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By Mike Sarmiento

CONFUSED Outdoor Club formed in December 1996, and we started meeting officially in January 97. However, the 20 or so people who made up the founding membership already knew each other from the Cal Hiking And Outdoor Society (Chaos), so really we are an extension of that club. Our membership has grown to over 1000 people, and we have many trips going out all the time. Any member can suggest or even lead a trip! No approval or voting is required.

Members are people who day hike backpack mountaineer rock climb fly fish kayak spelunk brew beer mountain bike downhill ski ice skate cross country ski snow camp rollerblade run marathons through-hike randonee car camp river raft snow board telemark water ski windsurf wine taste road bike ice climb tour museums scuba dive watch videos ballroom or club dance hang out etc. From the vastly experienced to absolute beginner, all are welcome. CONFUSED is basically a bunch of cool people who happen to enjoy the outdoors or want to learn.

We are a varied mix of the typical Bay Area resident: starving student to wealthy worker; absolute beginner to first ascensionist; day hiker/weekend warrior to complete outdoor ice climbing slacker; Marin to Contra Costa Co.; San Jose to Berkeley; Santa Cruz to Santa Rosa. Our membership is about 50% female and 50% male, with an age range of 21-50, and almost everyone is college educated. We have a few married couples, but most everyone is single or dating. We try to be mellow, and not get caught up in the hum drum of life.

How the club works

Most activities and club related items get announced through the club e-mail list server. The first thing you should do is subscribe to the club list server so you will receive all club announcements. Once you are subscribed, you can send a message to the list and it will be distributed to the group. When you receive a message from the club, it will come with the subject [CONFUSED-LIST]. There is no fee to join the club or subscribe to the list, and most likely we'll never charge for membership either! Please tell your SF Bay Area friends and new arrivals about us.

CONFUSED meets at least once a quarter, sometimes more frequently, rotating between member homes in San Francisco, San Mateo, Cupertino and Menlo Park. Check the list server or the website for the time and place of the next scheduled meeting.

Trips are organized by club members. The club DOES NOT organize trips. Rather the club provides a communication forum, such as meetings and e-mail, where people can meet like minded folks to enjoy outdoor or indoor related activities. As such, the cost of going on any trip is minimal (i.e. food, shared gas, personal/rented gear, park entrance/camping fees, etc.). This also means if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. If you are interested in participating in a certain type of trip, then it is up to you to organize it or at least set it in motion. At a meeting or over the club e-mail, members announce a trip they are organizing or an activity they would like someone to organize.

Our club is only as good as its membership. Don't be shy. If you want to learn how to do something, want to go somewhere, need info on gear - whatever - post to the group using the list serv or ask at a meeting. Someone out there will probably want to join or teach you.

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