But the future of our sport is at risk. Only 10% of our orienteering community is aged between 20-34 and in 2017 nearly 10,000 school children participated in our grassroots schemes. Worryingly despite this good work we are seeing drop out rates of 70-80% in those crucial skill building years of ages 13-21. This is the age band when youthful participants can realise this is their sport for life. Why is this and what can we do about it? With your gifts the Orienteering Foundation funds junior programmes and investment in young elites, alleviating hardship and expanding junior opportunities to help to underpin that key age group so they stay with us into their early adult life and beyond.
And our volunteers are getting tired. Last year there was a 4% drop in the number of events run, but a 7% increase in competitors. The demands outside events also continue to rise. We know people want to participate in our sport but we are in danger of burning out our volunteers. Anecdotal evidence from our club friends tells us this is an increasing problem. To protect the future of our sport, with your gifts the Orienteering Foundation invests in developing tools, techniques and training to alleviate workloads and make events simpler to run and reduce non-event volunteer effort.
Technology in the sport provides massive opportunity but we need to invest. We have all seen major changes over the past twenty years with the emergence of electronic punching and tracking systems, mapping software, and online analysis tools. Communication between clubs and their members, and with the wider public has been revolutionised through social media. The Orienteering Foundation uses your gifts to continue to exploit these opportunities and provide seed capital for innovation.
In 2017/18 we:
- took 5 emerging athletes to the European Orienteering Championships, the feeder competition to the prestigious World Orienteering Championships
- ran a dedicated fundraising campaign to support our top athletes at the World Orienteering Championships in Latvia
- provided funds to MAROC for their talent squad training weekend
- funded the delivery of OpenOrienteeringMap version 3, a free mapping and course setting application expanding mapping opportunities beyond the expense of OCAD
- supported a coaching day for non-elite adults to support new entrants to the sport who miss training and coaching opportunities available to our youngsters
- helped fund the 40 strong team at the World Schools Champs in Palermo
With your support we can do more - click here to find out how.