About the AOC > Guidelines and Rules
By participating in any AOC activities, you automatically agree to follow our rules. These rules are current as of Tuesday, June 25, 2019 and are subject to change at any time with or without notice.
Guidelines for Members
Since our founding in 2000, the AOC has grown to become one of the largest and most active outdoor-oriented social clubs in the Atlanta area. As we’ve expanded, we’ve developed guidelines to help our events run smoothly. This page provides valuable information about becoming a member, registering for events, and participating in events. If you have questions, please visit our FAQs page.
- Eligibility. Membership is free and open to anyone 21 years or older. The AOC does not discriminate based on age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin. Becoming a member is easy!
- Liability Waiver. To be eligible to participate in an AOC event, you need to be a member with a current liability waiver on file. You’ll be asked to complete the waiver when applying for membership. You’ll also renew the waiver annually.
- Location. Although most events take place in Atlanta, surrounding communities, and North Georgia, you don’t have to live in Atlanta to be a member. Some members live elsewhere but join us when they’re in town for work or visiting friends and relatives.
- Personal Information. When you join, you’ll be asked to provide us with a little information about yourself. You’ll be able to choose how much of this information you want to share with other members. You’ll also select how you want to receive event notifications.
- Attending Lists. To participate in an AOC event, you’ll need to sign up for it on the AOC website and be added to the attending list. You may be able to register one other member for certain events if that person has designated you as their agent.
- Waiting Lists. Attending lists normally are created on a first-come, first-serve basis. If the event has already reached its maximum number of participants, add your name to the waiting list. There often are openings as the date of an event approaches. In addition, a large waiting list may prompt the trip leader to expand the number of participants, or it may lead another trip leader to schedule the same activity on another date.
- Guests. Because membership is required to participate in AOC events, you can’t bring guests. Instead, simply suggest that they join the club and register for the event.
- Event Descriptions. Carefully read the event description so that you’re comfortable with the planned activity and its difficulty, and to ensure you understand the logistics (such as the meeting time and place, duration, and items to bring).
- Dogs. At the trip leader’s discretion, well-behaved dogs are welcome on some events. If so, you’ll be able to add this information when you register.
Attending an Event
- When Not to Go. If you’re not on the attending list for an event, please do not just show up. If you’re on the waiting list, you’ll get an automated notice if an opening occurs.
- Etiquette. During events, please follow any local ordinances as well as guidance provided by our trip leaders. Their goal is to make sure the event goes smoothly and everyone has a great time. Also remember that you are an ambassador for the AOC; we pride ourselves on always showing respect for fellow members, other outdoor enthusiasts, and the environment. (Learn about the proper etiquette for different activities.)
- Cancelling. If your plans change and you need to cancel, no worries! You normally can do so online by deleting your registration; the sooner the better, especially if other members are waiting to join the event. If you have a last-minute issue near the event’s start time, or if it’s after the registration cut-off, call or text the trip leader. Please don’t be a no show; it’s inconsiderate to participants and waiting list members who
could have taken your spot. A history of no shows could limit your participation in the future.
- Carpools. Trip leaders may establish carpools for events involving long drives or limited parking at the venue. Attendees meet at a designated location, often a park-and-ride, and trip leaders determine the carpool arrangements based on the number of attendees, willing drivers, dinner plans, and other considerations. When you register for events with carpools, you’ll be asked your preference on being a driver. Those who volunteer to drive are reimbursed for the use of their vehicle through a cost-sharing arrangement, which is detailed on the event description. If dogs are allowed on the event, and you’re bringing your dog, you should be prepared to drive yourself and your dog to the venue.
- Paid Events. Some events have a cost that requires advance payment. Things such as outfitter fees (for kayaking or rafting trips, for example) or lodging expenses (for overnight adventures or out-of-town trips) are collected upfront. The event description will spell out the payment and refund process; read it carefully and ask questions if you don’t understand it. In some cases, payments are processed through the AOC; in other cases, you will pay the trip leader directly.
Below is our formal rules manual, which contains additional information about the rules you agree to abide by when you join the AOC.
- CLUB REPRESENTATIVE'S AUTHORITY
Members and guests (Participants) must recognize the authority of the trip coordinator(s)/organizer(s)/officer(s)
(Club Representatives) and follow any additional rules they set up for Atlanta
Outdoor Club (Club) events/outings/activities (Event) - especially if the additional
rules involve your safety. Events can be cancelled or modified at the discretion of the Club Representative (for
lack of interest, inclement weather or having a personal conflict with the Event). The AOC will attempt
to replace a Club Representative on an Event should they be unable to attend and inform the Club in a
timely manner. Club Representatives have the authority to:
- Remove or reject any person from participation if they are
not in condition for the Event. This is a safety issue and also helps assure the enjoyment of the
- Participants are expected to stay together on both the trip to and during the Event.
The Club Representative
will adjust the pace of the Event to meet everyone's needs.
- Participants are expected to commit to the entire Event. The Club Representative cannot do their
job if some Participants only go partway through the Event and then return on their own.
- If there is an emergency and/or injury, the Club Representative will terminate the Event or let someone
help the injured back to transportation or medics. The volunteer will be required to be familiar with the
Remember that you are representing the AOC while participating in any AOC Event! Please conduct yourself
in such a way as not to detract from the enjoyment of the other Participants (at all times).
