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ItsBrian

Teaching Orienteering

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My troop’s monthly theme is orienteering since we have a trip coming up in March and will be doing a orienteering course.

Im looking for some ways / curious how your Troop would teach orienteering in a basement while making it “fun”. 

We could go outside in the picnic area/grove our CO has but it’s poorly lit so you wouldn’t be able to see anything. (Daylight savings ruins all of my plans...)

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13 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

My troop’s monthly theme is orienteering since we have a trip coming up in March and will be doing a orienteering course.

Im looking for some ways / curious how your Troop would teach orienteering in a basement while making it “fun”. 

We could go outside in the picnic area/grove our CO has but it’s poorly lit so you wouldn’t be able to see anything. (Daylight savings ruins all of my plans...)

Here's what our PLC did a few months back:

  • First meeting was the parts of a compass and basics of map reading. They had a game called Orienteering Baseball, where patrols played each other by answering map and compass questions of different value (some were "singles", some "doubles", some "home runs"). Like First Aid baseball only with navigation questions.
     
  • Second meeting of the month was more advanced map reading. They learned about UTM and magnetic declination. We got several large topo maps of Philmont and made up treks. Patrols had to navigate from various points, get water, resupply and get back to base camp. It was a timed game and they had to record direction of travel, bearing and distance. Extra points for elevation gained and lost.
     
  • Third meeting was a night-time orienteering activity in a local park. Everyone had headlamps and compasses. The Venturing Crew built the course. There were six different "treks" so no patrol had the same path. There were 16 "waypoints" assigned in the park (e.g., A, B, C, and so on). Patrol #1 might have to navigate from A to C to F to G, etc., Patrol #2 might have B to A to F to C. Each patrol had 5-6 waypoints. The waypoints were marked by soccer corner flags with glow sticks. Each patrol was given a sheet of paper with their "trek" waypoints noting distance and bearing; this way they could shoot the bearing and hike the distance even in the dark. The course requires some previous set up in order to note bearing and distances between the waypoints. You also need to get one "pace setter" from each patrol and mark off their # of step per 100 feet prior to letting the patrols on the course.
     
  • The last meeting of the month was held at another park. There we did something similar to the third meeting BUT we had pizzas hidden at various way points. Those way points were guarded by ASMs or JASMs so the critters in the park would not make off with the pizzas until the patrols got them.

This was so popular that the incoming PLC has elected to do this again next month!!

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1 minute ago, AVTech said:

Headlamps make so many activities much more fun...

 

I actually do agree, even if you were joking. But trying to explain for the first time in a while wouldn’t be the best. 

You did give me a idea though. :laugh: When they get more use to using a compass, have them use it in the dark with only a headlamp and map. I’ll set up just a simple 100ft course.

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2 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

Here's what our PLC did a few months back:

  • First meeting was the parts of a compass and basics of map reading. They had a game called Orienteering Baseball, where patrols played each other by answering map and compass questions of different value (some were "singles", some "doubles", some "home runs"). Like First Aid baseball only with navigation questions.
     
  • Second meeting of the month was more advanced map reading. They learned about UTM and magnetic declination. We got several large topo maps of Philmont and made up treks. Patrols had to navigate from various points, get water, resupply and get back to base camp. It was a timed game and they had to record direction of travel, bearing and distance. Extra points for elevation gained and lost.
     
  • Third meeting was a night-time orienteering activity in a local park. Everyone had headlamps and compasses. The Venturing Crew built the course. There were six different "treks" so no patrol had the same path. There were 16 "waypoints" assigned in the park (e.g., A, B, C, and so on). Patrol #1 might have to navigate from A to C to F to G, etc., Patrol #2 might have B to A to F to C. Each patrol had 5-6 waypoints. The waypoints were marked by soccer corner flags with glow sticks. Each patrol was given a sheet of paper with their "trek" waypoints noting distance and bearing; this way they could shoot the bearing and hike the distance even in the dark. The course requires some previous set up in order to note bearing and distances between the waypoints. You also need to get one "pace setter" from each patrol and mark off their # of step per 100 feet prior to letting the patrols on the course.
     
  • The last meeting of the month was held at another park. There we did something similar to the third meeting BUT we had pizzas hidden at various way points. Those way points were guarded by ASMs or JASMs so the critters in the park would not make off with the pizzas until the patrols got them.

This was so popular that the incoming PLC has elected to do this again next month!!

