Event Planning Checklist
This checklist covers everything both the Meet Director and Course Setter need to do to plan and execute a successful B-level orienteering event. You may want to print this out and check things off as you accomplish them.
While the Meet Director and Course Setter should work closely together, they have specialized roles. In general, the Meet Director is responsible for managing the event and for organizational tasks such as the event permit paperwork, event announcements and results write-ups, equipment procurement, and volunteer coordination.
The Course Setter does the field work of designing and setting the courses; arranges for the maps, control descriptions, and E-punching (if used); and writes the Course Setter's Notes. (Some meets may have two Course Setters, for example, one for the WYO courses and one for the advanced courses.)
This checklist has been divided into tasks for the Meet Director (MD), the Course Setter (CS), and tasks for which both people should be involved (MD, CS). Of course, you are free to change the task assignments between yourselves.
- More Than 4 Months Before the Event
- 3 to 4 Months Before the Event
- 2 Months Before the Event
- 2 Weeks Before the Event
- The Week Before the Event
- The Day of the Event (MD)
- The Week After the Event (MD)
More Than 4 Months Before the Event
- MD, CS: Talk with the previous Meet Director and the BAOC regarding the park contacts, facilities, policies, any map problems, and previous courses.
- MD, CS: Contact park officials to confirm your event date, determine their restrictions and regulations, ask about any environmentally-sensitive areas, and get permission for the event. Do this as soon as possible. You should also start the formal event permit application at this time, as this can take time to be approved.
- MD: Contact the to obtain the Certificate of Insurance. This can take a while, so start this as soon as possible. State parks and East Bay regional parks have special requirements. Others accept standard insurance certificates. Make sure you know what is required for your park, and let the Insurance Coordinator know exactly what is needed. Issuance of the event permit is generally dependent on proof of insurance, so start this early.
- As an OUSA member club, BAOC receives liability insurance coverage for all of our events.
- Current OUSA insurance (as of 2012) covers the club for vehicle liability under what is called a "Hired and Non-owned" Auto Policy, which are vehicles either rented or whose use is effectively donated by a volunteer (e.g., a volunteer using their own car for club purposes). This includes shuttles during events. This insurance is excess over the individual's personal auto insurance, and coverage does not extend to damages to a vehicle or to bodily injury to volunteer drivers or their passengers. Also, it does not cover transporting anyone to or from an event. For more information, please contact the .
- CS, MD: Visit the park to become familiar with its terrain and facilities.
- CS: Decide what types of courses to have (usually point-to-point for maps of wilderness parks, and Score-O for urban parks, but it's your call). Review the OUSA and BAOC Course Setting Guidelines (http://baoc.org/volunteer/dir_guide/course_set.php).
- Point-to-point events must have White, Yellow, Orange, and at least one advanced course. The order of preference for advanced courses is Green, Red, Brown, and then Blue. You can also set a Pink (long White) course for beginners, but that's a low-priority course.
- Score-O events must be designed with beginners in mind. This can be accommodated by providing a White course, a separate beginners Score-O, or a "one-size-fits-all" course. In the later case, course designers must ensure that there is a subset of White-level controls, so that a novice orienteer on the shortest course can still find many controls. It is traditional to offer one to three course lengths by time (i.e., 60 minutes, and 90, 120, or 180 minutes), but for logistical reasons, Scramble courses typically offer a single one-size-fits-all course.
- MD, CS: Review your plans with the . Discuss the event format and any special requirements. Avoid special arrangements such as preregistration unless they are absolutely necessary—they create extra work and usually cut down on attendance.
3 to 4 Months Before the Event
- MD, CS: Acquire one or two assistant directors. Discuss your event plans and the park requirements with them, and determine the tasks each of you must perform to have a successful event. (Assistant directors are optional, but they can really help ease the workload. Also, this gives them a chance to learn about event administration in preparation for their being full-fledged directors.)
- CS, MD: Select the Start, Finish, Registration, and parking areas. If possible, determine where the nearest restrooms and water fountains are located. If there are no restrooms nearby, let the know you need to rent a portable toilet. In the Bay Area, contact National Construction Rentals at 510-563-4000. The cost for a porta-potty for the weekend should be about $125 including delivery and pick-up.
- CS: Contact the to coordinate getting the maps and map cases you need.
