Exec report - President 2014 - 2015

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VOC President report (2014-2015, Clemens Adolphs)

How the year went

Membership

memberships ending after 2015-04-13

- total members = 838 - regular (student) members = 593 - staff members = 0 - other members = 92 - alumni members = 153

Membership seems to have stabilized at the mid-800 level.

Huts

Brew

Brew has been provided with solar lighting thanks to the efforts of Roland Burton. We will monitor how useful the harvested solar power turns out to be.

Firewood:

Following last year's organizational efforts by Stephanie Grothe, there is now a couple of tons of firewood up at Brew hut, see last year's exec report for a detailed account of the logistics. The helicopter ride and the wood turned out a bit more expensive than expected, and hut attendance in the winter season 14/15 was lower than usual due a lack of snow. In the long run, Brew hut is still a reliable source of hut money, and we hope that will pay off some of the cost of the firewood.

Note that the abundance of firewood had encouraged some non-VOCers to have campfires outside the hut, which we strongly discourage, since it uses up that precious wood in no time.

Protection of the area

This section hasn't changed much compared to last year. To quote from Steph's report:

"Powder Mountain Cat skiing would like to offer cat skiing and heli skiing close to Brew hut. Another worry is that logging companies by cutting down the forest will open access to the alpine area of Brew hut for Snowmobiles.

The VOC has to do what it can to keep the area as much free from motorized traffic as possible, so we should apply to have the area designated as non-motorized.

Important contacts are Gordon from PMC, Bryce Leigh from the ACC, Jeff Fischer (Squamish FN consultant, also governmental person for logging and such), Scott Shaw-McLaren and Alistair McCrone.

Ben, Caitlin and Ryan are the best people to ask about details."

In the past year, the government hasn't done much. Gord from PMC has approached us a few times with revised plans; the VOC wrote a letter directly to Malissa Smith from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Outhouse

The Brew outhouse needed emptying, and Ross Campbell with his lack of a sense of smell, volunteered to do the bulk of the work. A metal container was brought up to the hut, together with a sign, to encourage people to burn their toilet paper. The idea is that then the outhouse will fill up a bit slower.

Brian Waddington hut

Not too much was done on this hut this year. There's still the question of what remains to be done with the outhouse. Cassandra suggested that a consultation with someone who builds/designs backcountry outhouses for a living might be a good idea. The problem of a bird nesting in walls of the hut also hasn't found a satisfactory solution yet.

Burton hut (Sphinx bay)

This season, Garibaldi lake seemed to take forever to freeze over, and when it finally did, it didn't last for too long. As such, the hut has seen significantly less traffic than it usually does. We aren't aware of any pressing issues regarding this hut.

Harrison hut and trail

Trail

At the end of summer 2014, the trail could be considered officially done. There is obviously always room for improvement, but it is now to a standard where travel is generally pleasant, multiple switchbacks are in place, side-hilling has been removed for most sections and, in several iterations, a proper bridge across Barr creek has been established. Many thanks to all the volunteers working on the trail. MEC funding allowed us to helicopter in a lot of the material required.

Outhouse

Roland designed and built an outhouse. It was flown in via helicopter and put together during a week-long hut/trail reno trip. Jeff Mottershead dug a very deep pit, in the hopes of lasting us for a long time.

Hut Renovations

The hut received new steel roofing, installed on the same week-long trip mentioned above.

Grant applications:

It is always good to get free money for projects. For this, we have: - MEC (several 1000 dollars) - FMCBC Member Club Grants - The AMS club benefit grants Check out our previous funding partners on the homepage (http://www.ubc-voc.com/funding), and please update the homepage when appropriate.

VOC evening events

Room booking

Make sure rooms on campus for big events and big pre-trip meetings get booked in advance. Basically book rooms as soon as you know the date.

Fundraisers to support other clubs and organizations

We had two fundraisers this year, and in general they're great events, establishing the VOC within the wider outdoor community, providing great entertainment and contributing to good causes. They're also great opportunities to socialize.