I’ll be stealing some of these. I really like the baseball one, I’ll be doing that tonight :) 

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Wasn't joking. Do the basic instructions inside, then everyone grabs their headlamps and heads out to do a course.

 

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Just now, ItsBrian said:

I’ll be stealing some of these. I really like the baseball one, I’ll be doing that tonight :) 

I doubt any of this is new. I recall doing this when I was a Scout. The pizzas may be new...well, at least different. It's a bit like geocaching but rather with an edible stash. 

Try this site and this site if you don't already have it. It is a collection of all the Troop Program Resources and Troop Program Features books that BSA puts out. They are literally "meetings in a box" for PLCs.

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27 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

I doubt any of this is new. I recall doing this when I was a Scout. The pizzas may be new...well, at least different. It's a bit like geocaching but rather with an edible stash. 

Try this site and this site if you don't already have it. It is a collection of all the Troop Program Resources and Troop Program Features books that BSA puts out. They are literally "meetings in a box" for PLCs.

I’ve looked at those, but some of them are either too difficult for a small troop, require supplies (which we don’t have money for), or a space that we can’t provide this time of year. 

Also when they say go on a camping trip X meeting, we can’t always make it that time.

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38 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

Here's what our PLC did a few months back:

  • First meeting was the parts of a compass and basics of map reading. They had a game called Orienteering Baseball, where patrols played each other by answering map and compass questions of different value (some were "singles", some "doubles", some "home runs"). Like First Aid baseball only with navigation questions.

Do you happen to have the questions for the orienteering baseball? 

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28 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

Do you happen to have the questions for the orienteering baseball? 

LMC and I will get back to you.

EDIT: Had a look and couldn't find them. Have asked the Librarian and JASMs to have a look in our online archive. In the meantime, try this.

Edited by Col. Flagg
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Want to be despised, yet loved? Try "tortured soul":

I'd say make your course 5 points on the edges of your grounds. That's 20 possible headings (four from each control to any of the next).

At night, you could set up strobes/glowsticks and drop decoys. Be sure to leave time for clean-up.

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59 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

LMC and I will get back to you.

EDIT: Had a look and couldn't find them. Have asked the Librarian and JASMs to have a look in our online archive. In the meantime, try this.

Looking at some questions, how did your new scouts know the answers if they were not taught yet?

I feel like mine wouldn’t know most of it.

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I don't really see the night as a hindrance at all.... we did it at night in the cub scouts....although that was a very simple level....

Still, I think the darkness reduces the chances of sneaking with the eyeball to find a small waypoint marker.

When i was searching for it back for the cubs, I found lots of really great ideas for scavenger hunt type things using a compass..... the clues for the next waypoint would be hidden at the waypoint you're trying to find like in a baloon....but there would be lots of decoy balloons with bad clues inside so you couldn't just find it by eye.  For the cubs, I believe we just used a small marker, like a coin I think....

Lots of great ideas out there.

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7 minutes ago, blw2 said:

I don't really see the night as a hindrance at all.... we did it at night in the cub scouts....although that was a very simple level....

Still, I think the darkness reduces the chances of sneaking with the eyeball to find a small waypoint marker.

When i was searching for it back for the cubs, I found lots of really great ideas for scavenger hunt type things using a compass..... the clues for the next waypoint would be hidden at the waypoint you're trying to find like in a baloon....but there would be lots of decoy balloons with bad clues inside so you couldn't just find it by eye.  For the cubs, I believe we just used a small marker, like a coin I think....

Lots of great ideas out there.

The picnic area is a rectangle, basically a open gated field area. It’s not big at all.

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19 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

Looking at some questions, how did your new scouts know the answers if they were not taught yet?

I feel like mine wouldn’t know most of it.

You have to tailor the questions to what you are teaching. I would recommend this:

  • Figure out what you want to teach (e.g., parts of a compass, basic navigation terms and symbols, etc.).
  • Develop how you are going to teach each thing (e.g., map reading game, presentation, etc.).
  • Once you know what and how you will teach things, think up questions.

One thing I learned as a soccer coach a long time ago, when you develop a drill/game for your players it should always allow those of varying skills to learn something, AND you should be able to adjust the drill/game based on one's ability. That means you need something you can add to the existing game that will challenge those guys who "get it" early. For example, if guys have no problem finding whether something is uphill or downhill on a topographic map, have them calculate the elevation gained and lost.

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