After another eventful year it is instructive to look back at the progress that we have made since the launch of our Long-Term Participant Development (LTPD) model in September 2011. From this I believe we can all derive a great deal of satisfaction for what has been achieved. I also hope that this will fill us with renewed motivation to sustain our efforts into the future.
Our retrospect should begin with a reminder of our vision and strategy that was developed in conjunction with our LTPD model. The SAOF’s vision is to make Orienteering a national sport accessible to all South Africans. Our mission statement: Development Growth Excellence reflects the belief that in order to grow the sport, development and roll-out of education pathways is required to reduce the inherent barriers to entry. With this we also recognise that excellence, which includes being internationally competitive at the highest level, will not be possible without the foundation of development and growth of the sport.
The SAOF’s strategy reflects the belief that in order to grow orienteering in South Africa we need to continue to provide education pathways to enable more people to become competent in the making of maps, in the coaching of participants and the in organising of events.
The short-term objectives set as part of the LTPD project are as follows:
Short-term objectives 3-5 years (2014-2016)
- Deliver an Awareness program to educate the SA Orienteering community about LTPD.
- Active Orienteering clubs in 5 provinces (as of 2011 we are active in two provinces)
- Improve participation Levels across all demographics.
- Target World Games Performance Improvement (2013)
Thus far we have probably fallen short of the first objective. However, development efforts in Kwazulu-Natal and recent nascent orienteering activity in Limpopo are cause for encouragement. Whilst club membership and participation at club events has shown slow growth of PDI members, PDI participation at schools league events is growing. As for the World Games, it is important to emphasise that were it not for Michael Crone’s first-ever qualification for a WOC final in 2012, SASCOC would not have permitted Orienteering to participate.
These achievements represent good progress towards achieving our short-term goals. What is even more pleasing is the progress that has been made in the development of educational pathways and provision of education opportunities. We have established a formal agreement with British Orienteering to modify their coach education system. Their support has culminated in the qualification of seven Level 2 orienteering coaches and five Level 1 orienteering coaches. At the end of 2012, two Level 1 mapping courses were held and a number of the participants have gone on to make maps. Not to be forgotten is the IOF Event Adviser course, which resulted in the accreditation of two further Event Advisers. It is important to continue with these activities as this will underpin the sustained growth of orienteering in South Africa.
It is important to recognise the contribution of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) and SASCOC to our efforts. Their leadership in the LTPD and SA Coach Framework projects (SASCOC) and financial support (SRSA) is taking sport in South Africa forward. Our active participation in these projects, not only makes sense for the development of orienteering, but also strengthens our standing within them. This is crucial if we are to continue to develop and grow.
As a final note, it is important to recognise and acknowledge the contribution of all the volunteers that give life to our sport. From the mappers, to (increasingly) the coaches, the administrators to all active club members who all work tirelessly to present a full calendar of orienteering events, we thank you. Lastly, I would like to convey on behalf of all orienteers thanks to the SAOF’s management committee and support personnel for their selfless work.
I look forward to working with you all in 2014 to take Orienteering in South Africa to new heights.
Follow this link to read the SAOF’s 2012/13 Annual Report.