The time has come to review what the club does and decide on our priorities for the future.
This has been prompted by the desire of Roger & Judy to retire next year from their club roles after many years of being at the heart of QO. We are very grateful for their service and will of course mark this when the time comes.
At the same time there is a widespread belief among some that the club may be over-reaching itself, and that the current number of events and activities is not sustainable. Therefore it would be an advantage if we could find ways to reduce the burden on our volunteers.
We started our review with a meeting on Tuesday 7th November at Staplegrove Village Hall attended by fifteen club members. The objective was to identify QO's priorities and decide where we focus our resources.
We agreed what we most like about QO is:
- We are friendly and welcoming,
- We are inclusive, meaning we cater for a wide range of ages and experience,
- We have a local identity so our people do not have to travel far,
- Although a small club we successfully organise a huge number of events despite a tough permissions climate,
- We have a wide mix of events including many low key non-daunting events suitable for newcomers as well as regulars.
We also agreed the club's priorities should be in this order:
- Continue the emphasis on friendliness and social opportunities,
- Promote volunteering,
- Support entry to team events,
- Provide coaching,
- Advertise for new members.
It has been estimated that each colour coded forest event probably requires a total of well over 100 volunteer hours of mapping, planning, organising and helping on the day. This is spread over a number of people but it tends to be the same core group of people that help each time. By contrast far less effort is needed for virtual orienteering (i.e. MapRun or Spunch).
We would like QO to continue holding a mix of events with the priorities being in this order:
- Continue the Forest League (QOFL) series,
- Continue the Junior Orienteering Group (JOG) although perhaps at reduced intensity,
- Hold more events through the spring and summer,
- Host the occasional major event,
- A greater use of virtual orienteering.
To avoid over-burdening the club we felt that the total number of forest events over the year should be reduced, perhaps to roughly around 15. However there is no real limit on the number of virtual events.
There is a concern that if JOG ceases to be every week, this could lead to families dropping orienteering from their routines. There is also a concern that the long spring/summer break has a similar effect. The club should develop a programme to address these concerns.
Other efficiencies could be achieved by:
- Regular JOG sessions in the same locations with easier permissions, (e.g. Long Run, Ham Hill),
- Re-using JOG, i.e. using old plans again,
- Reducing the work needed to plan a JOG by returning to the junior focus and removing the senior Fox course,
- Holding coaching sessions and events on the same day,
- Further collaborations with neighbouring clubs and incorporating their events into our programmes.
- Encourage volunteering, for example Duke of Edinburgh students need volunteering opportunities, and crediting volunteers in event reports.
Main actions for the club leadership:
- Develop a new events programme
- Promote volunteering
- Find people willing to take on key roles, in particular an equipment caretaker and a JOG coordinator
We will update this page with further news on this subject.
On behalf of the club committee many thanks to all who came to the review meeting and for contributing to the discussion. We continue to be open to comments and suggestions so please let us know your thoughts. You can send these to me, Richard Sansbury, using the chair@ email address.