- Get some blank maps immediately for course planning.
- Discuss how maps will be handled for the event:
- If the map is offset-printed, you will pick up blank maps shortly before the event and create masters for copying.
- If the map is in OCAD (usual), coordinate how and when you will provide map corrections and courses. The Mapping Director will print pre-marked maps 1–2 weeks before the event.
- CS: Make a general design for your courses. If you need help in designing courses, contact the .
- MD: Submit an initial description of the event and travel directions to the . Please include suggested carpool location(s) and, where possible, public transportation options.
- MD: Talk to the Publicity Manager for your area about any advertising you need for your event.
2 Months Before the Event
- MD: The event permit paperwork should be well underway, or better yet, the permit has been issued. The closer the event date, the more stress, and the less opportunity to resolve problems that may come up. Without the permit, the event does not happen!
- MD: Each park has different fee structures. Some parks require a fixed amount, and others base their fee on event attendance. Determine what is required for your event, and work with the to ensure payment. Payment is usually a precondition for the issuance of the permit, but not always.
- CS: Design the individual courses.
- CS: Field-check the courses and make necessary changes; note any needed map corrections.
- CS: Arrange to have someone vet (run) the courses, and incorporate their feedback into your course designs. (The can recommend or assign a vetter.)
- CS: Review the course lengths, climbs, special features, and any problems with the . Revise the courses as needed.
- CS: If you will have electronic punching, contact the and discuss the following (you should first read applicable sections of the Electronic Punching Guide):
- Your course plans
- Getting the E-punch units, stakes, and control markers
- Discuss volunteer plans to handle the E-punch download station on event day—possible mix of E-punch cadre and recruited volunteers.
- MD: Send an updated event description (including courses) to the . Please include suggested carpool location(s) and, where possible, public transportation options.
- MD: Contact the Registration Manager for your area and verify that they can provide volunteers to register participants at your event. Talk to them about the following:
- Location of parking, Registration, Start, and Finish areas
- Number of courses (and color)
- Special fees (if any)
- E-stick rental (if applicable)
- Other relevant information about the meet, including any special rules or needs (e.g., extra compasses for large groups)
- Ask them to send you punch cards for each manual-punch course, so you can create master cards for checking results.
- MD: Contact the Equipment Manager for your area and arrange to get the following:
- Control bags (or paper plates for urban events)—check with the CS on how many, and get a few extra.
- Stakes—if needed for control placement; check with the CS on how many.
- 2+ clocks (one for each Start and Finish area, optional at E-punch Finish areas). Most of our clocks are "atomic" clocks that automatically synchronize by radio with a master clock. Be sure clocks show the same time; read the instructions to correct the time if necessary. Be sure to check the batteries before the meet.
- START and FINISH banners
- Club banner
- Direction signage—one for each intersection leading to the parking and event areas in the park; there should also be signs to Registration and Starts
- Results cord and staplers, for hanging results cards (if punch cards are being used)
- Hammer and scissors, for pounding in stakes and cutting ropes and tape
- Flagging tape, for marking control locations and routes to remote starts (MD/CS may provide)
- Duct tape and zip ties (a million uses...)
- Paper cups, for each water area
- Water jugs, for Start and Finish areas and for water stops on the courses—rule of thumb is 1 gallon for every 15 competitors who will visit a water stop; on hot days the ratio should be 1 to 10 (MD or CS should take care of getting water.)
- Large water coolers and Gookinaid, for Registration/Start/Finish areas (Registration may have these.)
- Tables and chairs, if needed for Start/Finish areas. The club does not provide these; people must bring their own.
- Tarps, sunshades, and/or tents for rainy weather
- Sunshades for Start, Finish, and results areas on hot, sunny days. (As of Fall 2006, BAOC members own three sunshades for use at BAOC events; contact them.)
- MD: Contact the Start-O Coordinator to arrange for someone to create and oversee a Start-O course for children. Tell the Start-O volunteer where Registration and parking will be located. Either the Start-O Coordinator or the assigned volunteer are in charge of making the Start-O maps and managing the Start-O on event day. (As of Fall 2006, there is no Start-O Coordinator.)
