Getting More Kids Outdoors is the Goal of Red Deer Orientation Sessions – Red Deer Advocate

The children spent hours exploring the great outdoors.

Well, those sunny days can again – and counter the popularity of electronics, says Bogi Gyorfi, executive director of the Alberta Orienteering Association.

Gyorfi agrees with parents who believe that too much time spent in front of the computer is becoming a problem for many young people, who spend too many hours indoors. “We seek to motivate and get children to play outside in the fresh air.”

The Alberta Orienteering Association offers spring map reading and navigation programs for children ages 6 to 12 in communities across the province. Gyorfi hopes to interest children in the Red Deer area in the program, which begins in May, under the guidance of certified local coaches.

She knows that many young people don’t like sports, but would still benefit from outdoor challenges to build confidence, exercise and develop their team building skills.

Orienteering can be a lot like a scavenger hunt or geocaching, except kids use topographic maps to find natural landmarks. “You do your checks on the map and navigate by landmarks and features,” Gyorfi said.

This helps in understanding how to find your bearings outdoors, which is a boon for campers and hikers. But Gyorfi thinks it carries over to other aspects of life too: “You learn to problem solve together, you exercise and you have an outdoor adventure…

“We play games for fun and to develop basic running skills, agility and endurance.”

She hopes enough kids will sign up for Red Deer’s program so teams can be split into three different age brackets.

The orientation program includes obstacle courses, agility training and other activities as well as map and compass work.

“Our long-term vision is to establish a local club…to continue to provide orienteering activities in the Red Deer area,” Gyorfi said. “We hope to grow this community-based outdoor program in Red Deer where children can build their skills, confidence and motivation to be active outdoors for life. »

She hopes to foster a family-oriented outdoor program to involve not only children, but also young leaders and parents.

The six-week session will take place on Tuesday evenings and will cost $60 per child. but Gyorfi said the association has grants and subsidies available for low-income families and underrepresented groups, including Indigenous children and children with disabilities.

The registration deadline is April 30. For more information, please visit

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Alberta Orienteering wants to introduce children in Red Deer to map and compass reading through races, obstacle courses and other games. (Photo added).

Dino J. Dotson