There is a regular introductory series of events usually on the first Saturday in each month.
In October, November, December, February and March this incorporates the Schools League which is open to any school or youth group that wants to take part. The courses on offer are normally white, yellow, orange, light green and short blue. At the end of the season trophies are awarded to the most successful school and the one with the highest number of participants.
Medals are also awarded to every junior who competes in at least three events.
HH aims to have some informal training at all its Saturday Series events although this is sometimes dictated by the area being used.
However there is always someone present to answer questions and to provide advice on how to improve your orienteering.
This is especially true for all newcomers, young and old, and we make a point of providing learning activities for juniors.
More formally all club juniors are invited to attend the free junior training sessions held principally in the half-term holidays of the autumn and spring terms
They are usually held in local venues where there is a classroom or hall available in case the weather is bad and where time can be spent understanding the basics of orienteering and teaching the skills of orienteering. Non-members are also welcome to come and try out the training, on payment of a small fee for expenses.
The training sessions have a full day of activities, with groups of juniors at different levels from Light green/orange standard to complete beginners. Each group will be accompanied by one or more coaches from HH who will plan and lead the activities. There is no lower age limit, but parents of children under 10 are asked to stay with them. .
In addition juniors are welcome to join the whole club training sessions held in the summer months and the Christmas period. Both of these sessions are followed by a picnic or a social in a local venue.
From club training, the more experienced will move on to the South East Junior Squad, joining members from all the clubs in the South East Region, which also runs regular training at more challenging venues.
The club’s juniors represent HH in national junior competitions such as The Yvette Baker Trophy and the Peter Palmer Relays, as well as making a big contribution to the club’s score in the South East League and the CompassSport Cup.
Juniors can take part in the Explorer Challenge, a national scheme which gives awards based on the number of controls found. For more details see http://www.bsoa.org/Award/Forest.
They can also gain colour awards if they reach a specific standard on a colour coded course. For more information about the colour coded badge scheme and how to claim your badge see https://www.seoa.org.uk/info/colour-coded-badge-scheme-and-medals.
Both the HH and SEOA web sites contain articles and photos of interest to the juniors, and encouragement to join in with further activities and competitions. Contributions from juniors are always welcome.
As well as the activities specifically for juniors, juniors and their families (if they are members) are welcome to take part in all the activities of the club. This could include helping run events, either by doing a job on the day of the event itself, or in a more major way by planning the courses for an event or undertaking other roles.
The club also participates in the major national orienteering competitions such as the British Championships and the JK Orienteering Festival. Juniors are encouraged to take part particularly in the relay events where they will be competing with members of HH and against juniors of a similar age.
The Yvette Baker Trophy
The Yvette Baker Trophy is an inter-club competition for juniors. All orienteering clubs in England and Wales are eligible to take part.
Because of the number of clubs, the competition is made up of two rounds; a preliminary round which is organised on a Regional basis, and from which the best clubs are invited to compete in the final.
The final moves to a different region each year (HH hosted in 2017) and usually involves travelling and an overnight stay for those clubs good enough to reach the final. Over the years HH has been successful in winning its way through to the final in most years and although competition at that level is very strong, it is usually in the top 6 junior clubs in the country.
A little about the competition; as you would expect the course designations will be familiar to you, being the usual yellow, orange, light green and green. In general you will run the colour associated with your age group although if you have not achieved a standard in the event in previous years you are allowed to run a lower course. You are, of course, always able to run up! Scoring is 100 (for the winner in each class), 99, 98 etc. The highest 9 juniors score for their club across the range of courses but all team members can help the team by pushing rivals down the scores.
Representing your club is an exciting way of extending your orienteering experience and skill as well as a great day out, mixing with your club mates and meeting rivals from the other clubs.
Incidentally the trophy is named after Yvette Hague who won the World Middle Distance race at the World Championships in 1999 and is the only female British competitor to win a World Championships gold medal.
The Peter Palmer Relay
The Peter Palmer relay is an inter-club relay usually held during September. It is made up of 6 legs with the start in the early hours of the morning so that early runners will be competing in the dark.
Happy Herts aims to enter 1 or 2 teams each year.
It is for the age groups M/W12 up to M/W18 but M/W10’s are specifically excluded.
The legs are planned to the following standards;
Red – Red – Light Green – Orange – Yellow – Green, with Leg 1 run in the dark and leg 2 in the dawn, depending on how quick you are! This format does mean that the team gets up early to see their first leg runners off.
Overnight accommodation is provided by the organisers, usually on a school room floor which allows team members to get together the evening before and for you get to meet your friends and rivals from other clubs.
There are no restrictions on the course competitors run – so that if you are new to relays or to running in the dark then you can choose to run an easier leg.
All in all the Peter Palmer Relay is a great way to compete together as a club team and to get to know other juniors in your age group.
This event is named after the one time Director of Coaching of British Orienteering, Peter Palmer, who wanted to replicate in UK an over-night junior relay that was similar to events in Scandinavia.