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Orienteering | Field Initiatives

Orienteering, also called the “thinking sport,” uses map reading and compass skills to navigate in the physical world.  Participants learn to “read” the landscape and find particular landforms on the course called “controls.” At each “control” landform, there is an orienteering marker with a unique control punch.  This activity can be done simply for the enjoyment of the Marriott Ranch’s delightful scenery or as a team development activity. 

As a team activity, participants practice team behaviors crucial in the business world:

  • listening

  • contributing ideas

  • collaborating

  • decision-making

  • cooperating

  • facilitating effort

  • respecting each other

The consequences of ineffective team behavior are immediately obvious: the team completes the course  (or not!). 

There are five levels of challenge available.

Level 1:  Cross Country Orienteering 

In this activity, participants follow a set course from a starting point to the finish point.  This activity is ideal for newly formed teams who get to know each other through learning and practicing basic map and compass skills.  Traveling in small groups, participants must communicate, make group decisions and collaborate to even reach the first control point.

Time required: minimum 2.5 hours

Level 2: Cross Country Challenge 

As an added challenge to finding their way on a cross-country course, the participants pick up pieces to a puzzle or clues to a mystery along the way.  All of the groups contribute to the successful completion of the solution at the finish point. 

Time required: minimum 3.5 hours 


Level 3: Score Orienteering 

Rather than follow a pre-set course, score orienteering allows the participants to choose their own routes based on a map of the whole area.  Each control point has an assigned dollar value.  The group’s challenge is to gather $10 million dollars in new business.  Planning and goal setting take place in a “meeting” environment highlighting facilitation skills, trust, and cooperation. 

Time required: minimum 4.5 hours 

Level 4:  Adventure Dinner 

Using the score orienteering, the participants plan and coordinate the search for dinner items.  If the team collects the punch for salad, everyone will enjoy salad.  If not, salad is not an option.  The outcome of poor strategic planning or poor implementation becomes immediately obvious! 

Time required: minimum 4.5 hours plus meal time 

Level 5: Survivor Challenge 

In this combination of score orienteering and physical group problem solving, each control point is worth a needed resource for spending a comfortable night in the woods.  This extreme challenge best fits existing teams who want to test their ability to be effective under pressure.  Coordination of implementation strategy and change management in this dynamic activity reflects the team’s ability to perform on the job sites. 

Time required: 6-8 hours plus meal time and/or overnight

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