don't like work, or change, but if we don't do either, we won't go anywhere. Putting more importance on trials by making a few policy changes and making them more relevant to WOC/JWOC, puts more importance on high performance without spending as much money as just trying to financially support the individual athletes. It encourages elite orienteers to perform better throughout the whole season, rather than just building up to Nationals or JWOC trials then focusing on a distant WOC/JWOC.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 8 March 2012, 2:55 AM  
*budget *budget

Show Profile  H Posted: 8 March 2012, 5:54 AM  
I think like so often people are looking for a quick remedy. As Ross is pointing out for the sport to grow it is going to take sustained effort and I also believe results in the international arena. To me orienteering is more aligned with the journey of triathlon (not rowing). Once upon a time triathlon was irrelevant and hidden in the back corners of our sporting world. Now after sponsorship and success the sport has grown so that our elites are supported, to a point, and there are events to suit every imaginable fitness level in our population. The nature of orienteering, I believe, blends itself to covering this huge population field also. With numbers comes support from sponsors.

I don't agree Ross with your comment about those selected slacking off on training after selection. My fear is that the opposite occurs and we have, especially juniors, burning themselves out before travelling overseas. The desire to do well in all of them is immense, and to then get to the world stage and have things not go as well due to exhaustion is heartbreaking - you see it on their faces.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 8 March 2012, 6:43 AM  
Ok, some discussion, good to see some passion. I will try and abide by the Rocketmans rules.

Idea: Lets have late trials in Europe in relevant terrain.

Some more pros...someone else can outline the negatives...

- It is arguably more important for an HP athlete to commit to "time in Europe" rather than participation in JWOC/WOC in a given year (although parents/supporters may not think the same).

- Overseas based athletes will be encouraged/able to trial. Aaron Prince/Neil Kerrison/Rocketman/Matt Ogden when it happens.

Idea: Recognition/Support for High Performance groups.

We have failed overtime to develop a successful "model" for High Performance Orienteering. Money has been spent largely on WOC and paying a High Performance Director. Would it be possible to have a small pool of money that supports groups in cities that have a proven record of HP...this may include regular training, involving students in their town, special skills base (eg Mike "physical", Matt "course setting"). If there is one thing I have learnt, and felt I have missed out on most of the time, in Elite orienteering , it is that groups achieve more than individuals.

Idea: New focus for NZOF on supporting our leaders/workers

I am reluctant to mention NZOF at all, as I know its struggles and reliance on a few people. I have put many ideas out over the years for different strategic priorities, as have others. But one I haven't heard before is related to Duncan's observation about supporting people. Should one of the NZOF's priorities be to identify the key people in clubs/specific skill areas and look at how they can be supported?/skills transitioned. A skill profile of individuals within a club could be a useful tool to predict club resilience.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 8 March 2012, 7:55 AM  
Yo Jamie, love the positivity, I won't have to cry myself to sleep tonight

I really like the idea of the skill profiling. I'm sure there are a lot of cases where there are very talented individuals within clubs that are overlooked, but would be more than willing to participate in development projects. For instance, there has to be at least a few decent web-designers/graphic artists/programmers out there that could take on a project like such as a new NZOF website, but their skill-sets can't be utilised if no-one takes an interest or approaches them about it. Also someone like Phillip Herries from HBOC, the man who has single handedly developed his own radio control system to work with sport-ident and also the software to go with it, is definitely the sort of mind you want around if you're aiming to develop orienteering.

If these select individuals are recognised and rated on their ability to further the sport in NZ (this could even include top athletes such as Lizzie and Angela who have the potential to get medals at WOC in the near future), then find a way to give them support and direction for developing the sport such as projects, coaching, funding etc. Then I think we can expect to see some amazing advancements. Orienteering will continue to grow, but it's up to us to decide how quickly and I'd rather not be an ancient old man when we start to see progress.

@H, yes you're right about athletes burning our before WOC/JWOC, that happens too, but I've also seen my share of the slacking off side of things. Either way, having so much time between trials and the competitions means there is more change of things turning to custard for our athletes. I also agree with the triathlon analogy, if they made the rise to power then orienteering surely has the same potential.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 8 March 2012, 8:01 AM  
*out *chance

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 8 March 2012, 6:12 PM  
Nice to see some passionate ideas being argued. We don't seem to have another good place to do this. The AGM is essentially a short set piece, and by its representative nature only hears one-way views on narrow pre-set topics. The strategic planning meetings are too far apart, and their usefulness can be judged from the number of times the plan is consulted between-times.

