The Kenyon College Outdoors Club (KCOC) is gearing up for another semester of trips for this spring. As it does so, the organization is excited to implement changes that will improve the club’s efficiency by recruiting more leaders, changing the sign up process for trips to allow more members to participate and adding events that will not require registration.
Traditionally, the club is run by a group of about 15-20 leaders who are responsible for planning trips, caring for equipment and organizing meetings. There are currently 184 members on the distribution list who are able to sign up for a variety of trips, such as rock climbing and hiking. This semester, KCOC plans to offer three backpacking trips, including a spring break trip, along with canoeing, fishing, ice skating, archery and spelunking at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. According to KCOC President Abby Griffith ’24, the organization also plans to offer more casual events every couple of weeks throughout the semester, such as sledding outings, hikes at the BFEC and bonfires. Griffith is excited about these opportunities and believes that they will help foster a stronger community within the club. “[These events] will give people the chance to make outdoorsy friends and start going on more adventures both with the club and on their own time,” she said.
Griffith noted that while the abundance of outings will not change, the goals of the club have shifted since last semester. In the past, the signups for outings via Google Forms have posed an issue, with the majority of spots filling up in minutes and going to the first members to check their emails. The club has also struggled with attendance; on one occasion, 15% of students did not show up to the trip they’d signed up for. To solve this problem, KCOC plans to brainstorm new ideas to discourage no-shows in the future to ensure that students that want to attend these trips have a greater chance of being able to.
Griffith also noted that another central focus for the semester is allowing people to create their own trips. This would be aided by the creation of a virtual “trip board” that will be sent to the dis-list each week where people can post about their own upcoming trips and connect with members who are interested in tagging along. KCOC members can post where they are going on their adventures and meet new people as a result. “[This will] give people more of a space to meet like-minded folks that they can go on their own trips with since we can only offer so many,” KCOC Vice President Kate Ford ’25 said.
The club is also looking for five new leaders to guide trips this semester. Many of the organization’s current leaders expressed that having this position has been an incredibly fulfilling role. “What’s rewarding about being a leader is that we get to bridge the gap between Kenyon students and the wonderful outdoors spaces that we visit,” said Ford Young ’25, one of the club’s leaders. Elena Volchok ’23 shared a similar sentiment. “[I have] loved contributing my ideas to try and provide more spaces for the outdoors community at Kenyon,” she said.
The experience of being in the club is not limited to being a leader. Those wishing to join the club should email email@example.com to join the dis-list.