About Seniors Outdoors!
- Who We Are
- Club History
- Monthly Meetings
- Retail Shopping Discounts
- Club Business
- Board Meeting Decision Logs
- Get Involved
Seniors Outdoors! is an outdoor recreation and social club providing organized year-round outdoor activities and related educational opportunities to active adults age fifty or over. Members share an interest in exploring the Durango and Four Corners Region, staying healthy and physically fit, and meeting others with similar interests.
Seniors Outdoors! also supports the community. The club collects food and money at our 4 potlucks to be given to the Volunteers of America Shelter and Safe House, the Durango Food Bank, and Manna. In addition, the club donates annually to San Juan Mountain Association, Colorado Trail Foundation, and Trails 2000.
In the Spring of 1998, Charlie Speno, director of the Durango Area Agency on Aging, developed the concept for an outdoor outings club for seniors in the Durango area. Charlie was concerned that many seniors were not getting enough exercise; he felt that an organized club might encourage individuals aged 50+ to get outdoors more often and stay in shape. Starting with a newspaper announcement, Charlie facilitated the development of the volunteer group and began doing public relations.
At the first meeting on April 14th, eight interested people met at the 55-Plus (Seniors’) Center in Durango to organize the group and plan some hikes. The first hike, into the Bisti Wilderness near Farmington, NM, was on May 1st. The group welcomed people from southwestern Colorado for the fun, challenge and companionship of pursuing outdoor activities in the mountains and deserts of the Four Corners Region.
The May 12th meeting was attended by sixteen people and produced a “real” organization. Participants selected the club name and elected Dell Manners as president, Mary McGee as secretary, and Carolyn Smith as Treasurer. Program/Hiking Coordinators were Mary Lou Church, Sally Johnson, and Marsha Scanlon. Annual dues to cover mailing costs were set at $10 for individuals and $12 for couples, and members scheduled monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at the 55-Plus Center.
By the onset of summer, word had spread to many “over 50’s” hikers in the Durango area and enthusiasm for the new organization was growing! Twenty-four people showed up for the June 9th meeting, and 39 came to the meeting in July. The Durango Herald ran a feature article in the Outdoors/Recreation section in August, and by September the club had grown to 46 paid members. Seventeen outings were planned for the fall. Members drafted John Martin to be hike coordinator, Sally Johnson as the first newsletter editor, and Marv and Pat Dworkin volunteered to be the first club historians. The club was always aware of safety issues, so members purchased walkie-talkies and acquired a first aid kit to be carried on all outings. A Holiday Party was set for December 8th, and the rest is history!
And if you want to see the special about Seniors Outdoors Still Hiking and Climbing after 20 years, check out this link.
And here is a link to a slideshow that John Martin put together in 2022.
Club meetings are generally held on the second Tuesday of each month at the Community Recreation Center at 2700 Main Avenue in Durango. “Social time” begins at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting starts at 7:00. The January, February, April, May, July, August, October, and November meetings feature local speakers on a variety of informative and educational topics. For the March, June (picnic at an outdoor venue), September, and December meetings, the club hosts a potluck dinner. An informative new member orientation that begins at 5:30 p.m. precedes the March and September potlucks.
Seniors Outdoors! has a diverse Outings Schedule with at least two outings a week, including day hikes, backpacking, interpretive and destination hikes, bicycling, snowshoeing, skiing, overnight trips, etc. The club has adopted two segments along Highway 550, which we clean up annually.
We are a diverse group with different ability levels, so outings are planned to accommodate varied paces and distances. Please view the Outing Guidelines before you participate in an outing. In addition, there are several specialized subgroups within Seniors Outdoors! that schedule recurring events. Please see the Seniors Outdoors! Subgroups page for more information.
Retail Shopping Discounts
Seniors Outdoors! members receive a 10% discount on regularly-priced merchandise at the following retailers: Backcountry Experience, Gardenswartz, Pine Needle Mountaineering, Mountain Hyperbarics (massage therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy), and Spaah Shop. You get a $10 discount at Brown’s Shoe Fit and Brown’s Sport Shoe. Just tell the merchant you are an SO! member.
Seniors Outdoors! is an unincorporated non-profit association under Title 7 Article 30 and other applicable statues of Colorado law. The club is governed by Bylaws that were approved by membership vote and originally adopted in July 2008. The Board of Directors meets quarterly and manages club business and finances. Board positions and procedures are outlined in the Procedure Manual. Board meeting minutes are available upon request from the Secretary, and financial statements are available from the Treasurer. You can view Board Meeting Decision Logs.
Seniors Outdoors! has grown into a large and very active club. The club is an “all volunteer” organization, and members are expected to assist with club activities and management. We are always looking for new outings and trip leaders. If you are interested in leading an outing, please contact the Outings Committee Chair, and view the Trip Leader Guidelines.