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The Ramblers Association

Newsletter April 2010

The seasons are rapidly changing again in Canada as we put our snowshoes into storage and prepare for the muddy season.  Change is also taking place within the Sentiers Vaudreuil-Soulanges, as I have alluded to in other correspondence outlining the growing pains of the S V-S.  After much consultation and discussion the Board of Directors of the S V-S, we have decided to amicably divide into two separate and distinct groups.  Those members whose interest lies principally in hiking for social and health benefits would form a new group, leaving S V-S with the mandate to work with governments at all levels to lobby for the maintenance and expansion of hiking trails within the county of Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

This has now taken place and the new group will be called The Ramblers Association.  A new Board of Directors was appointed and I was named Interim President until elections can be held.  From this point on, I will only speak on behalf of The Ramblers Association, as the SV-S will have its own Board of Directors and spokesperson.  This split was very amicable and the by-laws of the new club specify a seat on their Board for an SV-S director.  I know I am joined by everyone in wishing continued success to the SV-S, as their mission is critical to the future of hiking and snowshoeing in our area.

Other board members appointed at that time were Gaetan Allard, Interim Vice-President; Anne Bourel,  Secretary; Jim Duff, Director and SV-S liaison, and Rosalie Shewchuk, Director with membership responsibilities.  There are presently 2 vacancies on the Board.  Also named at this time were those people who, while not members of the Board, have board level responsibilities: Martin Hofton, trail exploration; Claude Fortier, web-site and Ann Peters, communications.

Other people have volunteered to become involved and they include:

Diane Boileau: Heath, fitness and medical issues

Al and Barb Gibb: Hiking archives

Denise Hofton: Social activities

Louise Browitt: Bookkeeping and accounting

Claude Fortier: Mapping

Jerzy Wiater: Photography

The following people have agreed to be trail leaders:

Gaetan Allard

Don Attwood

Terry Browitt

Michelle Cote

Jim Duff

Claude Fortier

Al Gibb

Barb Gibb

Martin Hofton

Christine Moore

Heidi Wright

More people are needed as I will outline later.

It was agreed that the club will continue organising hikes every second Sunday and would experiment to see what other activities would be of interest to the membership. The new mandate does not specify Vaudreuil-Soulanges and we feel there will be interest in hiking in areas further afield such as Eastern Ontario, Gatineau or the Laurentians. These activities will be scheduled initially for Saturdays on the “off weekend”.  The first experiment in this area we hope will be on May 8th when we will explore the Glengarry Trails in Alexandria, Ontario.

The current fiscal year for the club runs from July 1st to June 30th,necessitating an AGM in the latter part of July which is not a convenient time as many people are away on vacation.  Also, the membership year runs from October 1st until September 30th, further complicating the issue. The Board will review this matter and make a recommendation at a future meeting.  In the meantime, it was decided that until a change could be made the membership year would be unchanged; members joining after May 31st 2010 would only be required to pay 50% of the annual membership fee to be a member for the balance of the year. Everyone who has paid membership fees to SV-S before March 31st 2010 will be considered members of both organisations until the end of the membership year, September 30, 2010.

The by-laws of The Ramblers Association were presented to the Board and unanimously approved; a copy is attached to this newsletter.

It was felt that an attractive and current bilingual web-site was essential for the efficient operation of the club. An amount of money was approved for this activity and Claude Fortier would be approached to set this up and become the web master.

Motions were also presented to approve The Ramblers Association joining the Federation Quebecoise de la Marche and to purchase Directors liability insurance through that group.

All this however, is not going to come about without the involvement of a lot of the members of the club as volunteers. We anticipate that the onset of the warm weather will greatly increase the participation rate at our events, and while we do not want to turn people away we will have to have enough “leaders” on each hike to ensure the security and safety of the participants and due respect of the environment and the community.  We will consult with the FQM to determine the maximum number of people to have on a hike and may have to implement a system of pre-registration. We may have to run two events on the same day, one, perhaps more strenuous leaving at 8:00 AM and a more leisurely hike departing at 9:00 AM. Whatever we do, we will have to make sure we have enough trained leaders to meet our needs.  Each hike needs a minimum of 2 leaders, one to establish the trail and set the pace and another to be at the back to make sure every one is keeping up with the pace and not in need of help.  It is hard to call this person a leader when they follow but it is an important role and one where the basic requirement are common sense, responsibility and good judgment rather than map reading and drive, but equally important. We are hoping that before too long there will be at least one leader on each hike with CPR certification and to help bring this about, Diane Boileau has scheduled CPR training for April 7th, 2010.  For more details please contact Ann Peters at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you are interested in getting involved in running the Club in any capacity but specifically in helping out on the trails, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I truly believe that as a hiking club we have a very active, exciting, challenging and rewarding future ahead. The Board doesn’t operate in a vacuum and we need your input. We need your suggestions for activities and your willingness to lead hikes maybe in areas unknown to most of the members. Hiking is one of those activities where the opportunities are endless and I would like to believe that the same is true with The Ramblers Association.

Please let me know your thoughts, I look forward to meeting and talking with you on the trails.

Terry Browitt