- MD: Recruit volunteers. Contact the for a current club roster. Good potential volunteers include those who volunteered at that event last year, and anyone on the roster who indicated an interest in helping at events. Don't avoid people unfamiliar to you; recruiting newer or less active club members is a great way to help those people become more involved in the club. You may wish to focus your efforts on those who live close to the venue. Recruit for the following jobs:
- 2 people to hang controls before the event (often Course Setter, Meet Director, and/or Assistant Director)
- 2 people to work alternating shifts at each Start location (optional for advanced courses using E-punch)
- 2 people to work alternating shifts at each Finish location (optional when using E-punch)
- 1–2 people to tabulate and post manual results (if applicable)
- 2 people to work alternating shifts at the E-punch download station (if applicable)— will provide equipment and instructions
- 2–6 people to pick up controls after the event (same day)
- 1–2 people to give beginner's clinics
- 1 person to give intermediate clinics (optional)
- 1 person to purchase refreshments, and 1 or 2 people to staff the refreshments table
- Any volunteers needed for special tasks (such as shuttle drivers or parking-lot attendants)
2 Weeks Before the Event
- MD: Event permit should have been obtained.
- MD, CS: If any of the event staff plan to use shuttles or drive on behalf of the club, be sure the drivers understand the ("Hired and Non-owned") vehicle insurance provisions described above. Please contact the for more information.
- CS: Set ribbons at the course control locations.
- CS: Verify that all courses have been vetted and recommendations incorporated into course design as needed.
- CS, MD: Send updated event/course descriptions and permit status to the (or make the changes yourself if you have a Wiki account).
- CS: Make map corrections:
- Pre-marked maps (OCAD or manual): Include the map corrections on the pre-marked maps. If you're using OCAD-printed maps, tell the about any significant changes (new/removed trails, fences, major vegetation changes, out-of-bounds areas, etc.), so he can update the map before printing.
- Blank maps: If participants will be marking their own maps, create map-correction boards for copying at the Registration area. Create 2–3 correction maps for each course or course grouping (courses with similar corrections can be grouped on one map). Also include the map corrections on the master maps for each course.
- CS: Get the maps and map cases from the :
- OCAD-printed maps: Tell the Mapping Director how many maps you need printed for each course; base your estimates on previous attendance at the event, and add 10 percent (or more if the weather promises to be great, less if it's likely to be rainy). Allow at least a week for him to print all the maps. Also get a supply of blank maps, in case you run out of pre-marked maps for a course and need to quickly copy the course for a competitor. (Note: Please don't skimp on maps—it looks really bad [and it's stressful] if we run out of maps.)
- Blank maps: If you are hand-marking maps or creating master maps, get enough blank maps for all the courses, plus other uses (corrections, control pickup, etc.). Over estimate—remember, everyone gets a map, and unused blank maps can be returned for use at the next meet. 300–400 maps is a good estimate, depending on location, meet format, and previous attendance.
- CS: Make the course maps:
- Pre-marked maps: You can work with the to print the maps you need (see above), or you may mark the courses on existing maps by hand.
- Blank maps: Create 2 master maps for each course by drawing the courses on existing unmarked maps and placing them on the Master Map boards.
- CS: Put pre-marked maps in individual map cases—especially important if the weather might be wet. Sealing the bags is optional (usually just for an A-event, if it's wet). If it's very likely to be dry, you could, alternatively, have a box or bag of map cases ready at the Start just for those people who want a map case to put their map in, right before they start.
- CS: Group the maps by course, so it will be easy for the start crew to hand them out. Larger plastic bags, map cases, or boxes can be used for this purpose, preferably labeled with the course (e.g., use the colored trays used for A-meets).
- MD, CS: Receive the equipment for the event and make sure you have everything you need. Also, verify that the clocks keep consistent time for at least 4 hours.
- MD: Purchase additional water and/or cups if necessary. Smart & Final has great prices on cups. Scrounge or purchase sign-making materials, or get signs from the club's inventory.
The Week Before the Event
- CS: E-punch Controls:
- Get the E-punch controls, stands, and bags from the if you have not already obtained them from the previous Meet Director.
- Synchronize all the E-punch units—including Clear, Check, Start, and Finish—the day before you intend to set them out. Refer to the E-punch preparation page for details.
- Hang the control bags and E-punch units that will not be visible from trails. Do this no sooner than the day before the event, to reduce the risk of damage or theft. This is essential when using E-punch.
