As we turn another page from Winter toward Summer in the Eagle River Valley, I’m excited to become Vail Club 50’s President and look forward to leading the Club as it continues providing fun events and activities for our 750+ members.
In June 2022, Vail Club 50 celebrates its 30th birthday! The outstanding slate of events and activities members have enjoyed for the past three decades all occurred because of one thing – our volunteer leaders. All Club officers, directors and event leaders volunteer their time providing members with the best menu of social events and sports activities for 50+ year olds in the Valley. What a great Club this is to meet new people and make new friends, all while having fun both indoors and in the amazing outdoor environment here!
A number of members have expressed frustration about events filling up before they have a chance to register. There’s an easy solution to this problem - more volunteer leaders. If you are not comfortable going solo your first time leading a Club event or activity, that’s perfectly okay. The Club happily will partner you with an experienced leader to co-lead your first event. I was really scared to lead my first Vail Club 50 hike during the Summer of 2019; many thanks to Gretchen for co-leading and “having my back”! At the end of this letter are links for members to sign up to lead events; please have a look and volunteer.
Last Summer, your Club delivered over 30 social events with over 1,000 participants and almost 100 hikes including multiple same- level hikes on the same day to try better to meet demand, but this still wasn’t enough. And last Winter we held almost 20 social events (despite some having to be cancelled due to COVID risk from the Omicron variant), almost 30 snowshoe hikes and over 20 ski touring, cross country skiing and spiking treks. Again, many events saw members on waitlists because of high demand. We can reduce or eliminate waitlists by having more events and activities; all it takes is more volunteer leaders - it’s as simple as that.
Summer 2022 promises another full slate of social events and sports activities for your enjoyment. Summer Social Directors Debbie Durbin and Ros Mangone, with assistance from Susan Meints, have been hard at work putting together another outstanding slate of social events. Summer Sports Director Pat McFarland and her team are organizing leaders now for another Summer full of hiking, biking, tennis and, we hope, golf (public golf courses are in high demand and currently we’re finding it difficult to reserve a block of tee times). Hiking is being led by Nathan Robinett (double black), Andy Franklin (single black), Michelle & Lewis Ribner (blue) and Barb Wahle (green). Joseph Staron is biking coordinator while Bruce Crow will coordinate tennis.
As is occurring with other organizations in the Valley, Vail Club 50 also is experiencing significant price increases as we schedule events. Event coordinators are working diligently to provide members with high-quality events at as reasonable prices as can be arranged.
I wish to extend a big thank you to two members who have contributed greatly to Vail Club 50’s continued success:
First is Al Musser who so ably served as President during what will be remembered as the very difficult COVID years. Al worked diligently with the Board and event coordinators to balance the safety of our club members, including adherence to Eagle County and CDC COVID guidelines, with ensuring we retained as much “fun-factor” as we could for social and sport events. To the best of our knowledge, no one contracted COVID while participating in a Vail Club 50 event. I also want to personally thank Al for having volunteered to extend his tenure as President until March 2022 after I suffered a family tragedy in late 2020 that would have made it very difficult for me to become President in October 2021, as originally scheduled. Please join me in thanking Al for his strong leadership during these difficult times.
Also, thank you to Pat Cornett who is retiring from the Board. Pat has worked tirelessly for Vail Club 50 for many years including before she became President in 2017, while serving as President for two years in 2018 and 2019, and as immediate past President for another two years. She has spent thousands of hours working, often behind the scenes, on moving the Club further into the internet age making it easier for leaders and members to organize and register for events and maintain their memberships. Vail Club 50 would not be what it is today without Pat’s dedication, expertise and hard work. Please join me in thanking Pat for all she has done over the years to make our Club the great organization it is today.
To eliminate the need for volunteers such as Pat having to spend so much of their time administering Club matters, the Club last Fall engaged a third-party company to provide a part-time administrator, Natalie Connell, to assist the Board and event coordinators with Club administration. Natalie has gotten up to speed very quickly, is very pleasant to work with and already is proving to be a very valuable addition to our team.
We will continue to follow Eagle County Public Health guidance to keep our members safe while we hope the COVID continues to diminish.
Vail Club 50 is strong, healthy and active, and with continued support from our excellent volunteers we can continue to be the premier organization where 50+ year olds in the Valley can enjoy a fun, active and healthy lifestyle. Please check our website on a regular basis to see and sign up for the events as they get posted.
President, Vail Club 50