Outdoor Club of South Jersey Newsletter

 To:  {Contact_First_Name} 

February 2020

Hike to the Philadelphia Art Museum led by John Kerney

Spotlight on John Kerney

By Vera C. Stek

        While one of the best reasons to join the Outdoor Club of South Jersey is safety, there’s another reason that’s equally compelling. Yes, there’s safety in numbers and it certainly helps to have experienced activity leaders who have been there and done that.

        But perhaps just as important is socialization and the many friendships most members experience after joining. It’s hard to have a silent mile or no-talking activity because most of us look forward to the opportunity to catch up with active friends, chat about our lives and share life experiences.

        New member John Kerney of Oaklyn joined the club to enjoy the outdoors after a career of working inside some tight and unusual spaces. As he puts it, “I tell people it was the best $20 I ever spent!”

        Now, he’d like to help others get more social through club activities and has taken on the organization and chair of the Social Committee to see how OCSJ can be enhanced even more and made even more appealing.

        A father, husband and grandfather, John loves hiking in the state parks but also likes to try some more adventurous things, and perhaps his interest in adventure may be evident in new club activities in the near future.

        Here’s John’s story:

Q. Tell us about yourself.

JOHN: I just turned 58 in January. I have been a union steamfitter with Local 420 in Philadelphia for 30 years. I just earned retirement age but my current job in a fabrication shop feels like a hobby. I live in Oaklyn.

Q. When and why did you join the Outdoor Club?

JOHN: I joined OCSJ through Meetup when I was tiring of being in industrial sites all day with work and needed more nature surroundings to counter it. Thank goodness! I tell people it was the best 20 dollars I ever spent!

Q. Which activities do you most participate in?

JOHN: I have tried all the activities the club has to offer.

Q. Tell us about the Social Committee and your plans.

JOHN: Hearing about all the interesting events this club USED to do, I asked to start a social committee after participating in our annual Cape May weekend. Seeing everyone from different areas of the club enjoying each other, I felt we could maybe do more events to enhance that comradery.  Our first fall social with photo contest was an instant success. Some potential upcoming events in the planning stages are Dragon Boating, Sailing class, a whale watching trip and a spring safety/luncheon.

Q. What other interests do you have?

JOHN: I travel outside  of country a lot and my recent plans to visit Philippines may be cancelled due to volcano Taal being very active.

        Some of my new interests outside of club mainly involve grandkids: Letting them experience new things that may never try like indoor rock climbing, slot car racing and just plain simple things.

Q. Do you have favorite places in the Pinelands to pursue your outdoor activities?

JOHN: I like Batsto and Bass River State Park.

Q. Anything else you want to say about anything?

JOHN: I am looking forward to serving as Social Committee Coordinator to help members explore new and exciting things like our curling events. If anyone has new fresh ideas please let the committee know. Thanks for allowing me to serve.



A piece of advice.  Put down that cell phone and turn off your television and computer. Get outside and enjoy the great outdoors with us. We have wonderful activities and dedicated leaders. We are trying to increase our variety of activities with walks to a local museum, curling and ice skating. We also are continuing to run our long term annual events like bus trips and the Cape May weekend.

Since our last newsletter, I have attended many events some outside of my skill set like mountain biking even though I have recently led a couple very chilly hybrid  cycling events.  Please come out and join us for some serious fun and fresh air. Maybe volunteer to lead events. Talk to your activity chair about helping out!                                                                                                                                       Joe Fabian


Membership information is now available with the following links:

OCSJ.ORG  - click on the Join OCSJ button and enter your email address and password. 
Wild Apricot app on you phone

    OCSJ's mailing address is: 

           OCSJ, PO Box 46, Atco, NJ 08004 

     Our annual membership rates are:

     Individual - $20 or Family - $25 


    Membership Questions: contact Regina Coeby at   

    To receive up to date club information, we encourage everyone to go to our website and to join our Meetup groups.


    1.  OCSJ is a member organization. Membership funds pay for insurance and other Club overhead. However, prospective members and guests of OCSJ members may try one regular activity from each of our activity sections without joining. Thereafter they must join to be eligible for the hundreds of activities and events available every year.

    2.  Participants on trips which charge money must be members of OCSJ, except where the trip is a joint trip with another club and the participant is a member of that club. If there is space available, members of OCSJ may bring guests on a day trip charging money. Participants on overnight trips charging money must always be an OCSJ member.

    Any comments please Contact Joseph Fabian (


    Our activities are listed on the following Meetup sites.  

    Click Links Below to Join and View

    * Biking Events List Link

    *Kayak Events List Link

    Note:  You must join each meetup group separately

    If you are planning to attend an event, do not forget to RSVP. This is important information for the leader. And of course, if your plans change, please cancel your RSVP. Meetup will automatically send you an email if the activity is cancelled.


    The new printed Trekker is available quarterly at OCSJ board meetings and from Board Members and Leaders.  Or you can print the whole or any page of the Trekker by clicking on the link:

    OCSJ_Trekker Winter 2020.pdf

    Like us on Facebook  

    Outdoor Club of South Jersey



    Bob Hodges was an active member of the Outdoor Club of South Jersey for many years and leader of the Friday night hikes for over 18 years. 

