SOS offers a number of fun ways to introduce children and young people to orienteering and to help juniors progress within the sport.
We have links with a number of local primary and secondary schools throughout North Essex. Your child may have attended one of our very popular annual Schools Days with their school at a local park, where we introduce hundreds of children to the sport.
We run free monthly training sessions for juniors at a number of our mapped venues around Essex and occasionally into South Suffolk. You do not need to be a member to take part in these sessions. Families are encouraged to come along together and give it a go.
We also provide junior activity days and weekend training camps where we take the juniors to exciting venues further afield. Previous sessions have included sprint-orienteering training in the Olympic Park with a trip up the Orbit, orienteering and white-water rafting in the Lea Valley Park and contour training at Great Tower activity centre in the Lake District.
One of the older club juniors is selected by the club committee to be SOS Juniors Captain. The Junior Captain has an important role in encouraging and supporting the juniors.
For juniors the Colour Coded Badge scheme is a great way to chart your progress through the range of colour coded courses.
Juniors are encouraged to participate in a number of fun competitions:
Local Junior Competitions
The Essex & Suffolk Schools Orienteering League (ESSOL) is competition where juniors from Year 3 - Year 13 can represent their schools or youth organisations or just compete as an individual. The league runs during the school year. The top three in each age group receive an award. Read about our schools league on the ESSOL (Essex and Suffolk Schools Orienteering League) page
SOS Junior Club Championships - This is an annual competition which takes place alongside the Club Champs at one of our neighbouring club's events. A trophy is awarded to the most successful club junior based on a special scoring system, which means juniors of all ages and experience on different courses can compete against each other.
SOS Juniors League
The league uses the same scoring system as the SOS Junior Club Champs. Any SOS Junior member will be included. Just run your preferred course and our scoring system will work out the overall placings. The top three in each calendar year receive a trophy.
National Junior Competitions
SOS Juniors are encouraged to join the teams representing Essex Stragglers at national competitions such as the Yvette Baker Junior Shield/Trophy, The Peter Palmer Junior Relays, British Orienteering Championships, The JK & the CompassSport Trophy.
British Schools Orienteering Championships (BSOA)
The club encourage and support juniors in participating in the national schools championships. A number of our Juniors have even been selected to represent the British Schools -England team in the World Schools Championships.
At colour coded events we offer a range of courses with different levels of difficulty. We recommend that juniors start out with a simple 'White' standard course which is set-up to help guide the children safely along the route. Children as young as Year 3 (7-8 years old) should be able to tackle a white course, perhaps accompanied by an adult to start with. As confidence increases, they can run in pairs or by themselves, perhaps shadowed if need be, and then completely independently. It is OK for young inexperienced juniors to run a course in pairs and be considered competitive. A keen junior may want to have a second run after they have finished their first course and we encourage this. Non-competitive second runs are free of charge! Juniors can then progress through the colours as they develop their skills.
We also run low key events such as the Summer and Winter Series and although some of these take place in urban areas we still encourage juniors to participate, with under 16s running with a parent.