The Kenai Peninsula Outdoor Club grew out of an inspiration. Steve Foley used to live in Colorado, where clubs of all sorts -- for climbing, hiking, skiing as well as general outdoor interest -- exist in abundance. When he moved to Alaska, he found no such clubs at all.
Foley said that there are 300 outdoor clubs in Washington, D.C. Some have dues in the thousands of dollars.
The KPOC is the only outdoor club on the peninsula. Foley formed it in September 1993 to fill the void he found here.
The club began as -- and still is -- mainly a hiking club. But the members participate in a number of other activities. Not all of them involve the outdoors, but members all share an enthusiasm for being outside and enjoying nature.
The activities are as varied as the people in the club. Most members are single, and all are over 21, the minimum age for KPOC members. Popular activities include hiking, skiing and mountain biking.
This month the club will camp at Hidden Lake, bike to Crescent Lake, and hike to Juneau Falls, just to list a few of its planned outside activities.
Other activities include a movie night, bowling, a bonfire and several dinners, as well as a costume party for Halloween. Some members also plan to go to bigger events together.
Todd Stone is the organization's current president. He and his wife Jan both described the club as "a family away from family." The club provides opportunities for people to meet others, and that's especially valuable for people without family in the area, Todd said.
The group gets together for Thanksgiving and has a gift exchange for Christmas, adding to the sense of family members share.
Foley said he enjoys the club because, among other reasons, it gives him a chance to listen to people's stories.
"Everyone has a story to tell," he said.
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