Meet-up on the Internet, then take it outside
• Group allows outdoor enthusiasts to coordinate online
By Naomi Klouda
Valerie DeLaune started up an outdoor group for busy people in the Kachemak Bay area.
A new online group started this month seeks to match people of like interests for organized excursions on hiking trails and other outdoor pursuits.
The site, called the “Homer Outdoor Meet-up Group,” was organized by Valerie DeLaune, who said she started it in order to assist people in finding fellow hikers, skiers, kayakers, mountain climbers, or even those who want less arduous walks, to meet up for activities.
People interested in looking at a calendar of upcoming events can go to www.meetup.com. There, they can sign up to receive notices through their private e-mail, alerting them of opportunities and asking them what their needs are in terms of connecting with others to explore the outdoors. It allows opportunities to carpool, share water taxi expenses to get across Kachemak Bay to park trails, or share gas expenses if members want to offer the services of their boats.
“I wanted to initiate this as a face-to-face community of people of like interests,” DeLaune said. “It’s based on a national meet-up program. Anchorage has 70 of them within 25 miles.”
Homer has three meet-ups listed on the Web site: Eckankar in Homer (a group based on spiritual interests), a Kids in Nature group and now, the Homer Outdoor Group.
Nationally, meet-ups have caught on by offering a wide range of activities from Mom’s Stroller Strides to dance groups — to even a Ron Paul Meet-up Group.
The idea of such Web sites is to find people of like interests. You can sign in with your own profile — not a lot of personal chit-chat, just the basics of name and favorite activities — and then RSVP if interested in an upcoming get-together. Each trip comes with specific details, such as whether this is a trip appropriate for children or a family dog, details on trail conditions and whether there is a limit on how many people may attend.
“I wanted to initiate this to find people who do what I do,” said DeLaune, who established her acupuncture business here last spring, Alaskan Natural Care. She has worked as a naturalist aboard cruise ships and is an avid outdoors person who moved here from Juneau.
DeLaune said another advantage of the site is the time it saves for busy people. You don’t have to call people up or wait for a call to be returned. Interaction on the Web site allows for conversations about whether a ride is needed or available, or other questions and suggestions that arise.
The first meeting of the group will be a snowshoe hike on Feb. 6 at 1 p.m. that will link up at the Homer Reservoir on Skyline Drive.
This group is for all ages who like to get outdoors to hike, ski, snowshoe, ice skate, camp, backpack, kayak and boat. Monthly potlucks will be used to get acquainted, and to offer some kind of presentation such as slide shows of trips, gear information and short classes.
DeLaune said she needs others interested in helping to organize activities so the group can take off.
“I also want to hear from people who want to do a trip they know,” DeLaune said. “Some may be real familiar with a trail across the Bay, or they may want to help organize a more ambitious trip, such as to the Wrangle-Saint Elias.”
The group may also be able to pursue sponsors in exchange for advertising on the Web site. There is a cost for the start-up on the Web site, which for now is sponsored by DeLaune.
For more information, go to www.meetup.com and click on the Homer link.
HOMER TRIBUNE/File Photo - Valerie DeLaune started up an outdoor group for busy people in the Kachemak Bay area.
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on Feb 3rd, 2010 and filed under Feature
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