COVID-modified Youth Programs

2021 Spring update (last updated February 22nd): As it stands right now we are operating under the assumption that we wil be going ahead with programs in a similar capacity as last fall. Participants will be grouped in groups of up to 9 kids with a total group maximum of 12 people including coaches and volunteers and we will run three groups at a time. 

The board of directors will be meeting in early March and we will provide more information after that. Assuming we are able to go ahead with programs starting in April we anticipate having program information and registration up in the middle of March. 

If you are not sure if this program is a good fit for your child please contact our Program Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Fall 2020 Times and Locations

This fall we will run two sets of four weeks of programming back to back in different locations. 

Sessions are on Saturdays with choice of time:

  • 11:00-12:30 (Sold out for Sept 19 - Oct 10)
  • 13:00-14:30

The first four weeks will run from September 19th to October 10th at Mooney’s Bay*.

The second four weeks will run from October 17th to November 7th at Britannia Park*. 

We will not be running any special extra events as part of the program this season. We will however be running family friendly events on Sunday mornings (see details here) which we encourage you to come out and try. 

*We are still confirming permits for these venues. 

Changes Due to COVID-19

The health and safety of our participants is a number one priority for us. For this reason, we have made some changes as to how our youth programs take place. The key changes are as follows:

  • Sessions will take place on Saturdays during the day (rather than in the dark during the week)
  • Weekly sessions will be 90 minutes long to allow for various changes required to run the program safely and effectively
  • Kids will be put together in groups of no more than 9 (plus 1 to 3 coaches) and we will have no more than 3 groups running at a time
  • The program will focus more on fun orienteering activities and less on orienteering skill development activities that require closer contact between instructors and kids
  • Rather than offering separate programs for different ages / skill levels we will be grouping participants together based on a number of factors. As part of registration we will ask whether you feel comfortable having your children in separate groups or would rather have them kept together
  • All participants will be expected to follow social distancing and other COVID related guidelines including wearing masks when gathered to hear instructions. *We will be sharing a COVID rules and guidelines document as soon as we have it prepared
  • All participants (including coaches and volunteers) will be required to fill out and drop off a declaration of health form each time they show up
  • Coaches and volunteers will receive training and be given a comprehensive list of guidelines to follow in order to comply with COVID-specific health regulations
  • We are relaxing our refund policy to accommodate families that have to withdraw from the program for COVID related reasons (see registration section at the bottom of this page for more)

Info Sessions

Due to the complications related to implementing COVID-19 safety measures we will not be running any pre-season info sessions this fall. 

Coming Prepared

Please bring the following with you to the program each week:

Running shoes
Trail running shoes with a good tread are ideal. Please do not come in rubber boots. You will slip all over the place and there is a good chance you will get water over the top of them which then fills up the boot and doesn't drain.
Long running pants
We recommend your child wear some sort of full-length athletic pants because we will be running in long grass and in the woods which like to scratch at bare legs.
Clothes that can get dirty
Remember to dress ready to run in clothes that are appropriate for the weather. It is likely to vary greatly throughout the season so check the forecast before you leave home. We guarantee that you will get to enjoy the mud at least once!
Water bottle
There will be a spot you can leave a  water bottle for the hour so you won't need to carry it with you.
A basic precaution for all Orienteering Ottawa events and programs.
Face masks
We are asking all parents and participants to wear a face mask when gathered close proximity such as when getting instructions at the start of the session. Face masks may be removed when participating in program activities. 
A sense of adventure!
Do we really need to explain this one?


This fall we are greatly simplifying our program and event schedules so that we can focus on the elements critical to offering safe orienteering opportunities. 

This means that we are not offering any additional events or official competitions as part of any of our programs. 

However we will still be running family friendly events on Sunday mornings so if you are interesting in getting in more orienteering we encourage you to check those out (link to come).

Coaching and Volunteering

Our volunteering and coaching structure is going to look a little different this season but we are still looking for help coordinating the kids during practice. If you are interested in volunteering and enjoy running (or even if you don't), please join us! You will be able to let us know your volunteer preferences when you register for the program.

