For May is Membership Month, I asked some of ADK’s young members about why they joined and what they love about ADK. Here’s what Katie Alois of the Schenectady Chapter had to say!

When did you join ADK?

I joined ADK in January 2016, the winter after I hiked to my first high peak summits on snowshoes (there were five that season!). When I made it to the top of Cascade and Porter during my first trek, I asked myself why I had taken such a long hiatus from the mountains, and I knew it was time to return. Since then, I’ve made becoming a 46er a defined goal.

Why did you initially join ADK?

It was love at first yurt for me! I was motivated to join because I decided to participate in the Young Member Winter Adventure program this year, which included two nights in a yurt (I’m ready to move in!), a hike up Phelps Mountain, and cross country skiing at Heart Lake. I figured it would be the first of many opportunities to meet and hike with like-minded people, and learn the skills necessary for safely playing in the backcountry. Plus, there’s a pretty sweet discount on lodging, parking, workshops, guidebooks, etc.

Why is being an ADK member important to you?

My passion for the outdoors is a big part of who I am, and I’m proud of it. My membership status with ADK is proof of that. Membership allows me opportunities to explore and learn in an incredible outdoor classroom with great people, while protecting it at the same time. It’s an incredibly small way to give back to the land and mountains that have, and will continue to, provide so much to so many.

There’s something about the Adirondacks that invokes a sense of solitude and serenity. This is a place that invites you to slow down, to ponder, to feel your own innate creativity, and to just fall in love with the landscape. It’s a place that worms its way into your heart and never leaves. That’s worth protecting.

What is your favorite part about being an ADK member? 

For me, I love the feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself. Membership fosters a feeling of belonging and the excitement of supporting and learning more about conservation, trail systems and maintenance, equipment and gear, safety, and most of all, connecting with other people. I look forward to becoming more familiar with all the volunteer opportunities available and my goal is to find time to participate and make a difference.

Furthermore, ADK provides exposure to activities you might not have considered nor had much experience with before. For example, the Schenectady Chapter has some heavy weight talent when it comes to paddle sports, so I plan on taking full advantage of their expertise and getting out on the water this summer!