- CS: Place water bottles and cups at water controls. Leave 1 gallon of water for every 15 Orange through Blue competitors visiting the water stop. If it might be over 80 degrees, make it 1 gallon for every 10 people. If possible, leave the water in the shade.
- CS: E-punch Files—Make sure the Condes IOF XML export file is emailed to the E-punch volunteer who will be setting up the event. Before creating the XML file, add a single class to each of the courses (usually the course name). This will allow E-punch to import the data more easily.
- CS: Create course description (clue) sheets for each course.
- White, Pink, and Yellow course description sheets should have English descriptions.
- Orange sheets should have English descriptions and international symbols, or just symbols.
- Brown, Green, Red, and Blue sheets should have only international symbols.
- CS: Create master punch cards for each manual-punch course: Punch each control into the correct box and verify the bag number with the course control number. These will be used by the results crew to verify each competitor's punches. (This is optional, since the results crew can compare competitors' cards to determine the correct punches.)
- MD: When appropriate, create instructional signage for unstaffed E-punch Start and Finish areas. Here is some sample text (to be modified with the specifics of your event):
- SELF-SERVE START
- Carry a whistle.
- Sign up for a start time. Up to four people can start in each slot (one each on Brown, Green, Red, and Blue).
- Write the start time on your registration stub and put it in the envelope.
- Put your E-stick in the CLEAR unit until it beeps, and then put your E-stick in the CHECK unit to verify that it's clear.
- Before your start time, pick up your map, check to be sure it is for the correct course, and put in a map case. Don't study the map before you start.
- At your start time, punch the START unit and begin your course.
- Note: The Finish is not staffed. After punching the FINISH unit, report to the download tent.
- COURSES CLOSE AT 2:00. Be sure to report to the download station by 2:15, or we may initiate a search for you! Cut your course short if necessary.
- SELF-SERVE FINISH
- Punch the FINISH E-punch unit. Be sure to visit the E-punch download tent.
- [Draw arrows or provide directions.]
- MD: Create any additional signage you may need to point participants toward Registration, Clinics, Restrooms, Shuttle, Start, and/or Download.
- MD, CS: Finalize the Meet Director's Notes and/or Course Setter's Notes, describing relevant event details (such as parking, bathrooms, remote starts, special park rules, etc.) and the courses (statistics, map and terrain, special features, hazards, safety bearing, etc.). Be sure to publicize the map scale(s) if different than the "standard" 1:10,000. If there is a course with more than 30 controls, be sure to mention that people with old E-sticks will need to borrow a newer E-stick at Registration.
- Send these notes to the and the .
- For meet day, make 3 copies to post at Registration.
- MD: Collect all the necessary forms and take them to the meet.
- Park use permit (if needed)
- No park has ever asked for the Certificate of Insurance on the day of an event. Proof of insurance is generally a precondition for issuing the permit.
- List of park rules (if needed)
- Starts forms (one sheet for each hour, plus extras) [PDF file (http://baoc.org/pdfs/form_starts.pdf)]
- Finishes forms (several sheets) [PDF file (http://baoc.org/pdfs/form_finishes.pdf)]
- Park use permit (if needed)
The Day of the Event (MD)
On event day, the Meet Director is generally in charge. The Course Setter can join the other volunteers to help the Meet Director get everything done.
- CS: Hang the control bags (and E-punch units) visible from trails.
- MD: Post directional signs to the event, Registration, and Starts, and, as applicable, to E-punch download, map corrections, and White master maps.
- Mark all reserved tables and facilities for BAOC use.
- Set up the Start and Finish areas (including E-punch units).
- As needed: Set up the Registration, E-punch download, and refreshment areas (tents, etc.).
- Review event procedures with Registration:
- Where to direct people for registration forms, map corrections and/or White map copy (if applicable), water, restrooms, beginner's clinics, Starts, E-punch download, and Start-O (if available)
- Any special information they need to give to people when they register
- If you are using E-punching, give them the rental E-punch sticks.
- Give them necessary handouts: blank and/or White course maps (if applicable), course descriptions (clue sheets), Course Setter's Notes.
- Set up map correction boards (if needed).
- Post Course Setter's Notes and/or Meet Director's Notes at Registration.
- Put up a results cord near the refreshments table (if using punch cards).
