2020 Orienteering Ottawa  Annual Awards

Introduction

2020 was a year without competitive events, sprints, O-Fest, etc. However, many members of the club were still very active with the kids and outreach programs, mapping, fall Sunday events, and MapRunF courses. We had a great fall season and we simply made the best out of the year 2020. We had many orienteers that despite the challenges and restrictions showed passion, sportsmanship and resilience. Even with limited orienteering opportunities this year it was even more important to continue these awards to acknowledge love and dedication to orienteering. We would like to thank everyone who took time to reflect and sent in the nominations.

This year marks the 5th year that we are presenting these club awards.

Four club awards were established to recognize Orienteering Ottawa members each year. The awards were named in memory of Brian Graham, Pat de St. Croix, Colin Kirk and Pierre Brassard, past members of the orienteering community, to celebrate their unique contributions to our sport. The formation of the awards was inspired in 2016 by a donation by CH2M (now Jacobs), a company where Brian Graham worked.

Colin Kirk Memorial Award - Aspiring Junior of the Year

The Colin Kirk Award recognizes Colin’s connection to Junior Development in our club. Colin Kirk was one of Canada's orienteering pioneers. As Executive Director for over 20 years, most of them in a volunteer role, he was instrumental in the growth of the sport across the country in the 70's and 80's. Of the many aspects of orienteering that benefited from Colin’s involvement, one that stands out was his support and encouragement of junior athletes. The Colin Kirk Memorial Award honors a young Orienteering Ottawa athlete who: 

Past recipients: 2016 Thomas Lindale; 2017 Evan Raz; 2018 Evan Gibbard; 2019 Lukas Raz

2020 Recipient: presented by Jeff Teutsch

Hayden SmithThe 2020 Aspiring Junior of the Year is one of Ottawa’s quietest your orienteers but also one of it’s keenest. This young orienteer started orienteering with the club’s youth programs years ago and his passion for the sport has grown steadily ever since. In 2019 he attended his first out of town races including the Canadian Championships and no doubt this year he would have shown that he has the potential to be one of Canada’s best young orienteers. Alas that was not to be. This year, despite the pandemic, he has started making significant progress on the advanced courses, having participated in most of our fall events, and even placing 3rd on one of the short advanced courses.

As a keen member of our Train to Train program he has brought his whole family into orienteering and encouraged a friend to join the program as well. He is a great ambassador for our sport and with his younger siblings participating in the youth programs this fall volunteered to help other young orienteers get excited about orienteering.

Hayden's steady love of the sport is very evident to anyone that has gotten to know him.

It is our pleasure tp present the  Colin Kirk Aspiring Junior of the year award  to Hayden Smith.

Pat de St. Croix Memorial Award - Volunteer of the Year 

Pat de St. Croix was an outstanding contributor to the development of the sport of orienteering in Canada. She was a fixture in the orienteering community from the very earliest days of Orienteering in Canada - the early 70s. She worked tirelessly for our sport at the club (Niagara and Ottawa) and at the national level as COF President in the 1980's. She was a volunteer who stood out among volunteers. The Pat de St. Croix Memorial Award recognizes Pat’s volunteerism by honoring an Orienteering Ottawa member who has, over the past year:

Past recipients: 2016 Rob Haddow; 2017 Anita Brattland; 2018 Richard and Lorna Guttormson; 2019 Karen Tippett

2020 Recipient: presented by Richard Guttormson

 Rorry HardingLike for any organization and any sport, sustainability is key to our club and to orienteering in Ottawa. A key element of sustainability is growth – attracting new participants and members.

Several folks have been active in attracting new participants and developing orienteering and our club with advertising, outreach and training.

This year’s recipient has gone beyond his duty when doing outreach and he generates new members and new passions for orienteering. His outreach efforts to schools, cadets and elsewhere in the community have grown, and even during COVID the outreach has been more successful than ever before. This is because of the recipient’s contacts, friendliness, passion and successful relationship and engagement with the community.

He has introduced thousands of newcomers to the sport at this point through Basic and Beyond and other clinics. His successful orienteering program with Cadets also adds to the club’s revenues. He was instrumental in the creation of a permanent Orienteering course in Kanata and he is always looking at what we can do next to get more people involved and make orienteering more visible. He is a generous and kind mentor to others to support the expansion of the outreach activities.

