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74 — Why are we building an ARDF community?

2016-05-29. By Kelly.

May 28th was our second ARDF event at Smith Middle School. Patrick got out on the trail and was setting up transmitters shortly after 6 AM to prepare for our 9 AM starting time. I arrived at 7 AM to set up signs for the ARDF event and take the materials such as receivers down to the outdoor classroom. Like clockwork, the parents and students started arriving by 9 AM. We got everyone registered. Maps and receivers were distributed to each participant and we were ready for the class. Patrick taught the beginner class that prepared everyone for the ARDF course. During the class Patrick covers: safety bearing, map reading, map orientation as well as receiver skills needed to locate a fox (transmitter). For the first time, I had to start two older students early since they had prior ARDF experience. Yeah! This was very exciting for Patrick and me because we want people who are more confident to get out on the course and sharpen their ARDF skills.

Patrick and I know that ARDF is perplexing at first since it requires the participant to balance so many skills. We have also have been impressed by the level of perseverance and team work of both the parent-student teams and student-student teams. It is exciting to hear the participants lament about not having enough time and if they had just a little more time they would have gotten another fox. Other participants come back and tell us they are a little overtime because they thought they were about to get a fox. I especially loved one parent-student team coming back without getting a fox and then going out to find the homing beacon. Patrick and I could hear them cheering over their success. : ) It's the challenge of the hunt and the reward of finding a fox that entices participants to go out one more time.

After the participants leave, Patrick and I go back out to remove signs and collect transmitters. This is my time to practice finding some foxes and sharing with Patrick the event's highlights. The ARDF event is a 9 hour commitment for us. After sharing this great outdoor adventure with students and their families, we leave with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.

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