I'll follow with interest. So far...

1. Ross, you kid yourself by saying that high performance success drives everything else. It can also be argued that the width of the base of the pyramid determines the height of the peak. And obviously lots of things in the middle of the pyramid are important too. But you should keep on with your mission, because the pursuit of high performance is worthy in itself and I wish you well.

2. There's no need for this to be the only thread for ideas to improve orienteering in New Zealand. Putting other ideas in other threads would be better I think.

3. Your Vitasport comment looks like sledging to me. See ground rule 2.

4. 2000-word posts, whew! I can handle shorter ones better.

Show Profile  Martin Posted: 8 March 2012, 7:45 PM  
I've taken a different approach of late to grow orienteering in NZ, focusing my efforts at grass-roots level within the club and local secondary schools - the future of our sport.

We (Counties Manukau) have had huge success in getting grass-roots orienteering in schools off the ground over the past three years. With an $80k investment from Sport NZ, it is probably one of the most significant developments I know of and has led to a large increase in kids running around with maps. It has enabled us to run two weeknight sprint events in schools and participation numbers (of both schools and competitors) are soaring.

The great thing is that KiwiSport is a nation wide initiative, so what we are doing can be replicated across the country - Brian, Robbie or I can give you more information if you want.

Another Sport NZ initiative that I'd like to promote is CoachCorp, where employers sign up and give staff the opportunity to take time out/flexi-time to coach/manage/officiate sport in schools and clubs.
Beca has been awesome - without that sort of support I wouldn't be able to commit the same amount of time to orienteering initiatives.

Both of these have huge potential to assist us in stepping into a bright future.

For those in Auckland (or futher abroad), look out for a fundraising event for our juniors on Anzac Day at Barry Curtis Park. It will be orienteering as you've never seen it (in NZ) before, with some awesome ideas I found in London.

Show Profile  rossmaxmo Posted: 9 March 2012, 12:51 AM  

I am not saying that high performance drives everything else, just simply that it is of more importance than most seem to think, and it's a side of the sport that's given the least attention in NZ. As I've mentioned there are always people, such as yourself, working hard at the base of the pyramid whom I commend and have great respect for. But using your analogy, if you keep nursing the base of the pyramid, it will just end up being a pyramid with an ass like J.Lo. - If I thought that high performance was the only way to further the sport I wouldn't have created this thread and asked for ideas. You can come up with a lot of analogies for orienteering development, but there's no single recipe for success. The effort has to be put in on all levels, I think by just focussing on one area the whole time the sport can grow, but it will grow disproportionately.

As for the vitasport comment, I guess I broke my own rules, but if it were a sledging contest I could do much better, I learnt from the best.


This sounds really good, I'd only heard whispers so far, keep up the good work!

Show Profile  mcroxford Posted: 9 March 2012, 8:59 PM  
@Martin. Wow. $80k in funding to one club to develop a schools programme! Fantastic! Imagine if the NZOF got this funding as well. It would kick-start significant work nationally.

There seems to be too much regionalism in this sport. Each club trying to reinvent the wheel. If only we could create a forum for best practice and sharing such amazing creativity that we kiwis do so well. How did CM get such a fantastic schools programme together? How did HB become the stronghold in the sport and the origin of such innovation? Why do some clubs suddenly stutter and fold? We collectively know why but each club doesn't. How do we create a community of volunteers that identify and share best practice for the sport? Hmmm.... Too many questions and no answers for you, but I would hazard a guess that the only time we orienteers from around the country get together is when we compete and not for workshops on best practice or sharing ideas. Perhaps we could think of a first national conference on the development of the sport with workshops on developing schools programmes, accessing funding, managing volunteers, coaching, high performance and attracting and retaining members. Perhaps the NZOF could seek funding for the conference/workshop and each club gets funding to send 2 delegates plus selected guest speakers. Would NZSport fund this?

I'll stop waffling...

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