January 21, 2021

Ribbon of Jewels Orienteering Meet Write Up– 1/17/2021

My first introduction to orienteering was a friend asking me, “Hey, do you want to drive to Central Oregon and use a map and compass to find things in the wilderness for about 6 hours?”  My response was, “When and where?”  I found myself this past weekend looking back on that memory with joy and a beautiful touch of bitter sweetness that only this sport can provide.  When John asked me if I would be willing to co-host this meet with Melanie at the December O-Meet, I also said “When and where?”.  John didn’t know this it at the time, but I needed something to look forward to and some way to celebrate.  My dear friend, that same one who introduced me to orienteering in the high desert of Central Oregon 6 years ago, had passed away just 4 days earlier after a fierce battle with cancer.

This was my first time helping coordinate one of our club’s orienteering meets and it was an amazing experience.  Learning the nuances of course setting, pre-meet coordination, and the day of logistics was illuminating.  The folks who help make the lift to ensure we have an O Meet each month are nothing short of super heroes.  Special thanks go out to my co-host, Melanie, for her incredible diligence and the highest standards of making sure orienteering is a sport for all.  John, for his intuition and patience as he guided me through this experience. Sergey, for making sure we have all our bases covered and operate at maximum efficiencyAnd the intrepid puppers, Penny and Sue, who joined Melanie and I on our many course scouting adventures.

Originally, this meet was named after the parks we intended to traverse.  As I continued my research, I remembered having come across a term used by the City of Boise to refer to the string of parks located along the Greenbelt that pay homage to women who positively influenced our community.  The “Ribbon of Jewels” is the nickname for the beautiful series of 12 city parks that wind along the Boise River Greenbelt, named after prominent women and their collective legacies to better our community.

This weekend we got to experience two of them: Bernadine Quinn and Esther Simplot Parks.  You can find out more about our Ribbon of Jewels here: https://www.cityofboise.org/departments/parks-and-recreation/ribbon-of-jewels/  This name also felt appropriate as a nod to those who have left a legacy in our orienteering community. Additionally, two women co-hosting an O Meet was a first in my experience with this club!  I have also lived in Boise since 1998, and I am still amazed to find new parts of our beautiful city and the surrounding areas through orienteering - especially this "bridge" when it was a bit frosty at 7am!

We greatly appreciate everyone’s diligence in wearing masks and physical distancing to help us curb the spread of COVID-19.  While, we miss having the “after meet” time, our social nature did have many of us chatting 6+’ apart and catching up with some friends we have missed.

The Ribbon of Jewels O-Meet was also a wonderful celebration of the diversity this sport offers.  Some highlights:

We had a total of 53 participants - by collective memory, this is the largest local meet we have held.

Our youngest orienteer was 4 yrs old and oldest in their 80’s: that’s 9 decades worth of experience!

Lauren and Cat did their first advanced course, and Cat just celebrated her 1-year orienteering anniversary. 

We also had an amazing multi-generation representation of orienteers:

  • Christy and her dad Scott came out in great spirits!
  • Innes and Katrina (Melanie’s husband and daughter) ran separate courses 
  • Jennifer showed up early to run the intermediate course, while her son Zach gave her a "head start" as he tried to chase down Sergey on the Advanced course
  • Nick C. and his two sons came out with their smiles and adventurous souls on the beginner course

  • We also had a visiting orienteer from the Cascade Orienteering Club.  Alex H. joined with his two daughters Emma and Lucy, and did the beginner course after most of the controls had been removed. 
  • And many first time orienteers joined us and are excited to participate next month! 

For all our CTOC family, I encourage you to remember fondly your first O-Meet and how it felt to find this sport.  I hope they are all as beautiful a memory as mine was to bask in, especially as I walked along the Boise River at sunrise this weekend!

Next month, we travel down the river to Eagle Island State Park on Feb 20th for what promises to be a fun and challenging course hosted by John Murray.  See you all there!

Results below and splits can be found at this link: http://obasen.orientering.se/winsplits/online/en/classes.asp?databaseId=72998



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