When a small number of ladies got together in 1989 to form a running group, they had no idea their shared passion would grow to a membership of 280 women participating in a variety of activities.
Jos Penner and Margo Hartling, two founding members of the Shuswap Lady Striders, worked to establish a friendly, non-competitive club or women of all fitness levels who appreciate the outdoors.
The Shuswap Lady Striders was born from that vision, with members ages 18 to 84. New members most often join when they are new to town or have recently retired. The club’s motto is Fitness and Friendship, and the sense of community and welcome that resonates within the group is an amazing bonus to living in such a beautiful part of this extraordinary province.
The club’s membership includes residents of Salmon Arm, Sorrento, Blind Bay, Enderby, Armstrong and Revelstoke, as well as both full-time and summer residents from out of province who join in when in the area.
Initially 30-members strong, the Striders began as a group of runners who annually took part in the Kelowna Fresh Air Experience run. In addition to the club’s growing membership, the physical activities they participate in has also expanded, so that there is a time, day and activity available for almost everyone.
“We are all about the food!” is a common refrain among club members, in part because of the numerous opportunities to socialize, including monthly breakfasts which rotate among various local restaurants, pot luck dinners, a family picnic, travel nights and a Christmas luncheon. The Striders also volunteer and support local events through their involvement in the Pirate Loppett, Bike for Your Life and the Salmon Arm Fall Fair. This community-minded group also give back. Every fall at their annual potluck/AGM, the Striders donate their extra funds to various outdoor organizations within the community. Some of the charities which have benefited include: SABNES, Shuswap Trail Alliance, The Larch Hills Nordic Society, as well as the community food bank.
Over the past three decades, the Shuswap Lady Striders has grown into one of the most attended groups in Salmon Arm because it is open to women of all ages and abilities who want to walk, hike, bike, cross-country ski, snow shoe and socialize. All members are welcome to participate in any or all Striders activities in a stress-free, supportive and environmentally sensitive way.
When activities such as skiing, snow shoeing or hiking are involved, members meet and team up to car pool together to lessen their impact on the environment, and someone always has a bag in their pocket to pick up garbage they find while on a hike or walk.
Membership cost is minimal – $15 a year – but the benefits of developing lifelong friendships with other like-minded women is priceless. You can find them at www.shuswapladystriders.ca.
Submitted by the Shuswap Lady Striders.