When Joyce Folbigg joined the Outdoor Club of Victoria, it was a way for the 19-year-old to make friends and explore the outdoors around Greater Victoria and beyond.
Sixty-four years later, Folbigg, the club’s longest-standing active member, may have scaled back her involvement for health reasons, but hasn’t changed her appreciation for the outdoor social group, which turns 70 this March.
“It’s certainly been a good club to belong to, right from the beginning,” said Folbigg, now 83. “The hikes and the activities were available to us right from the beginning when there weren’t so many available to (the public). Some of the things that we did, I’ve really cherished my whole life.”
Hiking Sooke, building the trails in Goldstream Provincial Park and taking group trips through the Olympic Mountains are among some of the highlights from the Oak Bay resident’s time with the club.
After undergoing surgery, Folbigg no longer hikes. But she does attend all of the club’s social events, as plans to be there for its upcoming 70th anniversary celebration for past and present members, set for 10:30 a.m. on March 3 at Uplands Golf Club.
The Outdoor Club of Victoria’s mandate – of hosting hikes or other outdoor activities and fostering interest in nature – also hasn’t changed much since its inception in 1942, said club president Mary Hof.
“It’s nice to have companions and to get out there,” said Hof, crediting the club with uniting many couples and friends. “It’s just a good feeling getting high up in the mountains. I like to bag peaks.”
Folbigg remains close with friends she has known for many decades through the club and hopes it will continue for many more.
“We are absolutely blessed to live in this part of the world,” she said. “The scenery that we have here and the things that are available to us, we are just so lucky.”
The Outdoor Club of Victoria has about 150 members and continues to host a variety of regular hikes and camping trips, both at home and at destinations throughout B.C., Alberta and the United States. Membership is $22 per year or $40 per couple with no charge for the first three hikes.
Hike schedules and membership applications are available online. Members may contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat ($20) at the celebration.