Volunteering with Saxons
For an orienteering event to take place we need a willing band of volunteers to make it happen.
Before the day
Level C events (our Sunday events) normally need more volunteers than KOL events due to the number of people taking part. KNC events are normally organised and planned by one or two people with no need for additional helpers.
For all events, in advance of the day, land permission will have been obtained and the map updated where necessary. The Planner will have been out checking the suitability of control sites and then putting their draft courses onto the map using special computer software called Condes. If you would like to have a go at planning an event but feel unsure about it, there are detailed guides and instructions on our website. Planning an event is a great opportunity to orienteer without any pressure and many first time planners say that planning courses actually improves their orienteering skills – so you never know!
We can also pair you up with an experienced planner who can guide you through your first event and offer help and advice on the courses that you have set. For Level C events, we also appoint a controller who checks the control sites on the ground as well as the courses on the map. The club needs more Planners, so if you are interested please get in touch with the Chairman who will talk you though what is needed.
For most events an organiser is also needed in advance; guides on how to organise the different types of event are also on the website. The organiser needs to make sure there are enough volunteers to fill all the necessary roles on the day of the event. These ‘on-the-day’ volunteering jobs are outlined below. Most would need you to be on site before the event starts for a briefing by the organiser. ‘On the day’ jobs are always organised so that you’ll be able to get a run in as well if you want to.
On the day
Meet and Greet
Ideally Saxons would like to have a person available near registration to offer assistance and advice if needed to competitors through the whole registration period. This would include talking to people new to orienteering, explaining the basics of orienteering and suggesting a suitable course to try. This job is more suited to more experienced club members.
Registration and SI
Sport Ident (SI) is the computer software used to time competitors and to record their safe return to download, where everyone gets a printout of their split times and overall time for the course. Saxons has an event shelter with table and seats that is used for registration and SI at all Level C and KOL events. This shelter needs to be set up before registration opens. At Sunday events there is on-line pre-registration for courses, with relatively few entries on the day, but at Saturday KOL events all registration is on the day. As a volunteer at registration you get to meet all EOD competitors as they register and pay their money for the course of their choice. You need to ensure they complete the registration forms correctly; at most Saxons events registration is still by paper forms (although direct registration on the computer via your dibber is used at KNC events). Getting to meet other competitors gives you the chance to put a face to that name you often see in the results – maybe someone who’s faster than you one week but then you’re faster the next time.
SI entry and download is a job for people who are happy with a computer. It involves the registering of competitors by entering information into the database and also ‘downloading’ competitors’ dibbers when they complete their course. The SI software used by the club is very user friendly but new users would need to spend an hour or so with an experienced SI user to get to grips with the system. If this sounds like the sort of role you could help with, please contact Jerry Purkis, Alan Hickling or Simon Blanchflower. Generally there are two shifts on SI entry and download as this job starts before first registration (with computer and printer set up) and continues until the last person returns (hopefully before courses closing time).
Start and Finish
At the Start, volunteers are needed to set up the start box, ensure the maps are in place and erect the start banner. Once the Start is open, the Start volunteers make sure that everyone clears their dibber and checks that they are working. They ensure there is a suitable time allowed between competitors on the same course and makes sure beginners know what they are doing. Again, another great opportunity to put names to faces.
A volunteer is also needed to erect the Finish banner; the Finish is normally unmanned if it is reasonably close to registration or the start. If this is not the case it may be necessary to have a volunteer at the Finish for emergency cover-this is where reports of injury in the forest will be heard first.
As it says in the title, these volunteers would marshal the competitors’ cars so that they can all fit in to a possibly limited parking space. You may be required to collect a car parking fee and get to wear a yellow reflective jacket! This job would normally start before registration opens.
This is a great job where you get to orienteer without the pressure. After everyone has been checked out of the competition area you will be given a section of the ‘all controls’ map by the planner or organiser and asked to go and collect a set of controls from that area. You have to be willing to stay to the very end of the event.
Jobs suitable for juniors
Saxons are keen to get some of our younger members more involved in club activities. Several roles could be suitable for juniors:
Checking dibbers at the start
Putting maps under map boxes to make it easier for competitors to pick up their map
Directing the traffic if all they have to do is stand in a yellow jacket and point directions
Young adults are often good on computing and can learn how to use the SI software
If a String course or other activity for young juniors is being organised they can help set up and manage the activity