‘Time, effort and heart’

Summer is officially upon us, and there are many fun ways to get out into the sun this year. The patio at the hottest bar in town is now open, but there are plenty of other energetic ways to enjoy the outdoors this season.

Clubs such as Michigan Adventurers Club (MAC) and Metro Detroit Athletes (MDA), as hosted on meetup.com, hold events welcoming outdoor enthusiasts or newcomers.

“I had been looking for people to play sports with most of my adult life,” said Jim Stange, creator of MDA and assistant organizer in MAC. “I realized there was no general purpose sports group in Michigan, so I took it upon myself to start one.”

Clubs like these are growing at a rapid pace.

According to Charity Loring, current MAC organizer, the Michigan Adventurers Club has had consistent growth over three years, starting with eight members to the current total, well over 2,000 members.

The growth is a reflection for the interest in outside activities in the metro Detroit area.

MAC and MDA utilize tools to create large-scale group meetings, which is a dif- ficult task when relying on word of mouth through a group of tight-knit friends.

“(MAC is) the largest meetup.com group in Michigan,” Stange said. “Wonderful peo- ple, anyone who cares about the outdoors and being active should be inspired.”

A good example of a big event hosted by MAC is skydiving, currently scheduled for June. The cost of a jump is significantly

lower in a larger group setting compared to the price of a small group of people.

The organization is also effective in bringing together a canvas of people who share similar interests.

“We have people of all cultural back- grounds, age groups, careers and gender,” Loring said. “Our members are all different from one another in most aspects, yet they all get along and bond during our adven- tures.”

While both groups share a common goal of promoting an active lifestyle, the differ- ence between the two outfits is that MAC focuses on cardiovascular activities in nature like hiking, biking and water-based travel such as kayaking or rafting.

MDA on the other hand, has an emphasis on fair and friendly competition through a

variety of sports. “The point (of MDA) unlike leagues, is

not necessarily to win, but to keep teams as even as possible so that everyone is having fun,” Stange said.

Fueled by the end results of a successful outing, the organizers of these groups take pride in their volunteer work by motivat- ing others to get outside and be active in their lives.

“My goal is to make everyone feel welcome, inspired by the outdoors and feel part of a second family,” Loring said. “We try to provide as many activities as possible for our own happiness and the fulfillment of seeing that it brings other happiness in our group.”

The joy in seeing others get active sustains the groups ideas, but the personal interactions between members results in a deeper connection.

“A lot of time, effort and heart goes into creating each adventure,” Loring said. “Watching lifelong friendships, memories and adventures grow over time keeps us inspired.”

Both the novice to healthy living and health-conscious veteran can benefit from participating in the activities provided by groups like MAC or MDA.

As long as more people are feeling invigorated to get under the blue summer sky this year, team leaders like Loring and Stange have accomplished their goal.