- Registration opens.
- Make sure the first beginner's clinic happens, and that others occur as needed until 10:30.
- Brief the first shift of Start and Finish volunteers:
- Give them the appropriate forms to record starts and finishes.
- If they haven't worked starts or finishes before, explain the procedures, including E-punching (if applicable).
- Tell them who will relieve them, and when.
- E-punching: Make sure the E-punch crew gets set up in their designated location.
- If you are using shuttles, have the first one ready to take people to the remote Start, so they can begin promptly at 10:00.
- Begin starts.
- Make sure the last beginner's clinic starts so the instructors can be excused to begin their courses by 11:00.
- Brief the Results volunteer who will be handling manual results:
- If they haven't worked Results before, explain the procedures (computing times, verifying punches, handling non-finishes, posting results).
- Tell them who will relieve them, and when.
- Make sure the refreshments table is being properly prepared.
- Make sure Registration closes so the registrars can do their courses.
- Gather all registration forms for use in tracking down non-finishers.
- End starts.
- Pack up Starts and Registration areas. Collect map boards, etc. Make sure remaining E-punch rental units are transferred to the E-punch download staff.
- Make sure results are being posted promptly (manual or E-punch).
- CS: Meet with control pickup crew and assign collection responsibilities. Send crew to remote locations early so they can begin collecting at 2:00 PM.
- Courses close.
- Determine which people haven't finished; verify they are still on their courses by checking whether their cars are still in the parking lot (get license numbers from registration forms).
2:30 to 4:00 PM
- Pack up Finishes and E-punch download areas.
- Clean up all areas used for the meet. Make sure all trash and other evidence of the event is nonexistent.
- Inventory control bags and equipment (once control pickup is finished).
- Hand off all equipment to the Equipment manager or the designated person (e.g., the next Meet Director or Course Setter).
- Return all E-punch equipment to the E-Punch Coordinator or the designated person (e.g., the next Meet Director or Course Setter).
- Give unused maps back to the Mapping Director (if desired).
- If participants are missing, organize search teams. Each team should search a specific probable area the participant would be in and report back within 30–40 minutes. If someone is still missing at 4:00, notify the park staff.
The Week After the Event (MD)
These tasks are usually done by (or delegated by) the Meet Director.
- If manual punching was used, verify, tabulate, and post results:
- Verify that the correct times have been computed.
- Check that each punch is correct.
- Double-check each DNF, MSP, DSQ, and OVT.
- Check for second courses and list those separately. (Use the start times to determine which course was "second".)
- Verify each entrant's name from the punch cards and stubs, and the registration forms. (The membership roster, past event results, and past BAOC Bulletins can be used for reference.)
- Create a final results list for all the manual-punch courses (in the order White, Yellow, ..., Blue).
- Post the results to the .
- Send the results to the (or post them on the website yourself if you have a Wiki account).
- Note: You should distribute the results as soon as you have them, even if the write-up isn't ready. People check the website daily after an event, looking for the results. The preferred results format is plain text that uses spaces (rather than tabs) to separate names from times, and a fixed-space font (e.g., Courier). (Refer to the results on the website for previous events to see the preferred overall format.) Don't worry about the format too much, however, because the Webmasters will fix variations from the standard format.
- If E-punch was used, verify that the E-punch team will process the results.
- After the preliminary results are posted to the website, usually within 24 hours, correct entrants' names and add missing names using the registration forms (and punch cards & stubs for a manual-punch event).
- Create a write-up about the event (including results and a list of volunteers) and distribute it:
- To the (or post it yourself if you have a Wiki account).
- To the .
- Send all the Registration forms (and self-registration envelopes) to (830 Sevely Drive, Mountain View, CA 94041). You might have been provided an addressed envelope at the event. (People who requested information by email will be contacted, and the liability releases will be archived for a year.)
- Send a thank-you note to the park ranger and any other outside people who helped you with the event.
- Double check the park permit to see if we owe any percentage of the net or gross income to the park (above and beyond the permit fee), and handle accordingly.
- Send an expense report (PDF file) to the for reimbursement. Do this no later than 30 days after the event. (There's also a link to the expenses form on the main Volunteer page.)
Back to Meet Director's Guide (http://baoc.org/volunteer/dir_guide/)