In our increasingly digital society, it seems many young people have become disconnected with nature as they opt to scroll through their social media feeds or sit in front of a screen instead of playing outdoors with friends. But through a unique program, kids have the opportunity to explore new landscapes and discover an interesting new sport.
Orienteering, which is said to have originated in Sweden, is a sport that combines physical activity with mental ability. By reading a map and using a compass, participants criss-cross a delineated area, finding different natural or manmade landmarks in a scavenger hunt-type race. To prove you have reached a landmark, there is a digital device that scans your arrival. The goal of the sport is to efficiently navigate the area in the least amount of time. Races can be completed by running, walking, biking and even snowshoeing or skiing during the winter.
From July 30 to Aug.1, the Ramblers Orienteering Club in collaboration with the Sass Peepree Junior Training Camp is offering a training session for kids and teens ages 11 to 20 in Morin Heights. During the training session, campers will learn the basics of navigation and map reading, take part in different fitness activities, go zip lining and sit in on information sessions. Throughout the weekend, they will put their skills to the test and compete in several races, including a nighttime race illuminated by headlamps.
With the help of a grant by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th and Fondation Laurentides, cost for the three-day event has been reduced to $165 before July 1, and $180 until the July 15 deadline. The fee covers meals, transportation and lodging for the three days, says Anna Fichman, a Ramblers Orienteering Club board member.
The club, a division of Orienteering Canada, organizes local events for adults and children alike. Events can be held anywhere, even in urban milieus, and people of all ages and skill level can participate, says Fichman, who takes her five sons on orienteering adventures all across the globe—last year they trekked through the Rockies and this year they plan on mapping a lava field in Iceland. “It’s all about going back to nature, spending time with family and exploring something new.”
For more information, visit orienteering.ca.