Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Decision to Close COC Society and Transition to Spin-Off Club

 by Rhonda Scheurer

On July 11, 2023, the Calgary Outdoor Club (COC) Board held a Special General Meeting to vote on an important decision for the future of the COC.  The question was, "Should the current COC Board proactively shut down the COC society (non-profit)?"  The two options were:

1) YES vote:

  • COC continues as a spin-off club
  • Membership in the spin-off will be opt-in
  • The current Board, with input from COC members, distributes the society's remaining funds
  • Transition the website and member data to the spin-off club

2) NO vote:

  • Continue status-quo as society
  • In autumn 2023:
    • If a new Board materializes, the COC society continues as-is
    • If no new Board materializes, the COC ceases to function and the remaining funds are turned over to the Alberta government for distribution

In order to proceed with the "YES vote" plan, we needed 75% of the voting members in attendance to vote YES.  The actual result of the vote was 96% YES.  

The COC voting members have spoken - we will be moving ahead with closing down the society and starting the spin-off club.

Spin-Off Club

A team of COC volunteers, headed by Julie Jack, will be creating the Spin-Off Club, which will become effective on October 1, 2023 (the day after the final day of the COC Society).

The spin-off club, which will not be incorporated as a society, cannot continue to use the Calgary Outdoor Club name.  Julie and her team will be selecting a name soon which will be similar to, but not exactly, Calgary Outdoor Club.  

The scope of events for the spin-off club will be a little narrower than the current COC scope.  The event difficulty will likely be capped at the D5 difficulty level, and will focus on hiking, biking, snowshoeing and skiing, plus sport events.  You can see the current COC Difficulty Ratings for reference.  

The spin-off club will continue to use the website at  Although the club cannot continue to use the Calgary Outdoor Club name, Rhonda is the owner of that domain name and the spin-off will stay at the same address.  

The COC society will gift the spin-off club an amount of money, to be paid to the company that hosts the website, to ensure it has the money it needs to function for at least a couple of years.  If you wish to donate to the spin-off club, please do NOT send money to as that money would go to the society, and not the spin-off.  To donate to the spin-off, please contact Julie (contact info available on the website) for instructions.

Club Membership

Your membership with the COC society will continue as-is until the end of September.

If you wish to remain a member of the club after that, you will need to "opt-in" to be a member of the spin-off.  To do that will be very simple.  Before the end of July 2023, members will receive instructions to visit a link on the website to "opt in" to the spin-off club.  All you will need to do is visit that link and click "Please opt me in to the spin-off club" then click "Save".  

On October 1st, you will be able to visit, and log in, as usual.  You should not notice any significant difference in your membership, although the website will show the spin-off club name.  

Help!  What if I Miss the Opt-In?

If your account has been dormant for a while, or if you've been away, you may not be aware of the need to opt-in to the spin-off club.  Do not fear!  There's a very good chance that we can get your account, and your event data, back for you!

Members who have not opted-in by the end of September 2023 will have their account deactivated and the information on it cleansed, but it will not go away.  There will still be an account marker, with all of the event history attached.  The account marker will have your same username that you always used, plus your first name and last initial.  

If you've missed the opt-in, you can contact and she (Rhonda) will do her best to locate and resurrect your account.  You will then have to re-enter your account information, for example, your last name, e-mail address and phone number.  Once that is done, you're good to go on the spin-off club. 

Moving Forward

The current Board is thrilled that the COC is going to continue in a sleeker and easier format and wants to thank Julie and her team for being willing to make the spin-off happen.

We hope that COC members continue to enjoy the COC!

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Support Local - Two Great Opportunities!

 by Rhonda Scheurer

The Calgary Outdoor Club loves to support local!  Do you like to support local?  Here are a couple of great opportunities for COC members to do just that.


Unightie is a "bag liner with benefits."  It's a sleep system designed for backpacking, essentially a nightgown but with a foot compartment at the bottom that helps the nightgown function as a sleeping bag liner as well.  

Unightie is made from bamboo, one of my favourite wicking anti-stink fabrics.  

I used to do a lot of backpacking, and now I do a lot of self-supported cycle touring in which I may camp for several days in between showers.  I took my Unightie along on a working holiday to Mexico just to test it out.  I slept in it every night, and worked in it several hours per day over two weeks.  I expected to have to wash it after... what... a few days?  A week?  So every day I gave it the sniff test, and every day it passed with fresh colours, and I went a full two weeks of near continuous use without it picking up even a little stink.  Of course, backpacking and cycle touring will put it through its paces more than indoor air-conditioned use, but I was still very impressed.  

The designer/creator of the Unightie is actually a COC member - our very own Jackie Bourgaize.  Find out more about her wonderful creation on the Unightie website.

Shoe Solutions

On April 28, 2022, a group of seven COC members went to Shoe Solutions' store in SE Calgary and had a presentation on avoiding common foot injuries for hikers, given by Ryan Boles, a certified pedorthist and owner of Shoe Solutions.

