Alan Houser (troop24@EMF.NET)
Mon, 21 Oct 1996 17:42:54 -0700
About a year and a half ago, there was a discussion on
rec.sport.orientering on how Boy Scout orienteering had a different
feel and focus from "real orienteering," which is an international
sport that may end up in the Olympics in the future. At the time,
I indicated that I was going to try to encourage my Scouts to become
more involved in "real" orienteering. I can now claim some success in
that & I would like to share how it came about.
To review the original discussion, I have archived it at
My original scheme was to try and sell it as an activity for the older
Scouts, with the goal of preparing for the annual Scout-O meet held
by the Bay Area Orienteering Club. Didn't work. My older Scouts were
already involved in enough stuff, they didn't have time to add another
activity as well (or so they thought....).
Next approach: suggest it to the Scouts who need to do an O-course for
their First Class advancement, and interest a few older Scouts in
coming along. That worked much better, and word began to circulate
that this was a fun thing to do.
Doing the BAOC courses became a popular patrol activity (a couple of
patrols were working on Baden-Powell award).
Yesterday, Troop 24 competed for the first time in this year's Scout-O
meet (thank you, BAOC), and they pressed the two-time winning troop to
the wire before settling into second place.
All had a great time, including the Webelos we brought along for
recruiting, and a number of the Scouts placed high in the individual
competitions as well (didn't hurt that we had a couple of cross-country
runners on course). They were already making plans to come back next
year while we were waiting for the results to be tallied.
The couple of XC runners received strong encouragement from the meet
organizer (an Eagle Scout who does the meet as payback for what Scouting
gave him) to compete in regular events. He felt they had made such a
strong showing that they could challenge many of the regular "serious"
Incidently, I met several Scouters whom I knew from email relationships
at the meet.
To get your Scouts interested in orienteering, find out if there is
an orienteering club in your area. The definitive web site in the
US is at
Use your local club to get your Scouts into the program. It is a lot
of fun for them. There is also the opportunity for planning and for
teamwork. And, like the program says, it's an activity that they can
take with them long after they leave Scouting. Maybe they will end
up in the Olympics. If not, they will have a good time anyway.
Alan R. Houser ** Scoutmaster, Berkeley Troop 24 ** email@example.com
** WWW page ** http://www.emf.net/~troop24/t24.html **
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City