By: Mike Hobig, Education Chairperson

As you have seen, there have been announcements from the Solar Outdoors Steering Committee regarding the cancellation of the April general membership meeting. This is a prudent, mandatory and realistic thing to do. You may not, however, realize that the Steering Committee continues to work behind the scenes (as they have for the forty years of the club existence).

On Tuesday, March 31st (the night of the cancelled March general meeting), the Steering Committee will gather virtually to make changes to the By-Laws that will allow for modifications of our elections and voting process. We expect to have remote voting this year for our committee positions. While we need some prime positions for the club to exist, we have more that make it run smoothly to have a group that can assist you in organizing your outdoor adventures. Yes this is a social club with an outdoor problem, we have resources, experience and gear to share to bring us all together.

I know at this time we cannot get together in large groups, but how many of us have found comfort in the out of doors, perhaps just a walk in the neighborhood, the local park or seeing spring emerge? The Steering Committee met remotely and while I thought it would be a horrible let down, in fact, it was a very needed connection. I have held several positions in the club, Historian, Membership and Education. I don’t know if I will be volunteering for any positions to help out this year but wanted to give you my take on each, list the other open position and give you this Call to Action:

Please consider volunteering your time to help Solar Outdoors continue on sharing our love for the outdoors, our community and companionship.  Please reach out to any member of the current Steering Committee for more information on the roles, responsibilities and election process. 

The current chairpersons can be found in the link:

First off these are the leadership roles that we need minimally filled to run the club: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Other positions include:  Activities, By-Laws, Communication, Education, Equipment, Historian, Membership, Programs, Public Relations and Webmaster.

At this time most positions are open but may be contested. You may be asked to provide your view on what you hope to accomplish during your term.  While there are set position descriptions, there is a lot of latitude to bring your own vision and strengths to assist Solar Outdoors.

Below is my personal take on Steering Committee roles that I have held. If you have any questions on these, please contact Mike Hobig, Education Chairperson at

Membership: This is a fantastic way to meet new members!  It provides a view of the entire club while maintaining the roster of contact info.  There is a bit of computer work (basic Excel is advisable) and some money handling, but most of it is right at the general membership meetings.  There is some year-end surge of contacting or removing lapsed memberships as well as a peak around the Beginning Backpacking class to add new members.  It is a good position to talk to folks (both new and existing members) in the club.

Historian: I had a ball going back through the old articles of our club’s newsletter and writing articles that were meant to inspire and inform members about trips and activities. I started the Past Tents column that continues under the current Solar Outdoors Historian and tried to bring together some past and present locations and events for idea that members could do or see again. We have over forty years of history with some of our original founding members!  I think it would be great if we get an interview series started to bring living history to the forefront of our current membership.

Education: I am currently the chairperson for education. I have been trying to inspire members to act and work up some learning events to share. Solar Outdoors has a great tradition of peer to peer learning (in the past we have offered “classes” that inferred that we are accredited and we have been working to change that impression). I created a list of past educational opportunities and we have a framework to help you share your passion. Basic Backpacking is a prime example of a group that pulls in new club members and continually engages former ‘students’ to help run the class to inspire others to participate in an outdoor activity we love. As education chair, I keep track of current learning events, announce them at the general meetings and help members form new ones (with that framework). I wish I could inspire more folks to share their knowledge and passion.

Please reach out to any member of the current steering committee if you would like to learn more about the open positions.  All Solar Outdoors members are welcome to attend the Steering Committee meetings.



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