Shoe Solutions is passionate about foot health and performance devices that literally change the next steps you take in life!  They do pain assessments, shoe fitting and sales, shoe repairs & modifications, and now they even have their own brand of socks.

Shoe Solutions uses digital 3D volumetric images to accurately fit the length, width and total volume of your foot. They then isolate pressure areas with their barometric sensor pate and educate you on your “foot type” as well as observe your dynamic gait. With all of this information, they utilize their training and experience to provide the most accurate individualized footwear and foot care recommendations for any situation and/or lifestyle.

Their Shoe Lab is a unique initiative to personalize and customize footwear to your exact, unique needs.  With the Shoe Lab, their goal is to use their technology and equipment to do everything from 3D printing insoles and orthotics, to leather work, to shoe lifts and stretching.

The presentation on April 28th was very informative, and a couple of us got the "foot scan" treatment, which was really enlightening about where the pressure points are on our feet and what we can do to preserve our best foot health.

Ryan also told us all about his new line of socks, RFM (Relentless Forward Motion).  These socks are:
  • Designed and manufactured in Southern Alberta
  • Thermo-regulating, moisture-wicking and antibacterial - 83% Merino wool
  • Performance fitted with reinforcement at the toe and heel
  • More great qualities... see here for more info
I got a pair and I've been wearing them regularly ever since for both hiking and cycling.  They're super comfortable and the fitted heel cup feels really nice while walking.  The first time I walked in these socks I walked 14km on a paved path with no foot pain, which is, quite frankly, nothing short of a miracle for me these days.  

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Looking Forward to a Strong 2022 Season


 by Rhonda Scheurer

Now that the Alberta government (and the COC) have removed most of the COVID restrictions, we can't wait for a return to more normal club operations.

We have already had a really strong start, with a more "event-full" January, with 28 events total, than we've had since 2018.  That is an encouraging sign that the COC still has the capacity to grow after many years of contraction.  We've had lots of snow shoeing, downhill and cross-country skiing, hiking (yes, all the way through winter), and it won't be long before our cycling and backpacking trips start up.  We are excited about a fresh approach to water events this year, with events categorized according to Flat or Moving Water, rather than being categorized according to the activity (Canoeing, Kayaking and Rafting).  

This month we still have lots of spaces available on our Season Opener event at Edworthy Park on April 23rd, a COC-exclusive presentation, Avoiding Common Foot Injuries for Hikers offered by Shoe Solutions on April 28th, Earth Day Clean Up on Friday the 22nd for your inner philanthropist, and no matter what your outdoor activity of choice is, you may want to consider attending our Zoom-based Tick Safety event tomorrow evening.  

In addition to those, there's lots of other great stuff on offer this month, including hikes, urban hikes, sunrise stairs, and more to come.  We encourage you to come out - there are lots of new friends and activities waiting for you!  

Friday, July 16, 2021

Motivated by Numbers?

 by Rhonda Scheurer

Are you a COC member who is motivated by numbers?  You can now access your own COC stats and information on our website.

Your Event Statistics

On the Membership menu, you can now access a new item called "My Event Statistics".  This page will show you your statistics for Events Attended and Events Coordinated, broken down first by Event Type and then by Difficulty Rating.  

It is now very easy to spot your personal bests, and strive to beat them!

Milestone Events

In June of 2021, we introduced Certificates of Achievement for members who have attended (or coordinated) milestone events.  You can see our FAQ, What event milestones will I get a Certificate of Achievement for?, to find out for which events Certificates are generated, and our Blog post, Recognizing Member Milestone Events, for more information.  

To make it easier for members to recognize what events were their "milestone" events, we've added event numbering on the member profile page.  You can use this, if you like, to "cherry-pick" what event you want to do for an upcoming milestone (and make for a special Certificate of Achievement).  

For your convenience, we've made it easier for you to find and view your own profile - just look on the "Membership" menu under "My Account" for "View Your Profile".  At the bottom of the profile page you will see a list of events you've attended.  By default, the page only shows what events you've attended in the past month, but you can easily switch that to "view entire event history".

Suggestions for Improvement?

These new features were requested by long-time COC member and volunteer, Wendy W.  If you have any suggestions for improvement to these features (or any other website features), feel free to contact our Webmaster.  

Friday, June 25, 2021

COVID Stage 3: Cautious Optimism

 by Rhonda Scheurer

As of July 1st, the Province of Alberta is entering Stage 3 of COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.  In a nutshell they're removing all restrictions.

Per our "inverted pyramid" of restrictions and guidelines in our COVID-19 policy (see figure on right), the Alberta government describes the baseline restrictions and guidelines for the province.  The COC may add restrictions and guidelines on top of the province's, and an event coordinator may add restrictions and guidelines on top of the COC's for their events.