One fundraisers was for Avalanche Canada; we showed "Almost Ablaze", the other was the "Best of VIMFF" tour, with funds raised for North Shore Search and Rescue.

Raffles are a good way to get extra money. Raffle prices might get donated from MEC (budget might be exhausted in March, so ask them earlier), Icebreaker, the Hive, the Richmond Olympic Oval, the CAC itself, Grandwall equipment,

VOC socials

I echo Steph's sentiments from last year: "We should try to make VOC socials (beach barbeques, winter social, banquet, slideshows) more attractive for new members. At socials we should try to be more welcoming and excited to meeting new people and not just excited to meet old friends."

Jared Stanley Lecture

Make sure this is happening. This year Fisal organized it again. It would be great if he would do it again since it would be nice to have a single contact person between Jared's parents and the VOC for a few years. In the past Phil T. has organized the Jared Stanley lectures.

Annual Banquet

Ian Johnston has more details on this. This year we had a great variety of "good" beer; it ran out at 9:30 or so, but the quality of beer was appreciated. The DJ (Manu) was also well received and I had the impression more people than usual were having fun on the dance floor. We should try to find a cheaper location though, or convince the GSS that the VOC is a "grad student" club.

Quorum/attendance is always an issue. We had as many people as the fire code would allow for our locality, but in general a higher turnout would be welcome.

Insurance and Waivers

After much work, Marius implemented Online Waivers for us, completely eliminating the need for paper waivers. Note that the AMS has now implemented their own online club management system (OrgSync) which we'll likely have to use in the future to sign up new members.

Gear

This year for the first time we had an official Quartermaster-Master who hopefully coordinated repairs and purchases. Several repair sessions were held, several pieces of outdated equipment were replaced with newer versions.

Swag

The work on the songbook should continue...

After much email faff and deliberation, we decided to not run Mammut sales in the future. They hardly delivered anything we ordered, often did not reply to emails and they were extremely annoying to deal with. By offering this Mammut sale we wasted a lot of time of the swag master mostly and also of the QMs and the treasurer and in the end members were upset because Mammut didn't deliver anything and people had to come to get their money back.

On the other hand, the VOC got approached by several other companies interested in partnerships/sponsorships. The swag master will continue to look into these options.

Of particular importance to the club are the avalanche courses and the Slipstream wilderness first aid courses. We should always work hard to get these courses filled as they offer incredible value.

MEC clubs night seems to organize itself mostly since MEC always contacts us.

We should try to have buy nights from intuition, icebreaker and arcterix.

From last year: I wonder if we could negotiate Modo discounts for VOC members. One could ask.

New SUB building

We expected the new SUB to open at some time during the 2014/2015 club year, but of course it got delayed several times.

New clubroom

From Steph's report: "The clubroom in the new Sub will be in the basement (NE-corner) of the new sub. There are more details in an older (2011/2012?) exec report. I guess you will get more details and another tour of the new building at some point."

Climbing wall

Corey is the first climbing wall coordinator. Corey and the exec needs to decide on hours, pricing, membership kinds, hiring people to man the wall and many other details soon. The wall is in place now; Corey and his team have started the route setting and initiated a call for volunteers to staff/monitor the wall. Corey also conducted a survey to find out what people are looking for in the wall. Since we have no previous experience, we will have start slowly and play things by ear until we have gathered more information. Then we can respond to the needs and demands.

Journal

This year we had two journal editors (Amanada as the "official" editor, Kasia "unofficially", since she isn't a student and thus not eligible for the exec".

This year we had only very few advertisements, which will increase the strain on next year's budget. We have to make sure that ads get sorted out as early as possible, ideally BEFORE 2016.

The method of uploading articles to a shared Google Docs folder has again proven to be very effective.

Trips

As always, we should try to have more beginner friendly trips.

Echoing Steph's paragraph: "Trips are the backbone of the club, this is how people get excited about the club and how they acquire club loyalty. Without a sufficient offer of interesting trips, you don't get the next generation of members, execs and the club can die. It seems that incentives for trip organizers (e.g. special offers on swag) don't result in additional (serious) trip organizers. I would also refrain from any financial benefits for trip organizers or instructors. Most of those people have learned their skills for free from other club members in the past, joined trips when they were new to Vancouver or did benefit from the club in other ways, for example by making friends and connections. I think people should give back to the club without any sort of payment."