    In his honor, his friends are planning to place a Memorial Plaque and Bench in the Brendan Byrne State Forest.  The dedication is planned May 9th in Brendan Byrne.

    If you would like to contribute to this fund, please send a check marked

    "Bob Hodges Memorial Fund" to OCSJ, PO Box 46, Atco, NJ 08004 


    On May 9, we will have a self-guided bus trip to Washington DC.  The cost is $37.00.  The Bus departs promptly at 7:30 am, rain or shine, so please arrive early. We’ll arrive DC around 10 -11 a.m.; depart DC for home promptly at 5:30 pm. Return arrival from DC is approx. 8:30 p.m. There will be a gratuity collection for driver. Leader: Erin O’Hanlon-Keys: Phone 609-652-6132 ; email:   

    Click link for details:

    CAPE MAY WEEKEND - June 12-14

    To start the summer session, you are cordially invited to join us for our annual Cape May outing.  We will stay at the Chalfonte Hotel from June 12 thru June 14.  

    Please sign up early, as this will help us complete our plans to make our 2020 trip enjoyable for all.  The registration form is available on and on the OCSJ website.

    If you have any questions, or need more information, contact Jim Bodnar at 609-654-1507 email: or Fran Horn at 856-786-0048 e-mail: 


    The Leader's Banquet is scheduled for March 15, 2020.  The Banquet will again take place at the Ramblewood Country Club.  All leaders who met the requirements will be invited with a guest.  Please RSVP.  We must confirm our reservations at least 2 weeks before the event.

    Leaders should review items under “For Leaders“ and "Leader Guidelines" on the OCSJ Website. 

    Sign-in Sheets should be sent to appropriate Activity Chair or individuals designated by them – or Activities coordinator if the event involves more than 1 activity NO LATER THAN EACH CALENDAR QUARTER with few exceptions which are listed on website under “For Leaders”. 


    Our comittee presently consists of John Kerney, Neil Kornhauser, Doug Hillebrecht, Mary Ketchell and Rosemarie Mason.  We would like to add more committee members; the more people involved means more great ideas and more events!

    We meet at 6:30 pm before the regular OCSJ board meeting on the second Thursday of every month at the Cherry Hill Library. Please feel free to join the committee or just share your ideas.  

    John Kerney - Social Committee Coordinator -

    Message from the cycling chair:

    More and more people are discovering the joys of riding in the woods on trails, sand roads and single-track.  Even diehard road bikers are becoming converts to this great sport of mountain biking.  This is a great way of keeping fit throughout the winter months. 


    In just a short drive you can be at so many of the wonderful trailheads that South Jersey offers.  Some of our popular places are:  Batsto, Bendan Byrne, Atsion, Black Run, Camden County CollegeTrails, Parvin State Park.  We will soon be be exploring the Maurice River Bluffs in Millville.

    The following cyclist’s have submitted their total outdoor mileage for 2019:

    NAME                                    MILES

    Colette Walker                      9,700

    Ted Daily                              7,177

    Frank Flynn                          6,802

    Tim Scattergood                   3,829

    Neil Kornhauser                   3,428

    Matt Edwards                       3,055

    Nancy Pomilio                      2,080

    Fran Horn                            1,806

    Christine Torello                   1,400

    Sathya Weerasooriya              760

    Frank Simila                           554


    Congratulations to all!  This is not a competition; it is just great to see the accomplishments of others.

    Thank you for those that submitted their mileage.

    Monthly DIY Tip

    If your disc brakes are not stopping you as well as they used to, you might have to clean your brake pads and rotors.  Take the wheels off (remember DO NOT squeeze the brake levers if you have hydraulic brakes with the wheels off) and clean the rotors with a clean paper towel saturated in rubbing alcohol.  Do both sides of the rotors.  Do NOT touch the rotors with your bare hands. Clean the pads with a different paper towel also saturated in rubbing alcohol and “floss” the pads removing the grime.  This will hopefully solve your problem. 

    Thank you and see you on the road and trails!

    Neil Kornhauser  (cycling chairman)


    The OCSJ trail maintenance crew recently clipped the one mile  Green Trail that connects the Mullica River Yellow Trail to the Batona Trail which was greatly appreciated by Rob Auermuller the  superintendent of Wharton State Forest. 

    Currently the crew is clearing the Batona Trail from the Quaker Bridge area to Carranza Memorial which should be completed by the end of March. This area comprises approximately 6 miles of deep woods with dirt road access only. On March 10, the trail crew will have a day of volunteer service at the Forest Research Education Center in Jackson where we will  sort and pack tree saplings for Arbor Day projects. We will also visit the interpretive center and take a hike after lunch. Our thanks to Jenny Buffington for making the arrangements with the NJ Tree Nursery for the crew.

    This volunteer project will be posted on our meetup site.

