Learn to Train Program (9-12 year olds)

COVID-19 Update

Updated 2021-02-22

As it stands right now we are operating under the assumption that we will 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. 

See COVID-modified programs.

If you are curious to know what our regular program looks like, read on below (last updated spring 2021). 


Our Learn to Train program is our youth orienteering program for boys and girls 9 to 12 years old. Over the course of 8 weeks participants will improve their map reading and navigation skills as well as their running, agility, strength, confidence in and enjoyment of the outdoors.

We have designed the program with the following broad goals for participants, all taught through a variety of activities and exercises designed to keep kids moving:

  • To make friends.
  • To enjoy being outdoors and in the woods and exploring, playing, and running in the woods and other ‘wild’ environments both on and off trail.
  • After one or two seasons they should be able to confidently navigate around novice level orienteering courses and more challenging park courses.
  • The more advanced Learn to Train level participants should be able to successfully navigate intermediate level orienteering courses (course that takes participants periodically off trails)
  • To improve their physical fitness, running, and agility.

All of our programs are aligned with Orienteering Canada and Sport for Life's guidelines for age appropriate sport and orienteering. 

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

Have younger or older kids or want to try orienteering yourself? Our Learn to Train program is offered at the same time as our FUNdamentals program for 6-9 year olds, our Adventure Program and our Basics and Beyond introductory program for adults.

Girls Group!

We ran our first season with a Girls Group this past spring and it was very successful. We are still in the process of recruiting coaches but as long as we have coaches available and there are enough girls signed up we will run the Girls Group again this spring (we anticipate this only being the case for the Tuesday 6:30-7:30 program).  The intent is to provide a comfortable social environment for 9-12 year old girls to get outside and get active with a female coach and leaders.  The coach will have the flexibility to engage the girls with a variety of activities that suits the group. 

Times and Locations

We offer our Learn to Train program twice a year, with a spring season and a fall season.
Each season runs for 8 weeks and visits two different venues for 4 weeks each.

For some of our locations, we offer sessions in several time slots. When you register, you can specify which time and location you are signing up for.

Spring 2020 (April - May)

Locations Times Dates Venue 1 Venue 2 Events and Competitions
Ottawa East Monday evenings, 6:30 April 6, 13**, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18**, 25 

Green's Creek south (from Tauvette St)*
(April  6 - 27)

Bilberry Creek (from l'École élémentaire catholique Reine-des-Bois)*
(May 4 - 25)
Free family pass entry to Pinhey’s Point Family Day (details tbd).
Free family pass entry usable at any one of our regularly priced events.
Ottawa West Tuesday evenings, 5:00 OR 6:30 April 7, 14, 21, 28, May 5, 12, 19, 26  Wesley Clover Parks Campground* (April 7 - 28)
Meet at the Kanata Nordic / lower campground parking lot just east of the top of the hill.
Bell Centennial Arena* (May 5 - May 26)
Meet at the trailhead at the end of the gravel parking lot on Bruin Ln.
Free family pass entry to Pinhey’s Point Family Day (details tbd).
Free family pass entry usable at any one of our regularly priced events.

Fall 2020 (September - October)

For info about Fall programs see our COVID-modified programs page.

*We are still confirming permits for these venues for the spring season. 

** East end programs WILL run on Holiday Mondays. 

Info Sessions

Each season we offer a free info session 1 or 2 weeks prior to the start of our programs. These sessions are designed for parents and children alike.  For parents we discuss our various youth programs and offer a chance to ask any questions you might have. For children we offer an hour of program activities with some of our experienced coaches.

For the 2020 spring season we have one info session organized:

Monday, March 30, 6:30-7:30pm in Orleans

Tuesday, March 31, 6:30-7:30pm at Wesley Clover Parks


No formal competition is included as part of the Learn to Train program.

Keen orienteers are encouraged to participate regularly in our Sunday morning events series as well as other local events such as Ottawa O-Fest and provincial champs when hosted in Ottawa.

Registration includes a free family day pass to one of our seasonal Family days (at Pinhey’s Point in the Spring or our Vampire-O in late October) and a free family pass to one of our Sunday morning Spring or Fall series events.

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 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.
Headlamp (fall only)
Your headlamp should be at least 120 lumens.
A sense of adventure!
Do we really need to explain this one?

Coaching and Volunteering

We are always 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.

Each Learn to Train program will be split into 2 levels (assuming there are enough kids to justify doing so) with less experienced (new) / younger kids in the 1st group and more experienced / older kids in the 2nd group. Each group will have one or two group coaches with 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 works with the group assistants to lead a group of 10-15 kids.
Group assistant
Group assistants work with the group coach to make sure everyone in the group is present at all times, marshal kids where needed and keep the program running smoothly. We like to have two group assistants with each group of 10 to 15 kids.
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.

If you don't feel prepared to help out, but still want to get involved, consider joining our Basics and Beyond program for parents and others new to orienteering. In 8 weeks you'll be brought up to speed while your kids enjoy their own fun-filled program.

Note: All parent volunteers will be asked to fill out a screening disclosure form prior to working with the kids in the program. We will provide this to you prior to the start of the program.

Want to see more about our coaching plan (and our approach to coaching)? Check out our coaching plan and philosophy document.

Weather and Safety Policies

All of our programs are rain or shine (or snow or wind…). Only in the event of dangerous conditions arising due to an electrical storm or other extreme weather will a program session be canceled, in which case we will send out an e-mail two hours prior to the start of the session.

There are a few risks to be aware of when playing and spending time wild areas in the 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 our safety page (page de sécurité et éthique).

To see the club’s full weather policy as well as our program behaviour and safety policies check out our policy manual.


All official communication for this program will be done via e-mail. We will be adding you to an e-mail list after you sign up. Please do not unsubscribe from this list as you will no longer receive important notification 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 e-mail confirmation when you register.

You can also expect to receive e-mails 3 weeks and 1 week before the start of the program with pre-season program information and details.

Note that program e-mails are sent from a mail list server and some email systems will sort our e-mails (at least at first) into junk or spam boxes - please check for these e-mails there if you don't get them when you expect to.

Registration info


Spring registration is closed. 

Fall registration will open in June.

Cost: $130 per child per season (includes a $6.40 online registration fee)

This cost includes:

  • 8 one hour program sessions over 8 weeks
  • An annual Orienteering membership ($10 value) which provides you with discounts on club events
  • 1 Family pass entry to our seasonal Family Day (see included events above)
  • 1 Family pass entry usable at any one of our Sunday morning Spring or Fall Series events ($32 value)

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..