Archive:Exec report - President 2013 - 2014

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VOC President report (2013-2014, Stephanie Grothe)

How the year went


memberships ending after 2014-03-26

  • total members = 884
  • regular (student) members = 639
  • other members = 99
  • alumni members = 146

Membership has been slowly growing still, but we might have reached a plateau for the moment.



Brew hut has been fully equipped with new windows thanks to the grant we got from the FMCBC. What remains for 2014 is:


We need to bring firewood to Brew hut. In the past wood has been gatherer from the old Brew hut but there is nothing, what was left has been taken in 2013 and probably burnt by now. Collecting wood from the forest is bad for the forecast, carrying it in seems unpractical. We could order wood from "Squamish Wood Fuel Supply" and have it helicoptered by Blackcomb Aviation. Steph can give you the contact information. We wanted to do it in 2013 but first we thought we had enough, then the bridge of Cheakamus river was closed for a few weeks and then the weather got bad and snow came in. This should be organized as soon as the road is free of snow, so maybe in June already. Don't wait until August. On the day you have the helicopter come in you should make sure you have nets to pack the wood (pick those up from Blackcomb Aviation in Squamish, they will probably also give you radios) and you need scales (several in case they brake) to measure the weight of the blocks since helicopters can only carry very specific amounts. You need at least a car load of people at the hut and another car load of people at the wood pile at the road.

The amount we were thinking of flying in is was the same amount that gets helicoptered to Keith hut every year. According to Ben from Blackcomb: "3.5 cords of wood took 10 lifts. If we staged the truck near the Roe creek FSR turn off, I think there is a large area just past the Roe creek turn, you are looking at about 2 hours of flying. We would need to bring a fuel truck in also. The helicopter is $2020 /hour plus tax. So you are looking at about $4040 plus tax."

Note that studies have shown that a picture of Bruce Willis in a helicopter increases the number of interested people by a factor of 3.4 and the number of committed people by a factor of 2.7 [156]. No studies have been performed on the effectiveness of pictures of other action heroes. Also Bruce Willis may not be known to the younger generation.

Protection of the area

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.


After only about 2(?) years the outhouse of Brew hut is full again. This summer it needs to get emptied. To prevent it from filling so quickly in the future, Ryan will bring a metal container, matches and a sign up so that people can burn their toilet paper. This is already done at many other outhouses, for example at the one at Keith hut.

Brian Waddington hut

Brian Waddington got painted this year by Caitlin with a crew of helpers.

We still have mold issues there, from the condensation of people staying and cooking in the cut and since there is no stove which would allow the hut to dry in the winter. If has been decided in the past not to install a wood stove, one reason being that bringing in wood is very expensive. Ryan will send up some white gas heaters that might solve or reduce the problem. The heaters have been purchased by him this winter. There were also discussions about installing a fume hood and we took measurement photos for that. Christian was thinking about designs for that.

In 2012 and before there was also the discussion on whether the outhouse content leaks into the lake. In 2012 unsuccessful attempts to test the water were made. We don't know the answer to this question and it might be useful to perform further testing. Murray organized the test in 2012.

Burton hut (Sphinx bay)

Sphinx hut got a new door and a matching door shoe this year. Hopefully there shouldn't be anything that we have to do there this year. If you do perform some bigger renovations, let BC parks know. They want to be informed as the hut is in a BC park. They might like to have volunteers working there sign wavers before. They might also help you by providing boats to bring stuff in.

Harrison hut and trail


Since 2013 the VOC is officially allowed to built a trail, not just a route to Harrison hut. Lots of work remains on the trail, especially moving dirt to flatten the sidehill sections. We also need to install hand lines at several sections. Chains, rebars, tools and all sorts of things have been bought for that already. It might be possible to get things in helicoptered for free (Ben and Christian have the contacts). In the past we got lots of funding from MEC for that and Christian applied again for 2014 funding. We also got funding from the AMS for the Harrison trail in 2013 ($1500).


At the moment the outhouse is close to the hut and there is no hole in which the poo could accumulate. We want to install a proper outhouse in the forest on the other side of the creek. To make the other side of the creek more accessible we could bolt little holds and stairs into the rocks at the creek. Roland made several designs for the outhouse. We want to apply for funding from the FMCBC for that. If we don't get funding from the FMCBC we should apply for funding from the AMS clubs benefit fund.

Hut Renovations

Roland has several ideas and drawings for renovations that we should do this summer. He would probably stay there for a week and work on that but he would need some helpers.

