Guest column by outgoing Vice President, Ken Plourde

Greetings all.
Due to the fact that in true MOAC style, our outgoing President, Bob Hamblen, is in the early stages of bicycling across the continental USA and there are rumors that our incoming President, Dan Kidd, is likely languishing in a small town Texas jail (after canoeing the Rio Grande), it was left up to me to write the President’s Corner this month. (Let’s hope that Dan is back in time to lead the next monthly meeting.)
Many thanks to incoming Vice President Lianne Mitchell for taking on the responsibility of running February’s meeting on such short notice. I have been struggling with a cold for over five weeks now and didn’t feel the need to share it with anyone.
Lianne also spent a great deal of her time as the coordinator of what I heard was a very successful Winterfest. Despite the fact that she also won the Soup Contest, there was no evidence of ballot stuffing so this is not grounds for impeachment! Due to my cold I wasn’t able to attend Winterfest either, although I heard reports that the facility, Skyline Farm, was very popular with the over thirty MOACer’s who did attend.

Apparently the lack of snow didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits and a good time was had by all. I had to fly to Chicago the week prior and I was amazed at the lack of snow almost everywhere. It was 57 degrees when I landed at O’Hare and there wasn’t any snow to be found. There is very little doubt that our winters are not what they used to be.
I was recently asked, What was it that I enjoyed the most with MOAC, was it biking, hiking, skiing, kayaking, what was it? Without having to take any time to think about it, I immediately responded that it was the Friendship!

I have been a member of MOAC for 15 years now and every few years I look at our ever changing membership list and count how many members do I know or have some familiarity with and that number is usually around 125 or so. Then I go back through the list and ask myself, how many would I consider my friends? Amazingly enough, that number is usually around 75-80. Now let’s face it, how many people have that many friends? This doesn’t necessarily mean that they consider me a friend, but hopefully there are a few that do and the only way I was able to earn that friendship was to get out there and participate.
When I first joined MOAC I was intimidated by what others were doing. I didn’t think I was capable of keeping up or having the knowledge to do what was being done by others on a weekly basis. Luckily I was able to make some friends who encouraged me to try and much to my surprise, I was capable of hiking a 4000-footer in the winter, I was able to enjoy being on the ocean in a sea kayak, I was able ride single track on my mountain bike.

All of this was made possible by some amazing friends in this amazing club and for that I will be forever grateful.
In summary I would like to thank all MOACer’s who have ever led a trip.
By sharing your love of the outdoors you may have changed someone’s life, the way you changed mine.
For those of you who have never led a trip and are somewhat hesitant, take the time to speak to someone who has, we all will benefit.

Remember, this is an all volunteer club and we can never have too many trip leaders or members willing to assist in whatever needs to be done.
Thank you.
Ken Plourde