Over 20 juniors from clubs in the south assembled at the Youth Hostel in Burley, New Forest for a 2-day training camp last weekend. Juniors aged 11-13 years at Orange standard from Southdowns Orienteers, Quantock Orienteers, Wimborne Orienteers, SARUM Orienteering Club, Guildford Orienteers, Southern Navigators, Dartford Orienteering Klubb, South London Orienteers came together for a weekend of orienteering training and fun social time.
Photo credit: Steve Rush, Karen Mills-Hicks and Sarah Robertson
On the first evening was a mini Night-O through the forest next to the hostel. For most of the youngsters, this was their first try at Night-O, so the 600m course with 7 controls had glowsticks to sign the way. They ran it once, then ran it again, aiming to beat their own time! “I never imagined I could run in the forest at night!” said one enthusiastic junior.
The weather closed in through the night, so by the morning the rain was pelting down and wind roaring in the trees. It didn’t take long for everyone to decide that watching rugby and playing Uno would be more fun for a couple of hours!
Once the wild weather subsided, the group headed out to Wilverley Inclosure, a lovely “Gruffalo Wood”, with huge trees and a nice variety of features. After a reminder about orientating the map and attack points, the juniors ran a Short Orange and then divided into teams for a “Harris Relay”. Each team divided up the 16 controls, deciding who should go to which – first-team back were the winners!
After much fun and laughter during the evening and a quieter night, the team made the short journey to the November Classic at Bramshaw. There was a fantastic total of 53 entries on the Orange course, with juniors from the camp taking first and second place! All the camp juniors completed the course and were happily reunited with their parents to round off the weekend.
“My son said he really enjoyed it and would definitely go again next year.” said one parent. "This camp is very beneficial for many juniors since they don’t get dedicated training in their club and are too young for their regional squad.” said another. “The social aspect is great, helping them make new orienteering friendships at an early age.” said one of the parent volunteer coaches.
Many thanks go to all the parent volunteers, YHA staff and members of Southampton orienteering Club and SARUM Orienteering Club who helped to make the camp such a great success.