The Minnesota Orienteering Club
Minnesota’s parks and trails provide countless opportunities for recreating and exploring. The Minnesota Orienteering Club has combined the two activities in ways that makes the outdoors fun for people of all backgrounds and skill levels. We recently asked Verónica Jaralambides to tell us more about her club and orienteering.
What is orienteering and who is the Minnesota Orienteering Club?
Orienteering consists of finding one’s way through a series of checkpoints on an unfamiliar course using a topographic map and a compass. Courses are typically set in wilderness areas and participants are timed as they complete the course. The Minnesota Orienteering Club (MNOC) is a nonprofit organization run by orienteering enthusiasts who volunteer to promote orienteering in Minnesota and neighboring states.
Our club holds many orienteering meets throughout the year. Meets are casual and participants don’t need previous experience. All ages and skill levels are welcome! We have several learning opportunities available
throughout the year, and there’s always someone available to help beginners register, start and complete a course.
Where did orienteering start? How popular is it in Minnesota? Who is participating?
Orienteering started in Scandinavia as a military training exercise. It then became popular, as it was used to motivate young runners, by making running more appealing. MNOC has 120 active members, and we typically have 80 to 150 participants at meets. In order to accommodate different skill levels and ages at meets, we offer
a variety of courses, from short and easy to long and challenging. At a meet, you can expect to see young scouts out for a walk and a good learning experience, and tri-athletes training for adventure races, as well as four-year olds out with grandma and mom. Meets are family-friendly events that offer a great opportunity to explore some of the many parks in Minnesota.
How can people learn about orienteering? Where can a beginner get lessons or attend a clinic?
MNOC partners with REI to offer freeorienteering classes every year. The annual Orienteering Skills Development Clinic, put together by MNOC and Three Rivers Park District, is also a great place for beginners
to learn all about the sport and complete beginning and intermediate courses.
Is orienteering expensive? What equipment does someone need to get started?
Orienteering is very inexpensive. All you need to get started is a compass! MNOC meet fees are only $4 for junior members, $5 for members and $8 for non-members.