Ottawa Outdoor Club

President's Report: Rob Burnfield - 2017 AGM

I would like to thank you for joining us tonight at the Annual General Meeting of the Ottawa Outdoor Club.  AGMs aren't always the most exciting events on the calendar.  They do fulfill an important role in the life of the Ottawa Outdoor Club.  They're one of the few opportunities where we can look back at the year that was and peer a little into our future.

Fundamentally, the Club is about people:  participants in our activities, leaders, co-ordinators, and those handling the very important, and many times nearly invisible, administration of the Club, the glue that keeps it going.  I'll leave it to the other members of the executive to talk about their areas.

I do want to mention two people whose roles with the Club are such that they don't provide reports.

Carol Hobden, our Walking Coordinator, has been leading the Thursday walks nearly continuously now for five years.  She has rarely missed a walk, and has had a substitute leader available the few times that she could not make it.

Tracey Vansickle, our Secretary, produces comprehensive minutes of our executive meetings.  She is nearing the end of her fourth term, having joined the executive at the 2013 AGM, first as our Equipment Officer and then as Secretary.  She has decided not to put her name forth for a post on the executive for this coming year; I will miss her thoughtful perspectives and feedback during our executive discussions and meetings   In addition, as many of you know, she has organized and has been strongly responsible for our end-of-season BBQ for the past two years.

Marion Perry, our Membership Secretary, has also decided not to put her name forth for a post on the executive for this coming year.  She has been on the executive for three years, since the 2014 AGM.  I will also miss her guidance and feedback, some of which comes from her past involvement on other boards.

We have continued with and expanded the initiative of Jean-François, my predecessor, in renting a coach bus to take us to an outing far away.  Last year, we had a very successful trip to and hike on Mt. Tremblant.  This year, we repeated it with another full bus, led by John Galbraith and Bonnie Lalonde.  In addition, our Hiking Coordinator, Eddie Drueding, led a second trip to Calabogie, this time with a full half-bus.

There are a couple of smaller, more behind-the scenes initiatives that we've started.

Nearly two years ago, I reached out to the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) to see if we might be able do something with the influx of Syrian refugees that we knew would be arriving.  They had received similar queries from many groups across the city.  After much internal discussion on their part, we communicated a little more in the spring (2016).  By this time, there was agreement between them and us that we would reach out to all recent immigrants that they and other similar organizations reach and provide an OOC voucher available through these other organizations that would waive our rental and non-member activity fees for someone presenting the voucher to an outing leader.  It slipped down on my priority list, however.  I'm now happy to say that Rabab Gomaa, one of our members for a number of years and who is connected with OCISO, has volunteered to take this on and make it a reality.  Once this is in place, we'll be in touch with our outing leaders so that they know what to do when someone presents them with the voucher.  If you're interested in helping Rabab with this venture, please contact her or me.

Secondly, an interest has been expressed by a number of people that we have more multi-day outings in Canada.  We used to have more in the past.  A few people have agreed to look into what opportunities might exist.  If you're interested in participating in this, or if you have specific ideas, please contact me or the appropriate coordinator.

I've learned over the past couple of years that at least half of the time that I spend in this role, I am talking with people:  executive members, outing leaders, general Club members, and members from other organizations (such as the NCC in relation to Gatineau Park or members of similar organizations to the OOC).  Most of the conversations are truly enjoyable.  As with any organization, occasionally "issues" come up.  If you're ever in one of these "issue" situations, I invite you to reach out to an executive member, remember that we're all volunteers, and that we want the best.  I will always do what I can to help facilitate resolution of the "issue".

Every three years, late in the year, we take a serious look at our insurance policy.  Insurance, you say?  We have (and have had for many years) two types of insurance:  directors' and officers' (D & O) liability insurance, and general liability insurance.  Last fall was the time to visit that three-year cycle.  Through many conversations over a couple of months with our insurance broker, we renwed our existing D & O policy and, taking most of the time, put together a new general liability insurance policy.  The general liability insurance covers everyone who is on an outing with us, both members and non-members.  (Signing the sign-up sheet is important, due to its waiver!)  This new policy provides much better coverage than before.  We increased our general liability coverage from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000, and we improved our medical accident insurance.  There's up to $25,000 coverage if you're injured on an outing...but it's broken into parts, so many of the individual limits are not that high, and there's a $1500 deductible.  I'm working with our insurance broker to put together a reasonably simple explanation of our coverage, so stay tuned for that.  If you're injured on one of our outings, please let your leader know so that they can begin the claim process.

We have a new page on our website that lists news and updates from the executive.  We started working with it recently, so expect more information to appear on it over time.

I've enjoyed working with all of the executive members over this year:  Marion, Ron, Eddie, Mike M., Mike B., Anna, Lana, Tracey, and Jane.  I have learned from you, and you have enriched my life in ways small and large.  Thank you.

In summary, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been involved with the Club.  It's a wonderful group of people!

Rob Burnfield