2020 President's Report



It is my pleasure to write this Annual Report to members and special guests in attendance at the Ottawa Voyageurs Walking Club (OVO) Annual General Meeting (AGM).

First and foremost, a big thank you to all of our hard-working volunteers for their work over the year. In particular, I’d like to acknowledge the work of the board of directors and the Castor Committee. Members of the BOD attended monthly meetings and assisted with planning and realizing a host of walks and special events. The Castor committee assisted with our special events and is responsible for managing the 50-50 draw, arranging for door prizes and taking care of the logistics necessary for a special event to be successful. Other club volunteers took care of the walk boxes for our permanent trails, helped out at the registration desk, created routes for our walks and pre-walked them all.
2019 has been a busy year for the OVO Board. We arranged and participated in 22 events and 10 Permanent Trails this year. We also organized 7 social events for our membership. Some of the highlights worth noting are:

1. Charity Walk – 2019 saw our 20th year of supporting the Move Your Feet charity walk for the Orleans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre. Despite it being Easter weekend, the club raised $830 which gave the Food Bank $4,150 in buying power. Over the past 20 years, the OVO has raised over $18,500 in support of the Food Bank. I want to acknowledge Kathy who has spent many years coordinating this event. This year, Kathy has decided to retire from organizing this event and the OVO board is looking for someone who would be willing to replace her as the event coordinator.

2. Tulip Festival Walks – three days of walking events and 124 walkers. Thanks to the volunteers and walkers who made this walking festival such a big success. Marion continues to look for new locations and routes and diligently pre-walks most of the routes herself.

3. Walks with Special Guests – A big thank you go to club ambassadors who walked with guests from across the world. We sometimes receive emails from people travelling through Ottawa who want to do one or more of the Ottawa walks. In June we had guests from England and Germany and in late Fall, a group of walkers joined the CVF President, Beverley Cattrall, for a walk in Ottawa.

4. Bus Trip – This was my first time coordinating a bus trip and I am happy to report that it went very well. 24 participants, including some members from the Kings Town Trekkers and the Nepean Nomads, enjoyed the OVO bus trip to South-Western Ontario. We spent just over $4,100 on the trip. Thank you to our treasurer Michelle for ensuring we stayed under budget. We will be planning another trip in 2021 and we are open to your suggestions for destinations.

5. Fall Rhapsody Festival – A beautiful, sunny day greeted 53 walkers who came out to enjoy the fall colours in Gatineau Park. I want to honour Benoit who works very hard to plan this event for us, year-after-year.

6. Cleaning the Capital – Thank you to Kathy for organizing this activity for us over the past many years. In 2019 Kathy renewed OVO’s commitment to cleaning a section of Orleans Bvld twice a year during the Cleaning the Capital event. One lucky participant wins a free breakfast, paid for by the OVO, at each event.

7. Volunteer Appreciation – We were very fortunate to be able to hold the 2019 Volunteer Appreciation at the Anderson Links Golf Club. Thank you to all of the volunteers who do so much to assist our club. I would like to acknowledge our new volunteer coordinator, Jessie, and all those who helped to set up a memorable event.

8. Annual Christmas Dinner – thanks to the Castor Committee, Perry & Lynda, for making the reservation at Moxie’s for this year’s Christmas dinner. We enjoyed a nice meal with good friends.

1. Grant from the Ontario Director – We applied for, and received, a $500 grant from the Ontario Director. This money went toward our bus trip.

2. Individual walk sponsors – In 2019, we received $165 in walk sponsorships. Graham Fawcett sponsored the Greely Cycle event ($85). Graham Fawcett and Jane Estabrooks sponsored the More Days Bike event ($40). Jim McConkey sponsored one of our events ($40).

Social Media – The way that we communicate with our members continues to evolve. We now interact periodically with members through email, as well as in more immediate ways such as social media on Facebook and Meetup. To this end, I encourage all of our members to “like” the club Facebook page and to follow us on Meetup.

1. Facebook - Kathy Luten maintains our club Facebook page
2. Meetup – We share the National Capital Volksport Walking Club Meetup page with the Nepean Nomads. The Ontario Director pays for our Meetup fees. I post our events on the site and ensure that one of our members is available to greet any new walkers. I did not post the Christmas Lights walk on Meetup this year due to the small venue. Currently there are 1,006 members on the combined Meetup site.
3. Web Site – Kathy Luten maintains our website and is responsible for updating the content.
4. Club Booklet – this year we revamped our club booklet, reducing the pages and streamlining the information. This is a trial run for us, and we will continue to look for improvements.

I would like to thank the OVO Board of Directors for their energy, support, friendship, enthusiasm and sheer hard work. I really admire and appreciate you all - each of you is amazing, with unique skills, energy and enthusiasm. This year we are saying thankyou to two members of the board. Chris will be vacating the position of Secretary and Marg is leaving the position of Publicity Coordinator. We wish both of you well and we are thankful for your years of working with the board of directors.
Lastly, I thank all those attending our AGM as your support and feedback is valued.

Karen Venema
Ottawa Voyageurs Walking Club