All parent volunteers will be asked to:

  • Fill out a screening disclosure form (provided by the club) prior to working with the kids in the program
  • Complete the volunteer training session on Saturday, September 12th
  • Implement and follow COVID-specific guidelines for volunteers and coaches(a list of these guidelines will be provided by the club)*

*Volunteers that do not follow these guidelines may no longer volunteer with the program.


Each group will have 1 or 2 group coaches (ideally folks with at least some orienteering experience) and a few group assistants (see below). We also need some on site assistants. Descriptions for these roles are as follows:

Group coach
Group coaches are responsible for delivering the material provided in the lesson plan by the head coach and work with the group assistants to lead the group. Coaches will also be responsible for ensuring the group is maintaining social distancing and other COVID related safety guidelines. 
Group assistant
Group assistants work with the group coach to make sure everyone in the group is present at all times, to marshal kids where needed, and to keep the program running smoothly. We are aiming to have a ratio of 1:3 or 1:2 adults to children.
Group assistants are responsible for helping the coach in ensuring the group is maintaining social distancing and other COVID related safety guidelines.
On-site assistant
On-site assistants are responsible for making sure everyone gets checked in and out, keeping an eye on equipment at the meeting point and pointing people in the right direction if they are running a little late.

Want to see more about our approach to coaching? Check out our Coaching Plan and Philosophy Document.

Weather and Safety Policies

All of our programs take place rain or shine (or snow or wind). That said, in the event of dangerous weather conditions, or if we otherwise feel conditions are such that we cannot adequately follow all of the necessary COVID-19 precautions, we will cancel  the program session. If we decide to cancel a session we will send out an email out no later than 2 hours prior to the start of the session.

We do not guarantee refunds for cancelled sessions but if we cancel more than one session in the season we will look at how we can compensate families for the missed sessions.

There are a few risks to be aware of when spending time in wild areas outdoors. The major ones in the Ottawa area are ticks, poison ivy, and wild parsnip. We will teach about basic safety precautions in the first week of the program. It’s also a good idea to read through oursafety page.

To see the club’s full weather policy as well as our program behaviour and safety policies, check out our policy manual. We are currently working on a COVID-specific addendum to our policy manual which will be published as soon as we have it prepared.


All official communication for this program will be done via email. We will be adding participants to an email list after they sign up. Please do not unsubscribe from this list as you will no longer receive important notifications about the program. We clear the list at the end of each season before adding the next season’s participants to the list.

You will receive an email confirmation when you register. You can also expect to receive emails 1.5-2 weeks prior to the start of the program and also a few days before your first session with pre-season program information and details.

Note that program emails are sent from a mail list server and some email systems will sort our emails into junk or spam boxes. Please check for our emails there if you do not get them when you expect to.

Registration info


This fall you have the option of signing up for either 8 weeks or one of two 4 week sessions (taking place Sept 19-Oct 10 and Oct 17-Nov 7). If you sign up for the first 4 week session and decide partway through that you want to sign up for the second as well, you may do so. The program is being set up specifically so that participants that sign up for the second 4 week session are not missing out relative to those that are doing both 4 weeks. 

Cost (per child):

  • $100 for 4 week session (includes a ~$5 online registration fee)
  • $170 for 8 weeks (includes an ~$8 online registration fee)

Fees also include a 2020 club membership valued at $10. 

You may note that these costs are higher than in past seasons. This is due to two things:

  1. Our programs this fall are 1.5 hours per week instead of 1 hour per week.
  2. Smaller group sizes and more coaching time are required to implement COVID safety measures.

If you require financial assistance, please contact our program coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Under normal circumstances we do not offer refunds after the first night of the program and offer 50% of the registration fee between 1 month before and the day the program starts. But these are not normal circumstances.  We understand that folks may withdraw from the program for a number of valid reasons. So we are relaxing our refund policy and will be reviewing requests for refunds on a case by case basis.

Note: All participants (parents) will need to agree to a standard waiver declaration at the first program evening.

Any questions can be directed to our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..