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President's Column:
The A-meet, Club Growth, and the Benefits of Volunteering

Carl Larsson, President

Another orienteering season is over—I hope you had a chance to enjoy a few of the excellent organized local meets we have had during the year. It could just be me, but it seems like the woods in Chicago are magically getting better year-by-year...on some days they almost remind me of Sweden!

We are now getting well underway with the preparation for the combined April 27-28, 2002 A-meet, World Ranking Event and U.S. Intercollegiate Championships. It is shaping up to be a great orienteering festival which I hope all Club members will support and attend in its entirety.

The new Palos North map has been completely field-checked, and we will be sending it to the printers in January. As Course Setter, I have already spent quite a bit of time checking the best course routes and start, finish and control locations. As I stated in a previous newsletter, it is a major undertaking by the club to organize an A-meet. Anyone that would want to volunteer his or her time, give Clark Maxfield a call at 773-477-0987.

On November 17th, 2001 we had the Chicago Area Orienteering Club's Annual General Meeting where we discussed major events of 2001, an election of club officers and what our plans are as a club for 2002-2003.

Finally, I just wanted to take this opportunity to discuss volunteering needs and thank everyone who contributed his or her time and effort to make 2001 a great orienteering year. We couldn't have done it without you!

Particular thanks to new volunteers this year, who either called spontaneously to help at meets, or responded positively when called by meet directors. With the Club growing at such a fast pace, we especially need new volunteers to step forward. We had more than 2,500 to attend our twelve local meets during the year, ending with a record setting 365 at the last meet on that warm, sunny Fall Sunday morning at Willow Springs Woods.

Many have found that one of the fastest ways to learn the sport of orienteering is to develop the skills of setting courses, hanging or picking up control bags, field-checking, or directing meets. In other words, volunteering! Volunteers generally become better orienteers. This is probably because volunteers spend hours out in the woods, strolling along without hurry, observing land forms and features on their own, developing an orienteering "sense."

To volunteer for next season, please call Charlie Shabazian about local meets, Clark Maxfield about the A-meet festival in April, or Rich Gaylord about field-checking. Their telephone numbers and e-mail addresses on shown on page 5. And again, great job everyone!!

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