SOA launches Silver Accreditation for orienteering clubs

The Silver level of the Scottish Orienteering Accreditation Scheme builds on what’s been achieved in Bronze and adds in a few new elements to further develop as a club. The criteria is available below this article and you can see more information on the accreditation scheme in our launch news item here.

We’d also like to share some feedback we’ve received from clubs. The comments below are from Walter of Edinburgh Southern Orienteering Club (ESOC), they’ve achieved Bronze and Silver awards, and Rachel of Clydeside Orienteers (CLYDE), they’ve achieved Bronze. Thank you to both for their valuable thoughts.

How did you find being the pilot club for the accreditation?

  • Walter: We found it extremely useful from a number of perspectives.  For starters, it meant that we reviewed our club in a number of different areas.  In many areas, we were well advanced, but in others there was room for improvement or even fine-tuning of our existing approach.  One thing it did show us was just how active we already are and how much we do and have achieved, so this was great in itself for the club to step back and recognise just how much great activity there is.

How did you find going through the accreditation scheme?

  • Rachel: The accreditation process was very straight forward.  I spent a couple of hours prior to meeting with Rona (RDO) going through questions, then spent an hour going through with Rona in person.  Rona had done a lot of research in advance so knew many of answers on coaches, events held etc. There were 2 items to follow up for evidence from other committee members – which took a week.

Has the scheme changed anything in the way the club works or in the way activities run?

  • Rachel: Our next committee meeting is in October so we haven’t discussed the results/ feedback so far. I have a copy of the silver level so it gives a useful guide of what to improve / focus on.

What has been the most useful thing about the accreditation?

  • Walter: Continuous improvement is something we strive for in ESOC and the accreditation scheme is such a useful tool in terms of evaluating current strengths/weaknesses and how we can improve.
  • Rachel: Bronze level validates work Clyde has done this year to do more club activities – and hopefully we can build on this. The accreditation gives a clear structure on what a club should cover and we were pleased we were at a bronze level with what we had already done this year.

Do you think it was worth it?

  • Walter: Absolutely and I think it is a good way of demonstrating to newcomers that we are a well operated club.
  • Rachel: Yes – it didn’t take much effort.

What support did your RDO provide?

  • Walter: Our RDO was exceptionally helpful in explaining the objectives of the scheme, and the detailed criteria, as well as how we might evidence the information. We also were able to fine-tune some of the criteria, having queried the exact requirements, so it was rewarding to be part of the pilot exercise and help to shape the scheme for the benefit of clubs across Scotland.
  • Rachel: Rona has visited Clyde at least 5 times over past year or so, including a committee meeting and helped at one of our spring evening events. She has helped by sharing ideas from other small clubs, designing our evening event series poster, answering emails, putting us in touch with other clubs who have done similar things (SOLWAY, FVO) and generally being very encouraging. Also realising that a small club (with most members working full time) can only make small steps!

What are the next steps?

  • Walter: We are now keen to achieve the Gold standard and are working on how we can achieve this.  The Gold award will be very challenging but in ESOC we are up for that and it’s exciting to think about how much we can move the club on positively for the benefit of current members and also to attract newcomers.
  • Rachel: We will build on work achieved in 2018 and our club enhancement strategy for 2018 – focus on more regular coaching activities and getting more members involved with leading/ planning/ helping so workload is spread.  Although we had quite a few newcomers to coaching this has not yet materialised into new members – so something to think about.