    Ro Mason is our Trail Representative. Every Tuesday, she will be organizing work days for the BATONA Trail. To volunteer, please contact Ro at


    Message from the Hiking Chair:

    The groundhog says early spring so we should have great hiking weather, come join Shimon on a hike on Feb 15 in French Creek State Park or another leader and stretch your legs.

    Please remember if you sign up for a hike with a limit and cannot make it, please change your RSVP ASAP. That way anyone on the waiting list can enjoy the hike. No shows and last minute cancellations prevent wait list folks from hiking.  Hike leaders can move non members to the wait list if members are on the wait list.  Joining OCSJ is easy, and we hope you will become a member.

    Monthly Tip
    Hiking poles can help prevent falls, add stability, and take weight off your knees. There are some who swear by them and others who find them more of a nuisance, decide for yourself.  Don't forget your winter clothing: Synthetics and down win here. Grab a warm sweater and synthetic undershirt. Pack another warm layer like a down jacket into your backpack. Spring showers may require a light rain jacket. Don’t forget a hat and gloves, and always water and a snack, you may not be as thirsty in the cold, but you still need to hydrate and eat! You burn more calories in cold weather so eat and drink up.

    There were a fair number of people looking to hike near the shore or deep south Jersey, so if you are willing to lead hikes in either area please step up.

    If there any hikers that are willing to assist Al in scouting different areas in Monmouth and Mercer County please call him. He lives 3 miles from the Toms River area. He has some different areas to explore at County Parks.  Thank You, here is his info: Al DiCianni 732 -569-6858


    More leaders = more hikes! If you need help setting up a hike or have questions or if you are interested in leading, email Evelyn.

    Thank you and see you on the trails.

    If you would like to volunteer to lead a new hike, please contact Evelyn at    

    Backpacking/Camping Trips

    From the Backpacking/Camping Chair

     Spring is coming, and with it the chance for folks to head out and enjoy the great outdoors. The Club has some excellent camping and backpacking trips lined up for the first half of the year, so be on the lookout in Meetup, the newsletter and the website. My first backpacking trip will be the weekend of Apr 25-26, in Northern Virginia.

     I’ve been asked by some folks new to backpacking if they think they can “make it” on the hike. The advice I always tell people is that backpacking with 20-30 lbs on their back (vs. just hiking with water & lunch) takes a lot out of you. I always estimate for them that if it’s a level hike, cut their hike distance in half for backpacking, and if it has hills, cut their hike distance to 1/3. For example, if you can hike a max of 9 miles, then a backpacking trip on level ground you can do 4.5 miles without too much of a problem, and 3 miles if its got major ups & down (that is in a day). Our beginning one in June is about 3.5 miles on Saturday in the mountains, so as long as you can do 10 mile hikes, you should be fine with a backpack on.

    See you on the trail!


    If you would like to organize a trip or for backpacking information, contact Kevin at KDREVIK@AOL.COM


    Message from the kayaking chair

      • Everyone must sign the sign-in sheets.
      • PFD’s must be worn when on the water. 
      • Footwear must be closed toe-no flip-flops.

      Rules for minors on the OCSJ website.

      Leaders have final say on participation  based on safety  concerns. Examples would be  bringing small children or  pets. Some will ask about limits on trip size. This might be set by safety concerns or limited parking. If you have a question, please contact the leader first.

      Enjoy the season but stay safe.

      Happy Paddling

    If you would like to organize a trip, contact Frank at


    Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Trips


    The Winter Schedule

    The Cross Country ski and Snowshoe trips are now on the OCSJ Website. For more information, please contact our Cross Country Ski-chair Eileen Greve ( 609-204-6451.

    Check the site for more information:  

    Please note:

    To confirm your place on the trip, you must contact the leader by phone or email. All payments are non-refundable without finding a replacement. 


    Leaders Banquet -

    Our Banquet will be at the Ramblewood Country Club on March 15, 2020.  Leaders who lead the required number of trips in 2019 will be notified by email.

    Washington DC Bus Trip - 

    We are taking the bus to Washington DC on May 9, 2020.  Check our meetup sites for full details

    Cape May Weekend -

    We are planning to spend the weekend of June 12-14, 2020 at the Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May.  Check our meetup site for full details.


    The club is actively looking for members to become more involved with the operation. We have a new Volunteer Coordinator, Barbara Berman. If you would like to volunteer or desire more information, please contact Barbara at

    The club needs people to serve on the board and aid in the processes that keep the club in operation. If you wonder how the club is organized and how it runs, or what leaders do, come on out to a monthly board meeting. (Second Thursday of every month at the Cherry Hill library at 7:30pm). It's your club and we welcome you to get involved.

    Board of Trustrees - Interested in joining the OCSJ Board. Come out to a couple of meetings or contact the OCSJ President at

    Publicity - We would like to have the OCSJ name appear in more places both in print and online. Contact Fran at if you have ideas and would like to help.

    Party/Picnic Planning Committee -  If you would like to help with the 2019 Picnics, contact the OCSJ President at 

    Website/Computer - We could use some help from people with computer or website experience.  Contact the OCSJ President at