Recollections and surprises about being a helper at DVO events

Amanda and Andy staffing Registration at Carsington, June 2023. The Finish there was a km away from Parking and Download, and flushed finishers appreciated the chance to pause and chat!

Amanda Price reflects on our DVO community

At some point, once you’ve enrolled as a DVO member you’ll be asked if you want to join and help in one of the teams: Parking, Registration, Enquiries, Start, Finish, Download, or Control Collecting. At this point, if you do have a preference, then it’s a good idea to say so – so do ask. It’s also a good idea to move around – maybe do a season or two on one team and then swap. This is particularly helpful if you want to organise events one day as you will understand how all the ‘bits of the machine’ work. However, loyalty is also valued highly by all the team leaders, so it really is your choice.

An unusually quiet start at Eyam Moor in January

I think I was happy, when I began, simply to be placed wherever, and so I was asked to join the Start Team. If you haven’t quite grasped the basics of orienteering, for example that the red triangle on the map indicates the location of the start kite (not the starting grid), and there’s no control on it, then you’re already learning! And, of course, you get to know the team – a friendly face at the start of your race is always an advantage. Each team will have its own insights and bonuses regarding the sport, and it really does help, when you start to go to bigger events to be able to spot a familiar face – someone who is probably as keen as you to discuss how the race went.

A happy customer and Download Team Leader at Elvaston Castle in February

 

As you volunteer more, you realise more, just how much help is needed to put on each
event. Events don’t happen without planners, organisers, and controllers, but they also don’t happen without a whole bunch of helpers, and this realisation, that you’ve played your part, lightens the burden of any ‘could have done better runs’ – trust me! Not only that, but when you ‘play away’ at another club’s event, you’re free as a bird, and that can bring results too!

The surprises don’t stop there – for those of us still in, or beginning the business of applying for universities, apprenticeships, and permanent or summer jobs (that was me 2 years ago), you are always likely to be asked about pastimes and commitment to any club or organisation. When I said I was a team leader at my latest interview, the years rolled off me, the interviewees nodded and I’m sure it helped.

As for this next memory, I’m hoping it is almost behind me now … but life and orienteering sometimes leave you ill or injured, and out of the game. If you’re on a team you can still show up and help, and this can be useful in all kinds of ways. There are a couple of DVO members who are in or have been in the world of medicine, and there’s a wealth of folk who’ve experienced a break, a strain, a rupture etc and can, not only offer sympathy, but often give sound advice [also in the area of hip replacements – Ed.]. And by just continuing to come to events, you can be hopeful, and even motivated to get back out into the woods soon!

I’ll be completely honest, now, and say that there are times and events when we struggle to get helpers. At Ashbourne we had to rope in Stuart Swalwell’s wife and my sister and brother-in-law, on Registration and Parking. Suffice to say they all enjoyed the experience, and another DVO event happened, without magic!

So, please do keep volunteering to help, offer to help again and give it a go, whatever your age! And do feel free to change your team – Derwent Valley Orienteers is one big club. There’ll always be someone to cover your helper role while you have a half-price run, too! Just ‘Contact Us’ via the website: derwentvalleyorienteers.org.uk and select Membership Secretary or ask any helper at an event.

Indeed, a big ‘thank you’ to all our helpers!

Future events

Thursday 18 April 2024
Markeaton

Thursday 25 April 2024
Chester Green

Sat 4 and Sat 11 May 2024
MapActive

Recent results

Sunday 3 March 2024
Shipley Country Park

Saturday 10 February 2024
Elvaston Castle

Sunday 21 January 2024
Eyam Moor

Routegadget (view routes)

MapRun Results

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Derwent Valley Orienteers are a friendly, active club with members throughout Derbyshire.

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We’re supported by the Orienteering Foundation

In 2023, thanks to a grant from the Orienteering Foundation, our Club is focusing on offering training courses for newcomers and help at local events in the Derby Area and beyond, but open to people from across Derbyshire.