By Lynn Martel
When Lawrence White fully takes over the
position of Alpine Club of Canada executive director in early May from Bruce
Keith, who is retiring after 12 years in the role, he’ll look forward to the
challenge of trying to attract a broader membership demographic to the
100-year-old non-profit organization.
And White believes his own youth should go a
long way in letting the public know the ACC is not a staid or hardcore-focussed
“My primary goal is to continue along with the
work Bruce has initiated already, and to soak up as much as I can from the
leadership of the club, gain from their mentorship,” said White, 33.
“My next goal is to find ways to appeal to
another demographic — a younger crowd who is reluctant to get involved in
clubs and charities. I hope I can show them that I’m young, I volunteer and
lead trips and I’m involved at the club’s section level. I hope the public will
see there are other people out there in senior roles who are still active and
involved in the club. If the public went to meetings, they might see the
variety the club has to offer — that we runs trips with everything from
snowshoeing to mountain bike rides to advanced mountaineering.”
White joined the ACC while living in Vancouver
in 1999, when he was 25, and his interest was immediately piqued.
“It was an outdoor recreation organization I
wanted to get involved with,” White said. “I felt it was a club I could gain knowledge
from. I wanted to get involved in the outdoor mountaineering community, and I
found the ACC on-line.”
With a population of over two million,
Vancouver has just 600 ACC members, a fact that can make finding partners for
mountaineering activities challenging, he said. The Internet, however, offers
great possibilities, he added.
“There’s not much presence there, that’s
something I’d like to change,” White said.
In 2000, while studying tourism management at
Capilano College in North Vancouver, White accepted a three-month student
practicum position with the club at its Canmore head office.
“It seemed like a natural progression, wanting
to learn more about the non-profit environment, and the ACC and what it did,”