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May 21, 2020

My fellow VOA members,

As we slowly begin to emerge from our quarantine I'm imagining your spring fever may be at an all-time high. Reopening BC is not necessarily a sign that everything has returned to normal, but more a sign of what our new normal is shaping up to look like. As we've now moved into Phase 2 of the BC Government's Restart Plan we've seen our parks open up a bit and life return to be a bit more of a normal feel. With businesses slowly starting up there are new rules & guidelines being enforced to be aware of.

Activities also have been resuming and I've seen many more people out and about; cautious but happy to be enjoying small group activities.

It’s so important that we, in the words of Fleetwood Mac, Don’t Stop (“thinking about tomorrow”). At the same time it's important to remember to stay vigilant and to abide by the principles expressed in B.C.’s Restart Plan so that we will be able to move into Phase 3 this summer.

I'm reaching out to inform you that we will start the process of resuming activities as of June 1 guided by our provincial guidelines. With a few precautions and a healthy dose of common sense and respect we can all get back to enjoying our favorite local trails, bike routes and other outdoor recreation while avoiding the busiest routes whenever possible. With this notice I am not suggesting a return to our previous ways of doing things though. We must continue to be very aware and vigilant; limiting our groups heading out to smaller numbers. Being mindful of where we go. Being mindful of whom we interact with.

Some of you may be comfortable slowly merging with a small group; some not so much. The very important role of restarting is tasked to our valuable trip coordinators/leaders. Above all they need to feel comfortable and safe. In order to do so, they will be limiting their activity sizes as they see fit ... whether it be with 3-4 people or 7-8 people, our trip leaders need to be confident in moving forward. Some may not yet be ready. Please respect their individual decisions.

Please observe the following suggestions for club activities:

  • No waiver signing required - no shared pen please
  • A group verbal agreement only required before heading out
  • If you have a new person please be diligent about having their verbal acknowledgment of our waiver with witnesses

For masks and gloves:

  • If you're carpooling please be prepared to use a mask for everyone's comfort
  • Gloves are a good idea to carry in case there's an issue and someone needs assistance

As we all get more familiar with being around one another again and continue to recover in our community we will get more comfortable interacting with distance.

As we step out from beyond our screens

We will look each other in the eye - instead of through a lens

We will click glasses ... we will have adventures together again

As we do all this stay healthy and stay positive.

Looking forward to seeing you all as we emerge - loving, kind, hopeful, strong & having fun!

And, of course, always choosing "happiness" as best you can.

Chris Larson, VOA President

For more information please read the Valley Outdoor Club Reopening Plan.