How and whether to prepare girl scouts before orienteering? : LUSENET : orienteer kansas : One Thread

I thought this post was interesting and deserved to be its own question. Robin posted:
Thanks for all the info, everyone. The girl scout councils down there didn't have anything available the weekend of Dec 4, but I think we may be able to get into a heated cabin at a YMCA camp that is near Lawrence. If we get it, we'll be a go for the weekend.

I'm going to take my 2 kids down for the compass clinic and event the weekend of Oct 23 and 24. I'll get an idea then how to prepare my troop for things. Any ideas on how and whether to prepare the girls in my troop ahead of time.

-- Robin Graham (, September 28, 1999.

So, any suggestions on how and whether to prepare the girls in the troop ahead of time?

-- Michael Eglinski (, September 29, 1999


I am sure that some advanced preparation would be good.

You could get some orienteering maps, look at them, and talk about the symbols. You could explain what the different symbols mean: yellow is "open areas," blue is water features, black dashed lines are trails, and so on.

It would also be good to get maps with beginner courses on them and talk about how you would do the course. You could probably use the courses from the October 23/24 weekend as examples.

-- Michael Eglinski (, September 29, 1999.

I taught a mini class to sixth graders a few years back. The first two days of about an hour each time were spent indoors. I spoke of the concept of making a map and how the map will always be changing, then explored (as Mike suggests) what the different symbols on a map mean. A way to give this more impact was to talk about making a map of an indoor area. (I did this of an large indoor area used for showing movies.) When we were done making the map, I then had a mini-event in that room using little markers that I had previously set out. I think Gene did this once in a room of the Student Union at KU, also. Another, more advanced skill to practice might be to follow a compass heading. I advocate simply using the north arrow of the compass to keep the map oriented and having this skill well in place before trying to understand and practice taking compass bearings. I've seen compass games where, in a small outdoor area, teams will try to pace out a number of consecutive compass bearings, then see how close they come to the correct spot. For example, from a start, go 100 meters @ 35 degrees, then 50 meters @ 255 degrees and so on. This also brings up the possibility of practicing pace counting and map scale, so that the girls would have an idea of how many paces each can expect to take them 100 meters, and how far this is on the map. But the most important for me was to make the concepts easy and fun. If I found that I was going over the heads of the kids I was working with, I quickly moved back to an easier concept. I was amazed at how simple and easy orienteering can be presented, with a little thought to what was truly essential (knowing how to read the simpler features on a map) and adding the extras only when the kids seemed ready (pace counting, compass bearings, etc.) Finally, I believe strongly that a good way to teach is to do the exercises with the kids. Too often orienteering is taught in a brief talk and then people are sent out on their own to survive with what they've retained. I have found it is much more fun, especially for those who are still somewhat unsure, to tag along and share how I might go about finding the next control. After a few markers, I gradually step back at just offer my services as a backup in case of a mistake.


-- Fritz Menninger (, September 30, 1999.

Thanks, guys.

We have arranged the Dec 4 and 5 trip if all goes well. Another girl scout leader and I are taking our own kids down to KC next weekend for the Saturday Compass and Map clinic at Burr Oak Woods and the Sunday PTOC event at Fleming Park. I'll be sure to try to pick up some extra copies of the maps to go over with my troop. I'll also see how 4 kids (ages 8 - 11) do with things during the weekend.

My troop has done some of the compass games with headings and then seeing if you get back to your spot. We haven't tried pacing yet, 'cause I'm not really sure how to approach that on uneven terrain. I'm hoping to pick up some hints next week.

Am I right to estimate that Lawrence is about 60 - 65 miles from the Blue and Gray Park? We'll be staying at YMCA Camp Hammond, near Lawrence, Saturday night and plan to drive over for the Dec 5 event. My co-leader and I are starting to estimate driving distances and times. We'll be driving back up to Omaha Sunday evening. How long do the beginner courses take? I looked over some of the results of your recent meet and saw some speedy times for what I assume is a much longer course. I doubt if we'll be running, though!

-- Robin Graham (, October 14, 1999.

We haven't tried pacing yet, 'cause I'm not really sure how to approach that on uneven terrain. I'm hoping to pick up some hints next week.

I am sure the clinic will include some discussion of pace counting. Pacing can be useful, but it is not a necessary skill. In other words, there are times when it can come in handy, but you can definitely finish a course (and be a very good orienteer) without pacing.

Am I right to estimate that Lawrence is about 60 - 65 miles from the Blue and Gray Park?

That sounds about right to me.

How long do the beginner courses take?

Usually it shouldn't take more than an hour. If you've been to the clinic the day before, you shouldn't really have much trouble finishing in an hour.

Good luck.

-- Michael Eglinski (, October 15, 1999.

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