All Cascade Orienteering Club events are put on by volunteers. In order to continue holding events, we need to have people helping out at each event. Almost all volunteer jobs require absolutely no special skills or experience; the meet director will teach you what you need to know the day of event. Volunteering is low stress, a fun way to meet people, and helps out the sport and the club. Plus, you get rewards for volunteering; for each 90 minutes you volunteer, you can get a free meet entry, or save up for other great club items.

As a rule of thumb, please strongly consider volunteering for at least one of every five events that you attend. 

A week or two before events, email is typically sent to the club e-mail list asking for volunteers. However, please feel free to volunteer for any event that you see on the schedule. By volunteering early, you get the shift that you want, and also help us by reducing the number of people we need to find at the last minute.

To volunteer, please either click the Volunteer link on the event list, or email/call the meet director or volunteer coordinator. To volunteer for meet director, course setter, or E-Punch coordinator, contact the event coordinator.


Meet Director: The meet director is responsible for the overall event for the day, and is typically the first to arrive and the last to leave. He/she is in charge of organizing all the volunteers, getting the equipment (except E-Punch) to/from the event, handling the collected funds, and dealing with any issues that appear. Before the event, he or she works with the course setter to make sure that course locations work for the event, with land owners to understand any restrictions, and determining locations for bathrooms, parking, and registration areas. (If necessary, the meet director arranges for a portable toilet.) The meet director check list contains a full list of things that the meet director should worry about. The meet director should have a good understanding as to how events are conducted, be well organized, and be willing and able to teach all the appropriate jobs (except E-punch software) to other volunteers. Although it may seem a bit daunting, no specialized knowledge or skills are required and the club officers are very willing to help first time meet directors through the process. Great way to meet new people!

Course Setter: The course setter designs the courses, and sets them out the day of the event. The course setter should be an experienced orienteer, and needs to visit the event area well before the event to locate each marker location. The course setter creates the event maps and arranges for them to be printed, along with the control description sheets, and typically also coordinates control pickup. First-time course setters should attend a course setting class or apprentice with an experienced course setter the first time. See course setter resources for additional information.

E-Punch Coordinator: The E-Punch coordinator is responsible for setting up and running the E-punch software for the event. He/she brings the E-punch equipment and tent, sets up the hardware, starts the software, trains the finish line volunteers if necessary, and posts results following the event. The E-Punch coordinator needs to be very familiar with the operation of the E-Punch software and be able to resolve hardware and software problems as they arise.

Registration: Registration workers collect fees and registration forms, make change, and answer questions. Any issues they can't handle should be referred to the meet director. No experience is necessary, and this job is appropriate for teens or adults. Volunteers will sit under a tent, awning, or inside. A typical shift is 1 1/2 hours.

E-Punch Handout: Hands out rental SI-cards (also known as "e-punches" or "finger sticks"), recording the SI number on the participants registration form. Forwards these forms to the finish tent. Toward the end of the event, collects returned SI-cards and stores them. No experience is necessary, and this job is appropriate for teens or adults. Volunteers will sit under a tent, awning, or inside. A typical shift is 1 1/2 hours.

Start: Start workers staff the start tent, hand out maps, and start competitors at appropriate intervals for the event. For manual punch events, record start times on control cards and the start sheet. No experience is necessary, and this job is appropriate for teens or adults. Volunteers will be under a tent, but should be prepared to stand for most or all of their shift. A typical shift is 1 1/2 hours.

Finish: Staffs the finish tent as competitors finish. For E-punch events, run the download computer and enter names into the E-Punch computer. For manual punch events, record finish times on control cards. No experience beyond use of a laptop computer is necessary, although touch-typing is helpful. This job is appropriate for teens or adults. Volunteers will sit under a tent. A typical shift is 1 1/2 hours.

Vetting: Verifies the correct location of the control markers, and confirms the control code for each control, and verifies that the E-punch unit is operating correctly. The vetter must be at the event early, and be ready to run immediately after the course setter has finished setting controls. Depending on the course the vetter wishes to compete on, the vetter will either run his/her course as the first runner, or check only controls not on his/her course. The vetter should be a fast, experienced orienteer.

Control Pickup: Under direction of the course setter, retrieves some of the markers and returns them to the meet director after all competitors have finished. This is an excellent opportunity to improve your orienteering skills, or just get more time on the map. Can be done running or walking, and can have any level of orienteering skill.

Beginner Instruction: Teaches the basics of orienteering to beginners in five to ten minutes, including map symbols, simple compass use / orienting the map, and the fundamental rules of the sport (i.e., don't follow, never go into an out-of-bounds area, visit the controls in the designated order, always report to the finish). Explains the start and finish procedures (including how to clear, check, and punch if the event is using electronic punching). Answers general questions about the sport or the event. Should have enough orienteering experience to be comfortable teaching these points.

Volunteer Rewards (Cascade VIP)

In order to recognize and thank our volunteers, Cascade OC has a reward system called Cascade VIP for those who volunteer at events. Points are awarded as follows:

Meet Director, Course Setter, E-Punch Coordinator: 10 points
Registration, Start, Finish, Instruction: 1 point per 30 minutes (3 points for typical shift)
E-Punch/Computer Finish: 1 extra point per 90 minutes (4 points total for typical shift)
Vetting: 2 points
Marker Pickup: 1 point

You can use these points to gain entry to a future event or for other club items:

3 points: entry for club member at future event ($5 value)
3 points: club bumper sticker or 2 magnets
10 points: club mug, 2 coasters, or kids T-shirt
15 points: club T-shirt
20 points: club T-shirt (dry-release/organic)
20 points: E-Punch stick
25 points: club sweatshirt

View current points spreadsheet

Last update: September 3, 2008

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