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White to lead Alpine Club of Canada

New executive director 'exactly what the club needs'



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 group.

“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,” White said.