Monday, December 21, 2015

Red Bull Canada corporate event

Here's a report about an HPP Fund Raising event that took place early in December in Whistler. The event was organized by me (Adrian) and there were several GVOC and FWOC volunteers including HPP members and current and former national team members and national champions

Red Bull Canada was holding a corporate meeting in Whistler and looking for a unique outdoor activity for its staff - to get them outdoors and active. They contacted me and asked if we could do something for them. They were staying right in the Village so we designed a relatively simple course with three legs - the first leg was starting at the hotel and running through the Village to Lost Lake park, the second was in Lost Lake park (on the brand new version of the map), and the third was back through the Village to end at the Longhorns Saloon - where they could download and get a beer in return.

They went out in teams of two. The team members were given to us in advance and we assigned SI sticks. The sticks were given out over lunch time, but with no explanation about what they were. In fact the orienteering was a surprise for the staff - they just knew that they'd be outside and should dress for running and being very active (a message that didn't quite get though to everyone, with rather amusing outcomes). The staff were intrigued by the sticks and to solve the mystery of the afternoon activity everyone pulled out their phones and started Googling to figure out what the sticks were for. 

In any case, the mystery was revealed at 2pm when I got on stage and gave a 15 minute talk about orienteering (emphasizing the speed / endurance / determination / concentration aspects of the sport) and gave an overview of the afternoon’s activities. We had eight volunteers in all – five from Vancouver (Adam, Pia, Graeme, Kate, Ben), one from Whistler (Martin), and two from Canmore (Adrian, Charlotte) - five of these are current or former national team members and either HPP athletes or HPC volunteers. This aspect (National Team, High Performance Athletes) was an excellent fit for Red Bull and the athletes were actually given a bit of an ovation which was nice. The crowd was very energetic (fuelled by constant Red Bull sampling all day) and so the two practice exercises didn’t go off exactly as planned as it was impossible to get them to listen to what we were try to teach them once they were outside ;-) But I think everyone had the gist of it. 

The weather was okay at the time of the race. But the conditions underfoot were still pretty tough - with about three inches of snow that had been rained on heavily for two days making for very slushy and sloppy footing. There were two race options – short and long. More people than expected took the short option – perhaps lured by the enticement of a beer at the download station. But still around 30 people did the long course, going into the Lost Lake forest. Everyone seemed to have a great time, nobody was injured or hurt in any way, and everyone was back before dark. The atmosphere at the finish was electric and several people went out of their way to say how much they’d enjoyed the activity. The stories of the head to head racing were excellent and my favorite was of the team that took the short cut downhill through the forest to jump in front of their rivals - the guy was positive nobody could have been faster because he slid down the hill in his dress shoes- one of those that didn't get the "sturdy trail running shoes" message.

Well everyone went out and came back safely and learned a lot about the “Sport” of orienteering and they had fun. I believe we created a strong and positive impression with Red Bull Canada and have heard nothing but good reports about the event.

We asked that Red Bull Canada have everyone become a member of GVOC for insurance purposes and to generate a little revenue for the club. In addition we asked them to make a donation of $2,500 to the Orienteering Canada HPP - which they actually increased to $3,000. And they paid all volunteer expenses.

Here is the website with results and course maps