I feel that many members are capable of leading trips but might hesitate for a variety of reasons, e.g. not feeling comfortable with the "responsibility". We should explore ways to encourage capable members of taking charge.

Trip organizer emails

Last year, we started sending out emails to trip organizers. "Thank you for organizing a trip for the VOC! We truly appreciate you taking the time and effort to make trips available to club members. Whether you are a first-time trip organizer, or an experienced veteran, please take a moment to consider addressing the following topics while you are organizing your trip.

(1) Intended goal and nature of the trip. Every member has a say in the actions of the group, however. In each situation, ask questions rather than making statements to ensure the maximum comfort and safety of the group. (2) Know your participants: gauge their experience, physical fitness, skills, risk level, deadly allergies and injuries. Gauge the management of these issues and discuss in private if you feel this trip may put them or the group at risk. You have the final say on who can or cannot come onto your trip. (3) Expected conditions during the trip (temperature, precipitation, etc.). (4) Specify the required gear and ensure participants check that their gear is functional (http://www.ubc-voc.com/wiki/Gear_lists). (5) Emergency contact/equipment: Inform a 3rd party of your group’s plans and expected return date, equipment such as SPOTs and radios may be considered. (6) Group dynamics: ensure you have sufficient experienced people to manage the less experienced people. Consider implementing the buddy (or group) system, or designating a sweep and regular meet ups at specified locations or times. (7) Remember to inform your group that you (or the in-trip leader) are not certified guides. Ensure that all trip participants have signed a waiver, including non-VOC members or guests. (8) Be sure to thank drivers! Consider splitting the cost of transportation among everyone if a rental car is required. Also remind participants that they are committed to paying fuel fees even if they drop out.


More tips can be found on the trip organizer page (http://www.ubc-voc.com/wiki/Trip_guidelines#Some_general_points). Please pass on the necessary links and knowledge to your trip participants, and have a great trip!

Also, if you have any suggestions regarding this email let us know.

Thanks again

-VOC Exec "

In the past Steph did that manually. The new exec and new trip coordinator should explore if and how they want to continue this.

Trips that should continue:

  • Intro to mountaineering in the spring, day trip on Northshore with dryschool? --> A good idea in general and it had a good reception, but in 2014 there was hardly any snow on the North Shore.
  • Lead ladder
  • Ice climbing trips during Christmas time and later, Daughter of Ice (we got nice ice tools that we should advertize to our members)
  • Son of rock
  • Intro to kayaking
  • Summer Longhike
  • Winter Longhike (January)
  • Teleschool (January)
  • Intro to backcountry (January)
  • Intro to mountaineering
  • Maybe a gong-show intro Phelix trip at the beginning of September
  • glacier school 1 (maybe before september, not first trip, screening)
  • glacier school 2: suggest that participants teach at G1
  • Navigation on campus sessions and trips
  • Wilderness first aid refreshers: might try again
  • CPR
  • Reading week camp (hard to organize since many exec members are grads and don't have a reading break)
  • Some trip similar to the Veenstra traverse
  • External deals on courses: AST courses, Slipstream 20hour, 50 hour, 90 hour

This year we had many beginner friendly day-hikes and other trips open to all skill levels, but it fluctuates between periods of high activity with 3 BF trips on the same weekend back to weekends with not a single BF trip. This is often weather / snow dependent and thus there is not much one can do about it, but in general it'd be great to have at least some BF trip/event every weekend during the school year.

Steph and Neil

At the beginning of 2015, the VOC lost two members, Stephanie Grothe and Neil Mackenzie, in a climbing accident on Joffre Peak. A third victim was non-VOCer Elena Cernicka. Details on the accident can be found elsewhere.

The VOC organized a memorial event for the three, and a fundraiser for Search and Rescue in their memory. We dedicated them a big section in our club journal. The next, and future, execs should explore further ways to remember and honour these great individuals.