The recipient is a member of the training committee and can also be seen transporting the club trailer to events.

Please join me in congratulating our Pat de St Croix volunteer of the year,  Rorry Harding.

Pierre Brassard Memorial Award - Orienteering Spirit 

Pierre, a former club president, was always smiling, always full of life, always out to beat the orienteering course. He particularly loved the longer events, but he enjoyed every orienteering format. Pierre was welcoming, he was friendly, he was encouraging, he challenged himself, and he had fun. The Pierre Brassard Memorial Award recognizes Pierre’s spirit and is awarded to an Orienteering Ottawa member who has :

Past recipients: 2016 Francis Kawam; 2017 Anne and Eric Teustch; 2018 Linda Connell ; 2019 Randy Kemp

2020 Recipient: presented by Cherie Revells

Mike Raz at COC2017This year’s recipient of the Pierre Brassard Orienteering Spirit award did not let his passion for orienteering waver in the face of COVID-19. Very early in the spring lockdown, he began investigating a way that we could continue to orienteer safely without gathering together or touching anything. He brought in MapRun - GPS-based solo orienteering with a printed copy of the map and a cellphone or smart-watch that beeps when you get to the control site. He has set up a number of courses on maps all over the city, wrote instructions, assisted course planners, updated our website, and more. He even went so far as to help some other clubs get things set up and was in regular communication with the app developers to help improve the experience and the process.

This individual has been heavily involved in Orienteering Ottawa for many years as an active board member and past chair of the club's training committee. He enthusiastically shares his love of the sport with newcomers, leading many of our beginner clinics. In the winter, expect to see him exploring snowshoe orienteering opportunities for the club. You’ll see him out at most events, dreaming for the day when he might not get smoked by his two boys.

Please join me in congratulating this year’s Pierre Brassard Orienteering Spirit award winner…  Mike Raz.

Brian Graham Memorial Award - Orienteer of the Year 

Brian Graham was an elite orienteer for many years representing Canada at international competitions in Europe and North America. He was involved in Orienteering Ottawa as an athlete, meet official, mapper, coach, and a mentor. Brian held several Canadian and North American Orienteering Championships medals and he competed in M21 categories well beyond his age, running the elite categories for as long as he was able. In the 80's and 90’s he competed in many World Orienteering Championships, with his best finish being 36th in 1993 Champs in West Point, USA.

He also was an exceptional course setter officiating many club events and setting courses for numerous B-meet, A-meets, and championships, as well as being involved in coaching clinics. Those who worked with Brian on course setting may have known that he particularly loved incorporating at least one long leg that would offer many route choices.

Brian was known as true sportsman, a role model and an inspiration.

The recipient of this award will have:

Past recipients: 2016 Robert Graham; 2017 Emily Kemp; 2018 Stefan Bergström; 2019 Eric Kemp

 2020 Recipient: presented by Andrew Cornett

 Alex Bergstrom at COC2017 The 2020 Brian Graham Memorial Award is awarded to a local orienteer who has represented Canada at four junior world orienteering championships (2012-2015), and since turning 21 has stood on the elite podium at many Canadian and North American events. This orienteer has achieved great results in all disciplines, and excels in middle distance races, where his excellent map reading and navigational skills can win out over running speed. For example, this local athlete was Canadian middle distance champion in 2016, snagged first place in the 2019 O-Fest middle distance race, and second in the 2019 O-Fest long. Although no longer a member of Orienteering Canada’s High Performance Program, this orienteer still achieves excellent results, especially in tough conditions and tricky terrain.

This orienteer has also contributed to the success of our club in many ways, by making maps, organizing local meets, mentoring others, fabricating equipment for club events (like a totally awesome awards podium!) and creating and donating unique and beautiful hand-made gifts for Orienteering Canada silent auctions. In recent years (including 2020) this orienteer regularly demonstrated his outstanding dedication, perseverance, and passion for orienteering by continuing to attend and perform very well at most local meets, despite having moved to live and work over 3 hours away deep in Algonquin Park! He is a great team player, friend to many, extremely modest and humble, and such a good athlete inside and out!

Please join me in congratulating Alex Bergstrom, recipient of the 2020 Brian Graham Memorial Award for Outstanding Orienteer.