Auburndale Park, Newton, MA
March 26, 2022
Meet Directors: Channon Ames, Karen Yeowell

Fun and grateful are the two best words to describe the Introduction to Orienteering training at Auburndale Park on March 26.

Fun – We had a perfect day for orienteering. Low 50’s, partly sunny and a light breeze made for a comfortable day in the park. In total, 145 participants of all ages came out to learn more about orienteering. Some were complete beginners while others had some prior experience but wanted to learn more.

Instructors were paired up with small groups to lead a 45 minute training session that included understanding the map and basic orienteering skills, then each group headed out on a training course with the instructor to practice their skills. Participants could use pin punches or QR code scanning to show they found the correct controls, with pin punches being the popular choice for kids and families. After the training course, participants could then head out on their own to try a white, yellow, or 1 of 3 sprint courses that were set up as part of the BYOM event at Auburndale Park.

Advance sign-ups and 3 different training courses made scheduling instructors and spreading out participants easy, ensuring that each group had the time and space they needed to learn in a relaxed and fun environment.

Did I mention the Park? Auburndale Park is owned by the City of Newton Parks and Recreation Department and has a large parking lot, bathroom, ball field, basketball court, tennis court and playground which made parking easy, offered a large space for training, and some fun amenities for people after they did their orienteering courses. This park was mapped as part of the OUSA Youth Mapping Program in the Fall of 2020 and has been running orienteering classes and small group trainings ever since.

Grateful – Grateful is the only way to describe the many and wonderful volunteers that came out to help hang and pick up controls, provide instruction, greet people that came for the training, and help with all other aspects of putting on a training event.

Gerben Scherpbier, Jenn Martin, Dasheill Martin, Mark O’Connell and Karen Yeowell all headed out in the early hours to hang the 50 controls that would be used for the training and BYOM course. A 5 year old at the park decided she wanted to take some controls down, so thank you Dashiell for hanging some controls twice!

Instructors Alex Vai, Mark O’Connell, Karen Yeowell, Channon Ames, Richard Powers, Joanne Sankus, Jim Paschetto, Dorina Nimigean, Ian Finlayson, Wendy Johnecheck, Mori Finlayson-Johnecheck, Masha Lissitsyna Bloom, and David Landrigan all helped to engage new orienteers and teach them skills for what will hopefully be a lifelong passion of orienteering.

Registration helpers Jenn Martin, Francis Henk, Steve Feldman and various instructors helped to greet participants as they arrived and provided information and resources for upcoming events held with NEOC. Flyers were provided with QR codes for easy links to the schedule and how to join NEOC. This training happened at the perfect time with so many upcoming Spring events for people to attend after learning their new skills.

Clinton Morse from OUSA came out to try out some of the Sprint courses and take photos during the day.

Newton Parks and Recreation provided outreach to families in Newton and surrounding communities to advertise the event, and also provided the maps and facilities to help make the day a success.

Saving the best for last, this event would not have been possible without the guidance of co-meet director Karen Yeowell. This was my first time as a co-meet director and Karen’s expert guidance and encouragement is why this event was such a success.

I have only been involved in orienteering for a short time, but I hope that my passion and desire to teach beginners at the introduction to orienteering event at Auburndale Park has inspired more people to get involved and join in the fun!

Channon Ames

Channon & Karen

The White, Yellow, Sprint 1, Sprint 2. & Sprint 3 courses were in place all week as part of a BYOM event. Results for those courses can be found here.