Learning With the Club
We offer a variety of ways to learn orienteering, both for beginners and experienced orienteers.
Come To Any Club Meet
The Arctic Orienteering Club has a meet almost every week throughout the summer. Come on out and join us! Newcomers are always welcome. Almost all of the meets have a course suitable for beginners – no compass skills necessary. Usually there are plenty of experienced orienteers hanging around the start area who are happy to help get you going on your first orienteering course. Check the schedule for our next meet. Your first time is free!
Attend An “Introduction to Orienteering” Session
If you are are looking for a little more hands-on training, we offer several training sessions in conjunction with our regular meets. There is no cost to these training sessions, and if it your first time orienteering, the meet itself is also free!
In these half-hour sessions, an experienced orienteer will teach you all you need to know to try the sport of orienteering, answer questions, help you get registered, and then set you off on an easy course. The course itself will usually take another 45 minutes to an hour, so plan on a total time of an hour and a half.
We offer three Introduction courses, each with a slightly different focus:
- The Basics
- How to Read an Orienteering Map
- How to Use a Compass for Orienteering
Check the schedule for dates and times. All of these are suitable for absolute beginners. There are no prerequisites. Attending any one of these session will prepare you to try out the sport for yourself.
Bring good walking shoes, long pants, other clothes to keep you warm or cool and dry during instruction and orienteering, small pack or pockets for your valuables, bug dope, a whistle. Optional gear: pepper spray, water, snacks, compass
Questions, or if you think you’ll want someone to accompany you or your group, contact the Vice President of Training.
At some of our weekly meets, there will be clinics or drills for practicing specific orienteering skills. Stand by for details…
Learn by Teaching Others
There’s no better way to solidify what you know than to teach it to others! You don’t need to be an expert to teach beginners. Contact the Vice President of Training to volunteer!
- Teach or help with the Intro to Orienteering instruction. We will be keeping it simple! Course outline, materials, and support are provided. Looking volunteers to circulate among instructees during class to help. Then, go do your own course, or accompany a beginner for a while.
- Accompany a newcomer on all or part of his/her course. We would like to have several people available after each instruction to help newcomers get started on the right (or left) foot. There is time to do your own course beforehand.
- Set up an intermediate-level training exercise. This could be done at any meet or as a stand-alone event, especially in July. We have lots of ideas, and you probably have some, too. Examples: set up a pace-counting exercise; teach about ‘flow’ through a control; teach about handrails, catching features, reorienteering yourself, coarse-scale vs fine-scale navigation; do some armchair orienteering exercises; ‘shadow’ an intermediate orienteer that want to take it to the next level. Curious? Enthusiastic? Again, limited expertise is needed.
- Help at a meet. Many tasks are simple. There is typically opportunity to do a course yourself at the same meet.
Intermediate-Level Training Exercises
Stand by for details…
Offer to host one! See #3 above.
Learning On Your Own
Understand the Basics
If you are brand-new to the sport of orienteering, the first thing you should check out is our FAQ page. It will give you all the basic information you should know before you show up for a meet.
You also might find the following information helpful, but it is usually not needed to complete the White (easiest) courses.
Have you been to a meet or two and now you are looking for ways to improve? The US Orienteering Federation is your best resource. They have a lot of educational material on the New to Orienteering page, and links to other publications on the Orienteering Resources page.
Still looking for more reading materials? Google orienteering training.
BLM Permanent Courses
If you still want more opportunities to practice, try our courses near the Campbell Creek Science Center. These courses are permanent, so they are always ready when you are. You can try courses we’ve designed, or download a map with all the controls on it and design your own course. Caution: Some of the control placards are missing from the permanent course. If you would like to help replace them, please contact the VP of Training
Requests For Private Orienteering Instruction
Orienteering is a great activity for groups. The Arctic Orienteering Club frequently receives requests to provide instruction for private groups, or to set orienteering courses for private events. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to accommodate all of these requests at this time. However, we do have permanent orienteering courses set near the Campbell Creek Science Center in Anchorage that are open to everyone (see above). We encourage you to download the maps and course information from this website, and take your group to that course. You’ll have all you need to organize a fun outing.
If you absolutely require private instruction or guidance, we are happy to ask our volunteers if they are available to help out. We can’t promise that we’ll find someone for you, but we are willing to ask around. Send an email to the Vice President of Training to see if something can be arranged.