Effective July 1st, the COC will no longer be adding any restrictions and guidelines on top of the provincial restrictions and guidelines, but it is still the coordinator's right to add some restrictions and guidelines of their own.  Our regular restrictions and guidelines, and our safety policy, still apply, of course.

We are cautiously optimistic and open for business.


Carpooling has always been a great component of the COC.  We strive to make our carpool locations accessible by transit for attendees coming without a vehicle.  We share the cost, reduce our environmental impact, take up less space in the parking lot, and take the opportunity to build community and friendships during this "bonus" time together.

With the removal of restrictions, we're hoping to start dipping our toes into some carpooling again.  The COC will allow "normal" carpooling, where the coordinator "assigns" passengers to willing drivers.  That doesn't mean, however, that things are just going to instantly spring back to normal.  Some of us will be chomping at the bit for carpool, and some will be more cautious, imposing their own personal restrictions on their interactions.  It is still early days, and everyone has the right to choose the level of risk they're willing to take at this stage.

At the event level, it is up to each coordinator if they wish to include carpool on their events.  At the participant level, it is up to each driver to decide whether they're willing to take passengers, and under what circumstances.  

We remain hopeful that the vaccine roll-out across the province will be a resounding success, and that opening everything back up does not cause another wave of infections.  Time will tell, and as we all become more confident with social exposure, we're confident that we will start to see more and more carpooling return. 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Recognizing Member Milestone Events

 by Rhonda Scheurer

A few months ago, COC member and volunteer, Mélanie Tessier, suggested that we do something to recognize members milestone events.  We could not agree more that this is something we should do!

As a first step, we are unveiling "Certificates of Achievement", which will be sent when members reach 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10,000 events.   This is just my (Rhonda's) idea of when certificates should be sent.  Please see our Member Survey if you'd like to see them sent for other milestone events.  Note that if the survey link doesn't work for you, you're probably not logged in to the COC website.  Log in to our website and re-try the link, or find the survey under the "Membership" menu.

Anyway, since it was Mélanie's idea, of course we had to make our first Certificate of Achievement for her 500th event.  See Mélanie's full-sized certificate

Starting today, our website will automatically notice when someone has attended a milestone event and send them their own certificate.  Certificates will be available under "Membership", "My Account" on the website.

Of course, many of us have passed milestone events before the COC Certificate of Achievement came to be.  If you want certificates for any/all of your own milestone events, please reach out to us at to get them sent to you.  

Do you have any other ideas about how we can recognize our members' milestone events?  One thing that we're planning is to get a big cake at each of our Twenty Smacker Parties and have the member milestone events listed on the cake.  We're open to other ideas, too, so if you think of something fun we could do, let us know at

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Membership Structure Changes

 by Rhonda Scheurer

On February 8, 2021, the COC held a Special General Meeting to make some decisions regarding the club's Membership Structure.

Decisions made included:
  1. Retire the "Premier Member" category;
  2. Grant voting rights to active club members;
  3. Grant "head start" event notifications to new club members in their first year of membership.
This move was made to reverse a tiered/privileged structure introduced when the club became a non-profit in 2011 without stripping the ability of non-volunteer members to participate in club decision-making. 

Premier Member Category

The "Premier Member" category of membership will be phased out.  All current Premier memberships will run their course, complete with the existing "perks" of voting rights and head-start notifications.  

As Premier memberships expire, the members will be automatically converted to Regular member status.

Voting Rights

Active members will receive the right to vote at COC's general meetings, including:
  1. Special General Meetings;
  2. Annual General Meetings.
The definition of an Active Member will be at the COC Board's discretion.  The definition that we have chosen as a starting point is:

A member who has been in good standing for at least six months, and:
  • Has attended 3+ events in the past six months; OR
  • Has attended 6+ events in the past year; OR
  • Has attended 20+ events in the past three years,
or has otherwise demonstrated an active commitment to the club, as determined by the Board.

Note that Premier members will also have voting rights for the duration of their Premier member status.  As Premier member terms expire, the members will automatically become Regular members, at which point they must meet the definition of Active Member in order to receive voting rights.

Head-Start Event Notifications

During "normal" times (i.e., not Covid times), new members have had a notoriously challenging time getting on COC events.  The Board decided to grant the four-hour "head-start" event notifications to new members during their first year of membership.

What is a "head-start" event notification you ask?  Well, on the website under "Membership", "My Account", "Preferences", members can subscribe for notifications of new events posted to our event calendar.  The "head start" event notifications just means that the members who receive the "head start" get the notification e-mails four hours ahead of the rest of the gang.

Note that Premier members will also receive the head-start event notifications for the duration of their Premier member status.

Decision to Close COC Society and Transition to Spin-Off Club

  by Rhonda Scheurer On July 11, 2023, the Calgary Outdoor Club (COC) Board held a Special General Meeting to vote on an important decision ...