Extraordinary Moray kids continue to buck a national trend

Easter Project Group

Moray youngsters will be demonstrating a little bit of magic with a map when they take part in a two-day event at Roseisle Forest this Easter weekend.

The Moravian Orienteering Club is teaming up with Milne’s ASG Active Schools co-ordinator Donna Brown and Scottish Orienteering’s regional development officer Mike Rodgers to further hone the skills learned in Moray’s schools in recent years.

According to a study conducted by nPower, 81% of UK children aged between five and 13 have difficulties reading a map – however, that is not the case in Moray where pupils have been taking part in their hundreds in a wide-ranging programme of orienteering skills training.

Over the last month a team has been working on putting together this weekend’s event for which the opening session, on Easter Sunday, will form part of the Forestry Commission’s Easter Extravaganza family open day.

Youngsters will be setting out three courses of varying length and difficulty with the idea that anyone can come along and try their hand at running with a map. And to make sure that nobody misses out they will be repeating the event the next day, which will also mean that people can come back and try to beat their time from before.

“We’re calling this our orienteering experience” 11-year-old Nadine Corbett said. The Milne’s Primary School pupil added: “It’s been a good orienteering experience for us, as well as the people who will take part.

“That’s because we’ve had to do everything from designing the courses to learning how to work the computers and designing posters to advertise our event. We even had to go through a risk assessment to make sure that everything we’ve done is safe and we’ve thought through what we’ll do in an emergency such as if someone gets injured on the course.”

Class mate Hannah Kingham is a member of Moravian club and already a veteran at course planning. She designed the courses for one of the club’s competitions last year, and her skills have become so advanced that project supervisor Mike Rodgers admitted that he’d had almost no input – “I just sat there and watched” he said.

Entry to the event, which starts at 1pm on Easter Sunday and 12pm on Monday, is by donation to the charity which is aptly called “Lucy’s Fight”. The team are asking for a minimum of £2 from children and £3 from adults – “But People are welcome to donate more!” said publicity spokesgirl Carrie Brown from Lhanbryde Primary School.

Mike Rodgers said: “This has been an excellent opportunity for the children to learn all sorts of skills that will stand them in good stead when they move up to secondary school and beyond.

“Orienteering is a sport like no other for linking to other areas of the curriculum. As well playing their part in building up the excitement ahead of this summer’s amazing orienteering week, these pupils have discovered how to work as a team. They will get chance to practice their people-facing and communication skills on the days of the event, and the fact that we’re doing the exact same event twice over will mean they can consolidate their learning.”

The courses on offer at Roseisle are White (1.8 m for complete beginners), Yellow (2.3 Km for novices) and Orange (3.1 Km for those who want a trickier challenge). Moravian are hosting the event details on their web site www.moravianorienteering.org.

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