The trip would be the first combined Norwegian/ international Monday trip that the international students would organize. I was in the organizing group this time, and our topic was navigation.
The day did not go exactly according to plans we had made. We made quite a few mistakes both in the planning -and the practical phase. First of all, we started the planning too late, and were quite tired already in the planning session. I think that at this point people were more focused on planning for the upcoming self-organized trip, and it distracted us a little bit.
As the group remained indecisive and not very task oriented, one of the students, who had experience in orienteering came up with a suggestion. The task was to orienteer with a map where vegetation, water areas and tracks were removed, and only contour lines, roads and cliffs remained. We would set up 12 checkpoints in around 3-4 kilometer area, and the checkpoints would include a riddle. This would be a competition, and the order of the groups finishing, and the amount of solved riddles would resolve the winner.
The morning of the trip we went out to set up the check points, for which we did not reserve enough time. We had to really hurry with setting the points, and as we started to orienteer with the strip down map, we realised that we had stripped it down too much, and it was very difficult to find the check points. We had a full map of Jegersberg with us so we used a combination of the two maps.
The map with removed vegetation, water areas and tracks
We were still setting some check points as the groups started the task, but we got the check points set eventually. After some time the groups started to come back saying that it was very difficult to use the map, and find the check points. We realized that we should have also given them the full map of Jegersberg (without the check points), so they could try to match it with the “contour map”.
This was definitely a learning experience for us as organizers. However, something positive was the forming game for the teams in the beginning. The teams were divided via a game where if we had to make 7 groups, we would give 7 different animals to each participant, and by imitating and making sounds they would have to find their groups of the same animal. This is a fun way to form groups randomly, and break the ice right from the beginning.
Tips for the next time:
Start the planning early, and try to execute it when the group’s focus level is high
Set the challenge of the task high but not too high
Evaluate the time better in terms of setting up the necessary equipment or preparations
If you are not sure of your plan, ask for second opinion (e.g. From someone outside the group)