Volunteer Roles


  1. Most shifts are 90 minutes.
  2. First shift helps get the station set up. Second shift helps put everything away neatly.
  3. All roles are important. But roles marked with an asterisk (*) are especially simple and good for juniors or first-time volunteers.


Helping people get organized:

Registration (typically two shifts):

  • Verify day-of-meet registration waivers for accuracy and collect appropriate money. 
  • Check off pre-registered participants who have paid.
  • Collect money from pre-registered participants who have not paid.


WIOL registration assistant (typically one shift):

  • Hand out assigned start time papers to coaches and individuals across 6 courses.


Finish messenger (typically two shifts):

  • Shuttle completed waivers and lists from Registration to Finish for computer data entry.
  • Take pre-registration lists from Finish to Registration for additional e-punch data.


Start line (typically two shifts):

  • Verify that everyone has cleared their e-punch sticks.
  • Give the briefing: Anything to avoid, watch out for (from course designer) plus importance of hitting Start and downloading when done.
  • Send runners out with the correct maps.


Clear or Start monitor (typically two shifts):

  • If Clear, make sure everyone Clears before entering the Start lines. You may have to tell them to wait 30 seconds.
  • If Start, Make sure everyone hits the Start control (including beep) before leaving.


Parking (sometimes two shifts):

  • Direct drivers where to park.
  • Make sure the cars are parked efficiently and not randomly far apart.



Data entry:

E-punch handout (typically one shift):

  • Assign and record rental e-punch numbers on individual waivers.
  • Assign and record punch number for pre-registered participants on the group pre-registration list.


Finish line (typically two shifts):

  • Type in day-of-meet registrations received on waivers and forms from public and WIOL registration.
  • Type in corrections received the event.
  • NOTE: Fast, accurate typing is highly valued in this role.



Orienteering knowledge:

Newcomer instruction (typically two shifts):

Using a map from the beginner course and a sample control...instruct newcomers on the basics of orienteering, including what a control looks like, what a map and course look like, map orientation, how to use the e-punch stick, and the importance of START & DOWNLOAD controls.


Control pickup (typically four opportunities per event):

When all participants are back safely, retrieve all the controls (marker, stand, and control box) in the area assigned by the meet director. There is some flexibility to choose areas that best match your navigational skill or desire to experience different areas of the park. Some people use this role as a training tool.


Vetter (typically one opportunity per event):

About a week before the event, pre-run (or walk) courses using small pin flags or ribbons as controls, looking for course errors. You will not be charged a registration, but cannot run it later for competition points either.


Pre-runner (typically one or two opportunities per event)

The morning of the event, run a course to verify correct location of controls. You will be charged for registration, unless you have to stop and coordinate about control placement.



Event leadership:

Course Designer (one to two opportunities per meet, 10-20 volunteer points each):

  • From a list shared by the series director, select a venue that interests you, either individually or as a design team, and get a blank map and any course standards for that event.
  • Weeks in advance (earlier is better), review the map for interesting legs and control locations and assemble courses that meet the standard for that event.
  • Visit the venue and work with the meet director, or course consultant, or vetter to tweak the courses towards more route choice and improved enviornmental footprint.
  • Work with the series director to get maps printed; some may print it themselves.
  • Place the controls out early on event day and let the meet director know when courses are ready.
  • NOTE: Experience with the Long Advance course and the Control Design class are great prep for this role.


Meet Director (occasionally one opportunity per meet, 10-20 volunteer points each):

  • Before: Get any needed last-minute volunteers. Print out pre-registration lists and volunteer list.
  • During: Bring equipment to the meet early enough to get signs out before people arrive. Direct assembly of Registration and Start. Make sure the volunteer shift change happens on time at all locations. Help with disassembly of all volunteer stations. Send out contorl pickup volunteers once all participants are back safely, and inventory the contorls as they come in. Take all equipment back.
  • After: Get the event proceeds to the Treasurer or bank. Award volunteer points online.
  • NOTE: Experience at Start and Registration is great preparation for this role.


Series Director (one opportunity per series. No volunteer points, but can vote on COC board):

  • Decide what meets to have when in what venues.
  • Assemble a team of course designers and meet director(s).
  • Assist course designers and meet director(s) in prep and operation of each meet
  • Identify ways to improve the series for the next year.
  • NOTE: Experience leading a team in any capacity and a passion for great orienteering are strong preparation for this role.