Pendle Forest Orienteers celebrate the success of their newcomer initiative.
27 participants enjoyed yet another sunny morning challenge, orienteering their way around a choice of Orange or Score courses in Towneley Park, Burnley. This was the last in a new introductory series of activities held at the same park over four weeks, which saw consistent numbers turning out each week.
Aimed specifically at introducing the sport to new people, the project broke away from the norm of school holidays, weekends or evenings and took place every Tuesday morning having adapted an idea from the local tennis club. With an already very successful and regular club night, which sees good numbers of juniors attending, this project specifically targeted adults of any age.
The project got started in week one with a yellow course, week two saw yellow and orange courses offered, with a light green added in week three. Using pin punching and not timing those taking part, the focus was on fun, learning, experience and coaching.
The fourth week simulated a traditional event, using SI timing with dibbers. The 45-minute time limit for the Score event added an extra dimension and appreciation of how events run which was enthusiastically received by those taking part.
Judith Wood Chair of Pendle Forest Orienteers said;
“This idea came from one of our development meetings to investigate how we could grow the membership. As a new project, taking place during the week, there were some nerves at first as to if this would work. But we stuck to it and the end results have been fantastic.”
“Those who took part ranged in experience from complete novices, experienced fell runners through to lapsed orienteers. We even saw some of the children from the local home-schooling network attend which was a surprising bonus. Everyone enjoyed the challenge and most participants said they hoped to attend other Orienteering events over the coming months.”
“The excellent weather throughout this series has obviously helped and made the event quite a social affair with plenty of time to sit about, chat and enjoy tea or coffee from the Stables café.”
“It was re-assuring that the same, now familiar, faces turned up each week. We’ve also seen a number of new members join the club and several have attended the first of our midweek score series which got underway recently.”
The club is already thinking ahead to running further introduction weeks later in the year and building on this initiative.