British Orienteering is saying thank you to all who give endless hours of their time and energy to our sport every week.
British Orienteering continues with expressing much appreciation and saying thank you to more individuals across the UK.
In the 'Thank You Spotlight' is....
Alasdair Shaw (Quantock Orienteers)
Photo above shows Alasdair introducing a video on how to use Google Maps to collect control coordinates in the field to then use that to set up a MapRun.
Judy and Roger Craddock, President and Membership Secretary at Quantock Orienteers, say:
Soon after becoming a member of Quantock Orienteers:
- Alasdair used his own initiative to download an open-source map which we used in our Street Series.
- Although he was a relative newcomer we were so impressed with his abilities and positive attitude we asked him to become chairman of Quantock Orienteers in September 2019, and in the absence of any other offers from the existing Committee he was proposed and elected.
- He immediately became a positive force in the club not just verbally supporting old and new initiatives but offering practical help in many areas.
- QO have always had an excellent website but when our webmaster had personal problems, Alasdair immediately stepped in and has become actively involved.
- He has developed and taken responsibility for a very active presence on Facebook and Twitter which has had a good effect on the attendance and membership.
- He re-structured the Junior Orienteering Group system. He standardised and put registration forms and other information on the website.
- At the start of the COVID period in 2020, he used his IT skills to keep QO orienteering going by encouraging the use of the MapRun software for rural orienteering (we had only used this in urban settings previously).
- Alasdair then created a 5- and 3-hour score event - The Quantock Challenge, accessing the whole of the Quantocks Hills and using virtual controls. This was available for all outdoor enthusiasts and was COVID compliant.
- In the Autumn term to keep the weekly JOG programme running, Alasdair put a series of videos on the website demonstrating how to convert conventional courses to MapRun. He offered further support where needed and, in his role as MapRun administrator, he put the courses on the MapRun app. We were then able to provide COVID compliant JOG courses for families and training each week throughout the second lockdown period. As a result of this initiative instead of only being open for 2 hours on a Saturday afternoon our JOG courses were open first for a weekend and then for a week.
- In addition to the JOG programme Alasdair created a set of 4 urban courses around the Taunton area for the SE Orienteering Urban League in November/December 2020.
- In his enthusiasm to encourage families and individuals to keep active locally many of the JOG courses created have been listed as virtual permanent orienteering courses (VPOC), so allowing people to revisit areas and perhaps do other courses in their own time.
Judy and Roger Craddock continue on why they feel Alasdair deserves recognition:
- Stepped up in the absence of other volunteers to become Chair of Quantock Orienteers in 2019 and 2020. His ‘modus operandi’ is to lead by example, leading from the front.
- Immediately became pro-active in promoting, planning, and improving the successful Junior Orienteering Group (JOG) before COVID.
- Kept all our activities going by restructuring the JOG programme to enable it to continue in a COVID compliant way in the Autumn. He addressed the problems of social distancing, sanitising, yet still providing Orienteering challenges for families and individuals.
- Willingly took over the role as webmaster for Quantock Orienteers when the previous holder became unavailable.
- Helped to keep Quantock Orienteers members involved by updating, extending, and improving the current website.
- Used his expertise in IT and outdoor pursuits to provide maps, courses, You-tube guidance. He created novel formats using Virtual software, i.e., Evening Street series, Urban events, Long distance score events, a multicourse Urban event for SE Urban ‘O’ League and a raft of Virtual and Permanent Orienteering Courses in Somerset.
- Encouraged wider use of our present PCs by using the latest version of MapRun and adding QR codes to some of the existing Virtual and Permanent Orienteering Courses, making them more flexible.
- Alasdair has a “can do” attitude and all the above has been done whilst Alasdair is a full-time teacher at a local secondary school preparing on-line materials and assisting with his children’s home schooling. His is also a prolific author of Sci-fi novels and Physics textbooks and revision guides and has a world-wide social media following!
- Alasdair has been an inspiration to us all, he seems to have an abundance of energy and vision, has shown dynamic leadership and kept us all motivated.
Alasdair is there anything you are particularly proud of that you would like British Orienteering to shine a spotlight on?
"Keeping up activity and sense of belonging amongst club members during Lockdowns – virtual courses and events where allowed, virtual LEJOG, Missing Maps Project.
Increasing the club's social media presence, revamping the website, and introducing an email service for newsletters and other information.
Updating the policies and procedures (unglamorous but essential).
Developing a range of resources to help planners, organisers and controllers – instructional videos, online junior planners course.
Experimenting with new pathways into orienteering and new ways of orienteering – events aimed at attracting trail runners, GPS and QR activities."
Your volunteering journey and motivations. We know there is so much more to each volunteer than the things that they have done, how did you get in to volunteering and why aree you stay involved as a volunteer?
Alasdair, says: "I find it rewarding being part of a team working to provide opportunities for people to go orienteering.
I also enjoy introducing new people to the sport."
British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to thank you Alasdair for all you do within your club and for the sport of orienteering.
British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to say a big "THANK YOU" to all volunteers within our sportand for for what you do; committee members, coaches, planners, controllers, tea-makers, car-parking stewards, mappers, organisers, volunteers who put out controls, volunteers who collect back in the controls after an event......the list goes on!
You are the lifeblood of our sport. You are at the heart and soul of orienteering - and make it happen week after week. There so many roles which are all important. However you contribute to our sport of orienteering, British Orienteering wants to take this opportunity during National Volunteers' Week to say Thank You!
Join in the celebrations! Who are you going to personally say thank you to in your club or further afield?
Don't forget to include British Orienteering in all of your club or personal social media posts: