Here at the Orienteering Foundation we are very keen to see clubs thriving and growing, and using Club Development Officers is one way to do that.
Clubs with CDOs
The Orienteering Foundation has now part-funded several clubs to engage Club Development Officers and each project has its own and differing characteristics. These initiatives enable us to get a good feel for the benefits that a CDO can contribute, and we are starting to share resources to help other clubs determine how best to progress their own club development.
- Cleveland Orienteering Klub - CLOK introduced a new CDO role in 2021 (see award) and appointed Mary Fleming. The position was renewed with a further grant for its third year in 2023 (see award). CLOK's primary objective for the CDO is to increase CLOK’s membership, especially targeting young adults, including those with families. Mary has introduced lots of initiatives, most notably the Couch to Green (for walkers) and Track to Green (for runners) programs, with the fourth series in Spring 2023, and previous series have got many new orienteers into the sport and joining the club, some of whom have gone on to organise and plan events, volunteer on the day, and even take up club committee posts. Other CDO led initiatives have included helping create a newcomer part of the website (inspired by the Orienteering Foundation club website surveys), introducing a club Instagram account, creating a volunteer recognition policy, putting on club training mornings, weekly virtual challenges, and much more.
- Swansea Bay Orienteering Club - SBOC introduced a CDO role in 2022 (see award) and appointed Kerina Lake. The position was renewed with a further grant for its second year in 2023 (see award). As you can see in the report on the first six months, Kerina has been driving a great many initiatives including a series of park-O events for newcomers, various initiatives for the whole club, engaging with partner organisations in the area, and creation of a Welsh Orienteering Association award booklet for new juniors. The focus for the CDO is to increase the profile and participation in the sport so more people enjoy it, and then take up the sport more formally through membership of the club and by doing so build a more sustainable future for the club. As the 6 month report goes on to describe, Kerina has plenty more planned for the coming year.
- Lakeland Orienteering Club - LOC introduced a CDO role in 2022 to drive a new "Family O" project (see award). The project seeks to capitalise on the advantages that orienteering has over other sports and to highlight the assets that it has for families. Kath Savage and Claire Heppenstall were appointed in post, see subsequent report and newcomer information on the LOC website.
- Forth Valley Orienteers - FVO originally received a grant from SportScotland in 2017 and appointed Chris Smithard as CDO. Chris focused on increasing participation in the Linlithgow and Dunblane areas, and achieved an increase in events organised, participation and membership for the club. Chris stepped down in 2021, and we funded a new CDO position (see award) to which FVO appointed Kieran Watts (see appointment). Kieran stepped down in December 2022, and FVO have now appointed Dan Graves to the post.
- Moravian Orienteers Club - Moravian introduced a new CDO role in 2023 (see award) and appointed Will Hall - see the Scottish Orienteering website for Will's background and appointment. The role is to grow orienteering in five key community ‘hubs’ of Forres, Elgin, Lossiemouth, Fochabers and Buckie. The intent is to capitalise on momentum created by the Moray 2023 Scottish 6 Days. The key areas the CDO will focus on are develop orienteering skills in young people leading to participation in Moray 2023, establishing regular family sessions in each of the five communities, identifying local young orienteers to become Young Ambassadors for Moray 2023, and coordinating communication and publicity of club events and activities during and after Moray 2023 in order to maintain awareness and interest of orienteering in the local community.
- Derwent Valley Orienteers - DVO introduced a new CDO role in 2023 (see award) and appointed Chris Millard - see the DVO website for Chris's background and appointment. The role is to help reverse a trend that will be familiar to many clubs - declining participation, aging club, lack of new members, and increasing difficulty to get the same old members to keep volunteering in the continued running of the club. The objectives and approaches for the CDO are to facilitate frequent, high-quality orienteering activities in the greater Derby area, identifying successful tactics and strategies to attract people into the sport, enthusiastically encouraging people already enjoying other outdoor sports to try orienteering, and attracting, involving and retaining new club members in the target demographic. The first initiative has been setting up a Derby Night MapRun series targeting runners - see report.
- South East Lancashire Orienteering Club - SELOC introduced a new CDO role in 2023 (see award) to project manage two new initiatives. The first is to introduce adult runners to orienteering through a series of "Map 5" events where participants find 5 control points covering approximately 5km. The second is to get more families into orienteering with enjoyable and engaging activities for children, and suitably challenging events for parents.
These are in addition to a number of other clubs that have CDOs not funded through the Orienteering Foundation, including SYO (Pauline Tryner).
- At the British Orienteering club development conference 2022, there were two sessions about CDOs.
- Andrew Evans (our chair) explained the support the Orienteering Foundation can offer clubs (see Andrew's presentation here) with a case study on CLOK - see presentations from Caroline Mackenzie (chair) and Mary Fleming (CDO) and the session recording.
- Pauline Tryner from SYO talked about what makes a successful club which is more than just putting on quality events - see the slides and session recording.
- British Orienteering has a good page of resources for clubs looking to employ a CDO, including sample job description, job advert, interview questions, contracts, etc.
We plan to share more resources created by CDOs from around the country so other clubs can benefit from them. Watch this space, and if you have materials to share from your own club development, do get in touch. We are keen to build up resources in lots of areas including
- Getting a CDO - making the case to your club committee, grant applications, job adverts, contracts.
- Publicising to new participants - tell us your success stories, what advertising mediums you used, how to be effective on social media, sample posters and flyers.
- Putting on sessions and events - example programmes, materials, games.
- Learning from experience - how you have sought feedback, what you have learnt, how you have adapted to develop your club more effective
- Any other material or ideas you have!
How to develop your club?
If you are thinking of how to develop your own club, and considering whether appointing a CDO could help, don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our Orienteering Foundation ambassadors to see how we can help. See our Getting in Touch page for your nearest trustee or ambassador.
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