Arizona Outdoors Activities Group is a 501 C 3 non-profit Meetup group that was founded by Kathleen Winans and Marsha Bidwell in September 2010. One of the things we noticed with other outdoor groups was that they were run primarily by experienced outdoors men who seemed to miss the details when it came to showing woman, or beginner outdoors men, the basic skills necessary to be comfortable and safe in an outdoor environment.
After meeting each other at a campout involving cooking for over 100 people, Winans and Bidwell realized that their combined experience with years of scouting, kayaking, quads, fishing, equestrians, hiking, and camping could offer new members activities that previously would only be learned through scouting — if it were available — or passed down from father or mother to son and daughter.
A Chance To Experience
Basically, if you were not a former Scout, or were raised in a camping-outdoors family, you had never had the opportunity to experience the outdoors or receive the right information to ensure your safety, and comfort. Plus, you could never share the experience and joy of the outdoors with your friends, and family. We have members who have lived primarily in urban areas come out to one of our camping trips and were amazed by the sounds, smells, and sights around them. Soon, those new to the outdoors were finding themselves out on one of the kayaks paddling the lower Salt River, or on the back of a horse riding for the steak house, hiking a guided hike at the end of the day at one of South Mountain’s many scenic trails, or seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time on one of our many campouts. It is not uncommon for one of the many organizers to set a member adrift on a kayak for the first time, check the cinch on a saddle, help set up a tent, bait a hook, have a potluck dinner after a day of skiing, lead a hike, or cook an outdoor breakfast to teach our members the ease of these skills — as well as what they will need to do these things for themselves.
The Best Part
As our members advance, we have asked them to share their experience so that the loop of experiences never closes. Most of our organizers started as members. The best part of our group, is that anyone interested in the outdoors, whether experienced outdoors men or women, a single parent, or one who has never have stepped foot outside the boundaries of the city can join our group and are certain to find an activity that suits them. All that is needed is that they go to our Web site and click on the “Join Us” symbol on the Meetup page. Follow the prompts and that’s it; you’re a member! The membership is free, but we do ask for a tax-deductible donation of $40.00 a year to help reserve campsites, pay for the holiday dinners, food and fuel for the camp, cards, and signs, and cover the cost of the Web site.
Marsha J Bidwell
“ The best that I have been with. This is a really good group of people. ”