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Looking Back; Looking Forward

Dear friends of Navigation Games: Thank you for your support and participation! We would like to share our 2020 story with you — and seek your help in meeting our goals for 2021.

At the beginning of 2020, Navigation Games was ready to replicate our successful school orienteering curriculum to new districts. We hired Jen and Tanairi to help with outreach and management. Then, the pandemic hit. We kept employees on staff as long as we could, but had to furlough them for several months. Jen found another job. We did not deliver any programs from March through July.

In July, we developed an online class and welcomed 55 kids at a free Activity Hero pilot, but did not attract any paying customers. In August, we began to provide in-person orienteering: for a private group and for Brookline Parks & Rec. Research was showing that outdoor activities were fairly safe, and we felt we had an important role to play in offering kids and families a way to stay active and healthy during this difficult time.

In October, we met with the PE curriculum team at Cambridge Public Schools, expanding our 2019 3rd-grade curriculum to five grades, and adding online lessons for the 50% who were remote learners. We hired Charlotte to help deliver the classes. The PE teachers we worked with this fall loved the orienteering unit. We received a COVID grant from the City of Cambridge, enabling remote learners to experience the in-person activities after school. We will publish the lesson plans for the online activities, thanks to an SOS Foundation grant. We have started talking again with other school districts. We are super excited to have received a grant to support our curriculum development, from the Cabot Family Foundation.

Meanwhile, Tanairi began to get a lot of traction with Parks & Rec departments. In Newton, a collaboration with Orienteering USA, the New England Orienteering Club and Cambridge Sports Union, along with some eagle scouts, has resulted in several new maps, weekly classes, and permanent orienteering courses. Parks & Rec projects are a great way to raise awareness about our sport, and synergize with our school programs.

In spite of the pandemic, we delivered 258 classes with over 3000 attendees this year. Nearly all of our expenses are payroll, for program development and delivery, as well as outreach to spread the word about orienteering and start new programs. In 2020, program income paid for one third of our expenses; the remainder was covered by grants and your donations.

Looking ahead to 2021, we are excited to share our materials and approach for schools, clubs and parks & rec departments to use. We welcome volunteers to help with orienteering program delivery, grant-writing and the work of running a non-profit. We need financial donations in any amount, and connections to potential funders and new school districts. Donations can be made by check to Navigation Games, or through our website:

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