Fredericton — Since the pandemic began, record numbers of people have been taking on outdoor pursuits for the first time, a comforting sign that folks are enjoying the simple things in life like water, air and trees.
To address the demand for new membership, the Nature First Outdoor Enthusiasts Club announced today that it will be changing its entry regulations to attract more of these adventure newbies.
“We want to make sure that everyone who is enthusiastic is welcome, no matter what their skill level,” said club president Cheryl Dobson. “That’s why we are changing our membership criteria so that it focuses on what’s important: the gear.”
When asked to explain what the new criteria are, Dobson said that it varies by discipline. “With hiking, members who wear Salomon or Keen boots are automatically admitted,” she said. “And now, we’ve decided to let people who wear Merrells into the club, but only if they’re purchased at Radical Edge and not the Shoe Company.”
When asked how the group vets new members, Dobson said that a simple Facebook or Instagram search usually suffices.
“We’ve been fooled a couple of times,” she said with a chuckle. “We had one applicant say that she loved hiking but then we found a picture of her on the trail and she was wearing sunglasses from Walmart! Obviously, she was not a serious enthusiast, so we had to reject her membership.”
When asked if there are any additional regulations for members once they pass the screening process, Dobson shifted in her seat a little bit and mumbled something about “crossbreeding.”
Sensing a juicy story, we tracked down a current member to gather details.
“Well, they are a little strict about who you are allowed to hang out with,” said Harry McNutt, a mountain bike enthusiast who only agreed to this interview if we changed his name for the story.
When probed for details, McNutt said: “Well, I met a girl on Tinder and I suggested that we go for a right proper rip on the trails. She did tell me she was a noob, but then she showed up with a low-end Norco hard tail with factory specs. I mean, it wasn’t like it was a Canadian Tire bike, but I knew then and there that Nature First wouldn’t approve and it would never work between us.”
When asked if he’s dating anyone now, McNutt said that he’s found a girl who very likely could be The One. “I mean, the girl herself is annoying as f*ck but she has a sweet ride. It’s a Pivot Mach 4 SL XTR Team Live Valve!”
When we went back to Dobson and asked if she thought the admission criteria could inadvertently turn away any true outdoor enthusiasts, she was clear: “Gear is how you show enthusiasm! How else would anyone know you’re serious about the outdoors? By sitting under a tree? Walking by a lake? That’s just silly. It’s like people who say they run but aren’t on Strava. Ridiculous. How else can we give you kudos?”