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You may hold in your hand, the last Newsletter...

As you may have noticed, we have not published a paper newsletter for 6 months. With the demands of organizing the 2-day A-meet last April, we decided to skip the normal spring wrap-up newsletter. Those looking for local meet results for the Spring meets should refer to the Club's web site.

Thanks to Michael Collins, the Club's web site has really blossomed in the past year. During the A-meet we were able to organize and disseminate information efficiently and quickly. Orienteers as a group have seemed to have embraced the Internet like few other groups.

Many orienteering clubs are finding a conflict between the postings to their web site and the writing in their newsletter. The Delaware Valley Club (DVOA) publishes a beautiful 30-page newsletter book, and has set forth this conflict as follows:

  • Web publishes: Meet schedule of upcoming events, last minute news, and results (but with no write-ups)
  • Newsletter publishes: Details, articles, more of a historical review, and results with write-ups

According to DVOA, this allows people to find out the latest news immediately from the Web, but then spend more time perusing the Newsletter in detail. Another reason for this approach is that the newsletter only goes to club members and thereby becomes an additional incentive to join the club.

Well, we at CAOC think that DVOA is doing duplicate work, and avoiding the obvious conclusion: most orienteers are electronically skilled, like the Web, don't read paper newsletters anymore. The day of a snail-mailed paper newsletter are declining.

In addition, we'd like to create more of a "club" feeling by giving all members a chance to interact more than for 10 minutes at a meet. Therefore we propose to become "all electronic" by eliminating paper Newsletters in the following manner:

  1. New members will receive a more comprehensive Welcome letter detailing paper and electronic servics available to them such as links to orienteering-related web sites, beginner information on the sport, and an order form for local maps, T-shirts and mugs.
  2. A new web server [has been] set up which will allow the CAOC web site to offer new services such as:
    • chat room—to allow Sunday night abuse of the day's courses and meet director, and give the winners a chance to tell everyone else how they did it
    • message board discussion groups on more technical aspects of the sport
    • meet write-ups, stories and feedback
    • meet results, uploaded directly by Meet Directors
    • course discussions from recent meets; how they ran/should have run
    • equipment reviews and tips from the old hands
    • frequently asked questions (FAQ's)
    • carpooling & accommodation sharing at distant national and midwest events
    • adventure racing discussion group
    • schedule of events of all types
    • pictures uploaded by members
    • standard newsletter info: list of officers, forms to join, driving directions
    • what else????
  3. Begin some sort of password screening to allow Club members only to access some pages.

At this point, the only other O club that has set up such an electronic newsletter is the Hudson Valley O Club. Judging from the archived bulletin board postings, club participation is good.

If you have an opinion on how to expand and enhance our newsletter, our "club" feeling among members, and our communications, please write or call Newsletter Editor Clark Maxfield (773 477-0987), President Carl Larsson (847 918-9225) or Webmaster Michael Collins (847 222-9253).

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