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Tweet Friday 20th October 2017

Overview of this year’s Association Club Conference

Liz Goodwin, Administrative Assistant signing delegates in on arrival.

39 representatives from Clubs and Associations navigated their way from throughout the UK to The Studio in Leeds to attend British Orienteering’s Club and Association Conference last Saturday on 14 October 2017. 

With delegates helping themselves to tea and coffee on arrival, Judith Holt, British Orienteering Chair proceeded to open the conference with a warm welcome to everyone attending this year’s conference. 

The theme of this year’s conference was focused on exploring how Clubs, Associations and the Board, steering groups and staff of British Orienteering can best work together to implement the participation and competition aspects of the Strategic Plan.

Judith Holt opening the conference with a warm welcome.
Judith presenting an overview of British Orienteering’s Strategic Plan.

The Conference ran as a forum with the opportunity for clubs and associations to better understand the strategy and contribute their views and thoughts on the future of orienteering competitions. Delegates were asked to think about actions and activities which should take us through the next 2-3 years moving us towards longer-term goals.

Delegates are asked for their views on actions and activities.

A summary of priorities of the Strategic Plan Objectives were then discussed and the following highlighted:

  • RETAIN – practices currently taking place and which should continue to do so
  • MODIFY – changes to existing practices that will better help meet strategic objectives
  • NEW – new actions not currently taking place.

The Conference then went on to discuss Local Competition.

Craig Anthony, Head of Development presented the room with some interesting statistics about local competition.

  • Local events make up 80% of all events
  • 30% of members have not participated at regional level or above
  • 55% of respondents say they would go orienteering more often if events or activities were closer to home or work
  •  55% of respondents say they would go orienteering more often if there were more regular events and activities

Are you a local orienteer?  Discussion groups then took place and delegates were asked to think about how we can better design local orienteering to meet the needs of local orienteers. Interesting discussions followed and each group presented their views.

Please note: All feedback collected from this session and throughout the day will be collated and made available on the website shortly.

Craig went on to introduce and welcome Roger Dillion, Brand Owner of the Sporteeering APP.

Roger went on to present an overview of how the Sporteering APP powered by Polaris Bikewear had been developed over the last 2 years and how it is split into 2 parts; a Phone APP working on iOS and Android and a Planning Portal which is web-based and works on any web-enabled device.

Roger went to explain that the Phone APP concept creates a scoring and timing system that records location. The 2 methods for recording position are done by scanning a prepositioned the QR code and by taking the current GPS location. 

As Technology advances there are greater opportunities to use this type of application and can be used to fit into orienteering.

Roger went on to say that there currently approximately 700 fixed or permanent courses throughout the UK managed by local Orienteering clubs. Some are used a little and some a lot. However, how do we know? If the courses were digitised on the Sporteering™ Platform then a steady stream of data will flow in, for example, age, gender, time of year. Also, if a control goes missing it could be seen by its lack of use. The APP can also be used to drive income streams to the clubs and the sites that adopt them. With access to user data, better courses can be created perhaps in more accessible areas – “Urban adventure trails” or inner-city parks.

Judith thanked Roger for presenting the conference with some definite ‘food for thought’. 

Judith then brought everyone’s attention to section 2.3 of the Strategic Plan and the objective to “Ensure competitions are available for competitors of all abilities in a simple to understand hierarchy.” 

Delegates were then asked to work in groups and discussed the following questions:

The conference then moved on to discuss developing Event Volunteers.

Judith Holt, Chair or British Orienteering, said: “It was good to hear members from different clubs and associations sharing ideas. The Club and Association Conference is an important annual opportunity for members, staff and directors to share ideas. We should be starting to think about our 2018 conference now, so if you have any suggestions please let us have them now and send to  Suggestion will be equally welcome whether you attended the conference or not.”

A full set of presentation slides from this year’s conference are available here.  Notes from Local Competition discussions are here, feedback from Competition for the Established Orienteer can be found here and notes from the Developing Event Volunteers discussions here.

British Orienteering would like to say thank you to all who attended this year’s conference and for spending time contributing to the discussions focused on the theme of Competition within the Strategic Plan.

In the meantime, please send all suggestions for the 2018 Association and Club Conference to or post to British Orienteering, National Office, Scholes Mill, Old Coach Road, Tansley, Matlock. DE4 5FY.

If you would like to find out more about the Sporteering APP please contact National Office at who will be able to put you in touch with Roger Dillon.