GALLERY: Illawarra kids on the right track

JUNIOR SPORT

Primary school kids brought up on football, cricket, netball and other mainstream sports experienced something unique with the inaugural South Coast Orienteering Gala Day at Albion Park's Croom Road Sporting Complex.

Seventy-two year five and six children from Kiama and Barrack Heights public schools were presented with a series of map-reading challenges to navigate around a special orienteering course at the complex.

Event organiser Kevin Curby has been involved in orienteering for four decades and said the gala day was a chance for the school children to think for themselves in finding their way to a designated location.

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"We have an individual and relay activity and in the individual section the course is around 1.6km with seven to 13 checkpoints," Curby said.

"The children are aged 10 to 12 and while none have been involved in orienteering we see it as a great way to introduce the sport to kids."

Following registration, plus an introductory walk and explanation of the challenge ahead, the kids are equipped with an electronic pad on their finger which is used to confirm they have reached each checkpoint on the route.

The course included navigating through bushland around the Croom Road Sporting Complex, with volunteers on hand to ensure the children did not get lost.

While orienteering is a sport that challenges the body and mind, it is also fun and promotes self-confidence and teamwork.

It is open to all ages and fitness levels and doesn't require special equipment.

At an event, people are given a map with a course, which are designed by distance and difficulty and range from 1.5km to 15km.

Illawarra Kareelah Orienteering Club serves orienteers in the Illawarra and South Coast and has about 30 members.

Students discover Croome bushland using mapping skills. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Students discover Croome bushland using mapping skills. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

New members are most welcome with inquiries welcome by emailing illawarra_kareelah_orienteers@hotmail.com.

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