Grant applications:

It is always good to get free money for projects. This year we got $10000 from MEC for the Harrison trail (Note: applications are due on March 10th!). We got $1350 from the FMCBC Member Club Grant for the Brew hut windows (applications are due on April 30). The AMS club benefit grant got us another $1500 for the Harrison trail. Applications to the AMS can be submitted anytime but one has to spend all the money before the end of April because this is when their fiscal year ends. We also added another page for funding ackowledgements to our homepage (, so if more money comes in, please update the homepage. We added to the new constitution that the secretary would coordinate grant applications. Hut and trail coordinators for example should help as well.

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 three different fundraisers this year. These are useful, not only to support other organizations that are important for us but also to make the VOC known. Fundraisers are also nice as they are some kind of social that brings VOCers together. We had fundraisers for VIMFF, Reel Rock and Into the Mind movies and the money went to Climbers access societies, SAR, and the CAC. Raffles are 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 (eg they might donnate an AST course.

VOC socials

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. 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

Cora will have details on this. Next year we should have some non-alcoholic drinks. We should also advertise the banquet better so that more people come. It was a bit too empty this year. Especially new members should get encouraged to come to the banquet and other social events. The DJ this year was great.

Insurance and Waivers

Our previous insurance did not cover us in case of bodily injury, i.e. if someone sued the club because he got injured on a trip. The FMCBC hired a lawyer that is looking into contracts with new alternate companies.

We also got new waivers from the FMCBC that we started to use in September 2013. However there was some mistake in those waivers and they may not be absolutely bullet proof.

Marius is looking into implementing online waivers. Finally the AMS allowed us to switch. Once we have this implemented all members should sign those new waivers (again). Also, parents of minors should sign the online waivers.


Lots of money has been spend on gear this year. Presumably details can (soon) be found in the quartermaster exec report.

This year we will have an official Quartermaster-Master who hopefully coordinates repairs and purchases.


This year we got new T-shirts, new Zebra lights, new Voile straps, some more maps.. We might want to widen the selection of maps we sell. Nicole might help with that. Maybe we could also order new stickers with the VOC logo. They are nice to label VOC gear and people might want to buy some.

The work on the songbook should continue.

I would not run a Mammut sale 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.

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. I wonder if we could negotiate Modo discounts for VOC members. One could ask.

New SUB building

New clubroom

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 will be 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. Caitlin has all contacts and details.

Consitutional changes

Duties of VOC executives

We made several changes to the duties of the execs in the VOC constitution. The most important changes are: 1) we now have a huts and a trails person instead of a special projects person, 2) the secretary helps with grant applications, 3) the public relations person helps with answering emails that get send to [email protected] 4) the VOCene editor also helps with keeping the website and the wiki up to date information wise 4) we specified that there will be a head quartermaster who coordinates gear matters.

Membership Fee

We also increased the membership fee from $35 to $40 for students and from $52.50 to $60 for associate members, mostly to cover potentially higher insurance fees. Some former VOC execs were unhappy about this since the VOC has lots of savings. However, I think that we should not plan to have a deficit by default. It is fine to have a deficit because of some special investments into huts for example but there should not be a deficit every year just from normal expenses.

Peer supports group, Discrimination and Harassment:

After a harassment case in 2012 we decided to come up with several measures to prevent such incidents from happening in the future or to know how to react if something does happen. We added a new bylaw to the constitution that allows us to remove members from the club or to restrict their member rights. We also implemented a peer support group. These are volunteers among the exec, whose names are shown on the member page and who can be contacted by club members in case something bad happens. We also discuss other measures at some point, for example action plans.


This year we had two journal editors which is probably a good idea in case one of them drops the ball.

Make sure that the advertisements get sorted out early enough.

As software the VOC traditionally used Indesign which is very expensive (~$300). One can get free trial versions for a short time or pirate copies (of course we don't do that). Those trial version have the effect that journal editors only start doing the editing work a short time before publication. This makes the job much harder than it should be.

I think the next journal editor should early (during the summer) look into open source software and start to make a journal base design similar to the old design using such a free software. I don't think switching would be too difficult and probably worthwhile.


We should try to have more beginner friendly trips. 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.

Trip organizer emails

We started to send out the following email to trip organizers every week.

"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 ( (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 ( 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 and I think we should continue and maybe this would be a job for the trip coordinator. I think it is a good idea and I would continue doing that. Doing that manually is actually good since the trip coordinator should keep an eye on the trip agenda anyway. Also, if you do it manually you can pick who gets the email and who doesn't. Roland for example doesn't want to get it and for some organizers one might want to add some personalized sentences.

Trips that should continue:

  • Intro to mountaineering in the spring, day trip on Northshore with dryschool?
  • Lead ladder
  • Ice climbing trips during Christmas time and later, Daughter of Ice (got two nice ice tools)
  • 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

We should have more beginner friendly trips next year. I don't think that we succeeded this year in making the trip open enough for beginners.