Mt Airy Forest, Cincinnati, Ohio
September 28, 2008
Cincinnati Great Outdoors Weekend

Bobbi and Greg Sack, Event Directors

On September 14, remnants of Hurricane Ike hit Cincinnati, knocking down many trees and limbs.  Mt. Airy was completely closed to the public for some time, and until 2 days before this event, we expected it to be completely cancelled...

Event report by Greg Sack:

Well, after being called off, then on again but only on one trail and not the one we had set the course on, then being told that there would be no events allowed in the park at all, and then being told that it might happen but we would know nothing until Thursday, we were able to pull off the Treasure Hunt and White course today. The work crews cleaned up a huge amount of debris including walnuts (and other ankle breakers) and downed limbs and caution taped large areas around "widow maker" hanging branches. We got the OK after Bobbi and the Parks person that has to OK the opening of these areas walked the course together on Thursday. We had to promise to tell everyone that only the areas we used were open, they were to stay on the trail and in the grass, and the rest of the park was closed.

Bobbi and Pat from LaBouteaux Woods Nature Center staffed for Parks and I volunteered for OCIN. There were 105 participants ranging in ages from toddler through older middle aged. When 11 am came around and all was in readiness there were only two family groups there and we thought this was going to be a bust. We had heard that it had been listed on the GOW (Great Outdoors Weekend) site as cancelled as late as Friday. Apparently the Parks person that first found this out had it corrected as soon as she found it, so we don't know how many more we might have seen today otherwise.

Around noon we noticed a definite increase in the rate of people arriving. It had been getting slowly busier. We were pretty busy with rotating between the three of us in registering people and giving instruction. Pat was primarily in charge of registration, but when Bobbi and I were both busy, she would take a group and we would cover for her. By one it was a happenin' place! Kids were coming back from the Treasure Hunt beaming and looking to try White. Some were finishing the white course and wishing we had the Yellow available. Others were signing in while more were getting instruction.

It was especially gratifying to see how many people were talking about checking the OCIN site for other events. I would say about a quarter of the attendees have come to previous events, but about half had never done orienteering before. A couple of families were actively shopping for outdoor activities that they could engage in together. The last family to leave stayed about 1/2 hour after everyone else was in asking questions and finding out more about our sport.

All in all, I wish I had known sooner that this intro to O event would actually happened and that I could have asked for more volunteers. I did not feel right asking for this help when there was not a full event to go along with it and when we were not entirely sure it would actually happen. We certainly did not expect 105 participants! We handled it, but I think it would have gone better with more help, and it would have been nice for members of the club to share the excitement of people discovering this cool sport.

results of previous local event (East Fork, July 20, 2008)

results of next local event (East Fork, October 4, 2008)

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