With almost 20% of all World Orienteering Day participants, Turkey was outstanding in the participation rate and involvement of schools.
- When finalizing the official event calendar for the Turkish Orienteering Federation back in August 2015, WOD was put down as one of the officially recognised orienteering activities and the chair of the committee devoted to developing orienteering in schools, Kadir Yıldız was appointed in charge of the project.
- Kadir and his friends set to work and had soon developed many exciting leaflets and posters which were circulated throughout the country. The Federation sponsored the printing and distribution of this material.
- To overcome the language barrier which is one of the major problems in promoting an international event, guidelines on how to register your school were developed in Turkish and distributed along with other material.
- The Federation sent a note to all orienteering clubs throughout the country, with the following guidelines:
-A club or a school already involved in orienteering in the region may organise an event in a park close by, for example. All schools in that region could be invited to this event. For complete beginners, a short explanation on what to do can be given (the Federation has developed and distributed suitable material for this purpose). All participants may run courses suitable to their level or experience.
-A club or a group of volunteers may each take a certain district where they start in the morning and go from school to school, giving a brief training to teachers there, sketching the school garden and organizing an event there with the school kids. Then moving to another school in the same district to do the same.
-A school already involved in orienteering can invite other schools in the region to a joint orienteering event in their own school garden.
- The Federation did a lot on the official level. Letters were written to all other Federations to create awareness and ask for their involvement. Letters were written to the Ministry of Sports to ask not only for their support, but also their help in getting the Ministry of Education involved.
- A lot of promotion activities went in to the School Sports Championships. All schools on the podium were asked whether they had registered for WOD yet.
- The WOD website was closely monitored and any activity was advertised on the Federation’s Facebook page, thus creating an atmosphere of excitement throughout the country.
- During the seminar on course planning for younger age groups, a short session on WOD awareness was given, targeting all coaches involved with ages 14 and younger.
- Local municipalities were contacted. Etimesgut Municipality of Ankara agreed to provide the transportation of over 1000 children in the region, to Göksupark some 15 km away, where the WOD was held as a huge o-festival.
This is surely a good example of what you can manage once the Federation, the government bodies and the local communities can join in on supporting an event like this.