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Juniors Denied Training Opportunities by Their Own Clubs

Show Profile  GeneO Posted: 13 December 2014, 10:45 AM  
This saddens me greatly...

As part of my roll as head coach for D Squad Camp this year, I tried to start an extra movement for D Squad athletes to get some more orienteering training by utilising the maps available in their respective areas - something that AOTC has been doing in Auckland since 2010.

These top junior athletes who are trying to succeed in our sport were not given the maps to set training on and subsequently no training transpired. What a slap in the face.

Am I missing something or do these clubs need to change their attitude?

Show Profile  DMjunior Posted: 14 December 2014, 3:16 AM  
You are missing something.

Unfortunately Gene it is not so easy for clubs outside of Auckland to provide maps for training due to sensitivity surrounding landowner permission and limited resources. All clubs are not as lucky to have the easily accessible Woodhill and other forest for use. For example our clubs maps are largely owned privately and the maps that we would like to train on the most need to be pragmatically managed to ensure the owners don't get sick of people always on their land. Also, as we are not as fortunate to have high quality areas the nicest terrain needs to be saved for bigger events.

I know that it is difficult sometimes to get training but I am sure that clubs are not conspiring against juniors to prevent them training. Maps are clubs biggest assets so need to be managed appropriately.

Show Profile  GeneO Posted: 14 December 2014, 5:23 AM  
There are definitely many maps fitting into this category, but not all. There are many maps in public areas that have no landowner issues and many technically private forests where there will be no landowner issues.

If someone does wish to take the harder approach and ask to use a private farm for example then the club should be at least trying to help them. Progress will come from proactivity and good communication, not applying blanket rules.

If a map is to be saved for a big event, embargo the area. I know that clubs have more half descent maps than big events.

I don't think club's are conspiring against their own members but I do think they are denying their member's opportunities (through inactivity or otherwise) and I see no one working to improve the situation. Please correct me if I'm wrong - I would be interested to here about someone trying to provide training but failing.

Show Profile  rhigham Posted: 15 December 2014, 2:04 AM  
What maps are you specifically talking about?
I feel your frustration.
As someone who has bent over backwards to help, I can explain the specifics regarding access. No hidden agendas, wanting to help in anyway I can, but thwarted by corporate c.... to which we must pander to. Our relationship with landowners is a biggest asset, so we must tread very carefully.

Show Profile  DMjunior Posted: 15 December 2014, 5:58 AM  
I like to get on a map to go training as much as the next guy and I have experienced the same frustration as you are feeling on behalf of your trainees. All I was doing in my above post was outlining the challenges MY club faces.

I don't know of these blanket rules you speak of but I know that's not really the best way to describe them in HB. We have just the one forest that is kinda available to train in without much hassle - the only thing is it has boob high blackberry and hills so steep even goats don't like it there.

Clubs relationships with private landowners are very delicate - for example the HBOC no longer has access to its best map "The Slump" due to the World Cup. Unfortunately the farmer deemed the place to be in too much of a mess after this competition (although many of the club organizers are confident this wasn't the case). It just shows how quickly an investment of around $8,000 can go up in smoke. This is why some clubs who are heavily reliant on private landowners good faith are quite protective of their assets and careful when training is proposed.

I know that our club is supportive of junior training and if the right process is followed I am positive that training can be facilitated.

Perhaps you can give specific examples you encountered where "juniors have been denied training opportunities by their own clubs" so these can be discussed and perhaps a solution can be achieved. It may well be a simple breakdown of communication that can be easily resolved so these juniors can get out onto a map asap!

Show Profile  GeneO Posted: 15 December 2014, 2:46 PM  
Certain areas without forests definitely face a bigger problem and it looks like Hawkes Bay may be short out of luck in that regard, but I know there are many great sprint maps in Hawkes Bay with no access problems. Why were these not offered to a certain athlete? And if you can set events in said forest, then people can train in it. (Do events still get run in this forest?)

I expect the athlete from Taranaki was caught in a similar situation. I can recall 3 maps in Taranaki that are public access and I have only every been there twice.

As for those in Christchurch... Plenty of forest there, plenty of public access. Even some nice private forest that perhaps a friendly landowner would allow a few people to run in.

I would love to hear from different places around NZ! And yes, lets keep this focused on finding a solution!

Show Profile  Jenni Posted: 16 December 2014, 10:01 AM  
I have no idea of the background behind this but as far as the public maps in Christchurch go (Vic Park, Bottle lake, Woodend, Leithfield coastal strip) we have over the years organised probably more than 100 informal trainings in them. PAPO has completely supported us in doing so. I would be surprised if this has changed. I can imagine that the club is more protective of new maps that are planned to be used for a championship (basically the map is embargoed ahead of the competitions which is fair enough). Maps like Dalethorpe and Acheron require landowner negotiation and the club has supported me in doing this whenever I have suggested a training there. Others areas like Flock Hill are a landowner minefield and so fair enough that trainings there need to be organised by PAPO (and they are...)

Show Profile  GeneO Posted: 16 December 2014, 10:46 AM  
Seems legit. Maybe something lost in translation on that one.

Show Profile  RSmith Posted: 16 December 2014, 2:38 PM  
PAPO has recently passed a members map use policy (which was put to the committee by Nick S) to clarify the situation. Basically any map that is on public access land is available to juniors (and even seniors) who are PAPO members. For reference, the link to the policy is

Show Profile  Jane H Posted: 17 December 2014, 12:02 AM  
PAPO's policy is equal to HBOC's unwritten policy. Also we have a Student Rep on our committee giving juniors a channel to be heard at committee meetings. We have not heard any complaints from juniors re allowing maps for training.




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