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.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Phone-Friendly COC Site - BETA

by Rhonda Scheurer

The COC is pleased to announce we're finally moving forward with a device/phone-friendly version of our site.  

The BETA version of the site is now available.  When you access our web address from your phone, you should be automatically directed to our "friendly" site.  

On the BETA site, you can:

  1. Use the menu to access your available options
  2. View a list of upcoming events;
  3. View the details of an upcoming   event;
  4. Log in;
  5. When you're logged in, you can:
    1. View your list of upcoming     events;
    2. Cancel your registration for an upcoming event;
    3. View your list of waiting list   spots;
    4. Remove yourself from a        waiting list.

Using the Full Site on your Mobile

What if you don't want to use this "friendly" version, or need to access something that is only available on the full version of our web site?  You can, at any time, switch back to the full site by going to the bottom of any page on the "friendly" site and clicking the "Click here for the Full Site" link.

Going Back to Mobile

What if you go to the full version of the web site, but then you want to go back to the mobile version?  You can switch back to the mobile version by going to the "Events" menu (find "Device-Friendly" at the bottom of the menu).

Additional Features for Development

We would like your input into what other features we should focus on adding to the device/phone-friendly version.  We can't add every single thing that is found on our main web site, so we need to cherry-pick the most important items.  

Please rank our "To Do List" here: [Ranking Poll].  

Report an Issue

We are doing our best to test everything thoroughly, but different devices may produce different results, and we don't own every single device that could be used to access our site, so we'll be relying on you to let us know if there are problems.

If you encounter problems using the device/phone-friendly version, please report them thusly:
  1. Send an e-mail to
  2. In the e-mail, include:
    1. What you were doing when you encountered the problem;
    2. What kind of a device/phone you're using;
    3. A screen-shot of the error/problem.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Club Funding Changes

by Rhonda Scheurer

Effective December 10, 2020, the COC returned to a “voluntary donation” funding model.

Unlike in the past, however, coordinators will not be requesting a “per event” donation at events. The club will find other ways to encourage and request the voluntary donations needed to sustain our club.

Like in the past, voluntary donations will be just as the name says... voluntary.  We will encourage and solicit donations through a variety of methods, however, the amount of your donation (or lack thereof) will not have any impact on your participation with the club. 

Saga of COC’s Funding Model

The Calgary Outdoor Club started off with an unsustainable “Rhonda pays for everything out of pocket” funding model in 2003, and, to Rhonda’s tremendous relief, evolved into a “funding by voluntary donation” model thanks to a suggestion from a creative club member.

The voluntary donation funding model was very successful through the 2000’s, although it did present its challenges with the way it was implemented - coordinators requesting $2 at the start of each event.  This was a hassle for event attendees, who didn’t always have $2 in their pocket, and it was a hassle for event coordinators who would have to request, collect, and then submit the money to the club.

Over the years, our funding model has continued to evolve including:
  1. Introduction of the “Premier” membership option, which cost $25 per year
  2. Replacement of the “voluntary donation” for “Regular” members with a mandatory per-event fee;
  3. Replacement of the per-event mandatory fee for “Regular” members with $15 per year membership fees.
That most recent change, implementation of the $15 per year membership fees for “Regular” members, took the burden off of coordinators to collect and submit money, and was more convenient for some club members, however, it:
  1. Discouraged events which would have, in the past, been offered without a request for a donation (e.g., in-town events, and events which carried additional fees); and
  2. Presented a “barrier to entry” for new members, who no longer had the ability to “pay as they go” and would have to make a significant outlay just to get started. 

Happening Now

On December 9, 2020, the executive committee voted to return to a "voluntary donation" funding model, which will once again allow members to pay what they wish (based on what they can afford, and the value they feel they’ve received from the club). 

Coordinators will not request donations at the start of an event.  The club’s preference is that donations be sent, via e-transfer, to the club Treasurer.  Coordinators are still able to accept donations at events, if and only if, pre-arranged through agreement between the coordinator and the attendee.  Some coordinators may simply wish to avoid money-handling, in which case, the club asks that members respect that preference and submit their donation another way.

Donate Now

If the spirit has moved you while you were reading this article, and you wish to make a donation at this time, please send an e-transfer to  If you’re not sure how much to donate, we suggest $2 per event attended to a maximum of $20 per year.

If you’ve already paid $15 for a Regular Membership fee, you have two options:
  1. You can consider that to be your “voluntary donation” to the club until such time that you feel it’s time to donate again; or
  2. You may contact to request a refund.
If the spirit has not yet moved you, or if you just can’t afford it right now, that is fine, too.  We are not in dire straits and are happy to wait.

More Information

For more information about how we collect voluntary donations, see our How You Can Help page on the Calgary Outdoor Club website.

Wondering what's going on with Premier Membership?  We're still working on that.  News coming before the spring.

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...