You may be removed or excluded from the Event should your behaviour warrant such an action.
Note that we encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines at all times while participating in AOC Events.
The AOC does not discriminate based on age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin.
- CANCELLATION POLICY
The Atlanta Outdoor Club Cancellation Policy has been designed out of
consideration for Event attendees and coordinators, to ensure that we avoid
the following as often as possible:
- Event "no shows" who prevent members on the waiting list from attending an
- Trip Leaders and attendees being left to waste time waiting for
those "no shows".
- Unnecessary last-minute drop-outs which result in people from the waiting
list not being able to get onto the Event.
- To cancel out of an Event after the registration cut-off, you cannot
delete your own registration from the web site. You must phone the coordinator
and follow up with an e-mail to confirm.
- If you cancel out of an Event after the registration cut-off date,
you must phone the Trip Leader at least 2 hours
in advance of that carpool/meeting time. If you don't, you may be recorded
as a "no show" at the coordinator's discretion.
- If you are more than ten minutes late for a carpool or meeting place,
you may be recorded as a "no show" at the coordinator's discretion. If
you are uncertain as to where you're supposed to meet, make sure you ask
the coordinator for clarification prior to the day of the Event.
- If a person has two or more "no shows" in a year, their spot on
future Events cannot be guaranteed. The Trip Leader may, at their
discretion, move that person from the sign up list to the bottom of the
Event waiting list.
- If a person has two or more "no shows" in a year, and they put
themselves on the waiting list for an Event, other members on the waiting
list may be added to the Event first at the discretion of the Event
- If a person has five or more "no shows" in a year, they will
receive a warning e-mail and may be removed from the club at the discretion
of the club officers.
- Event attendees are responsible for having a valid e-mail
address and for checking their e-mail prior to an Event.
- Trip Leaders will be responsible for phoning anyone added
from the waiting list within 24 hours of carpool/meeting time; otherwise, a
"no show" cannot be logged against any person.
- Trip Leaders will attempt to send out a reminder e-mail
within 24 to 48 hours of the carpool/meeting time; HOWEVER, it is the
responsibility of each attendee to be aware of their Events and abide by the
This policy is not designed to punish people, but only to be fair to all
concerned parties. To that end, Trip Leaders may be convinced to
reverse a "no show" flag if they are contacted within a reasonable period of
time after the Event and made aware of extenuating circumstances. This will
be up to the discretion of the coordinator and will be handled on a
As well, exceptions may be made to this standard cancellation policy for any
Event. If there are exceptions to the policy, they will be stated as part of
the Event details. Make sure you read the Event details carefully.
- COMPLAINT POLICY
- Complaint about a Volunteer/Event:
All coordinators are volunteers. You are welcome to
take part in their activities, but you do so at your own risk. Only written
complaints against an Trip Leader or club volunteer will be considered. They may
be addressed to the Director of Events. The focus of the
complaint policy is on improvement rather than discipline.
- Complaint about another Club Member:
The club strongly encourages members to deal with issues directly. If
you are unable or unwilling to deal directly with the person (or persons)
involved, please follow these guidelines:
- Complaints must be sent to the club President and Vice President via
e-mail. Please include date(s), time(s), Event(s), behavior(s), what your
reactions/responses were, and any corroborating evidence (ie. e-mails) or
- Complaints absolutely must come first-hand by the victim. No second- or
third-hand information will be acted on or considered unless it is in
corroboration with the original complaint.
- Complaints must be serious. Harrassment (sexual or otherwise),
violence, illegal activities, dangerous driving, etc are valid complaints.
Talking non-stop during carpool is not.
- Complaints must be specific. Vague accusations of being "creepy" or
"annoying" are not valid complaints. In the event of vague complaints, the
club may choose to hold off action until more evidence is produced, or the
perpetrator acts inappropriately again.
- Complaints must stem from club activities. Actions of members
interacting outside of club Events, or who interact with members on an
Event without being signed up for that Event themselves will not be
reprimanded through the club.
- Complaints must be timely. You must contact the club executive within
48 hours of the Event to make your complaint.
- Although the club executive will be discreet (ie. will not disclose your
identity), they cannot guarantee anonymity because when communicating the
nature of the complaint to the perpetrator, it may be possible for them to
deduce who the complaint originated with.
- The club will not serve as a mediator for personal disputes.
- The club may choose not provide details on how the situation is handled,
only that a warning was sent, etc.
- In the event of a first complaint against someone, they will likely
receive a warning (unless the situation is very extreme). In the case that
the club receives multiple complaints against the same person, they may be
removed from the club.
- In the event of retaliation (ie. an attack via e-mail or phone)
resulting from the complaint, the perpetrator may be suspended/expelled
The AOC encourages responsible drinking. Some Events may allow for the purchase and/or
consumption of alcohol. We simply ask that you do not overdo it. By consuming alcohol, you give permission
to allow Club Representatives to find alternative ways to transport you home/get you to the
remainder of the Event or exclude you from the remainder of the Event.
Dogs are permitted on SOME Events. This is at the discretion of the
Club Representative and whether the area in which the Event occurs permits them. Please see a
specific Event’s details to see if dogs are permitted. You must also register your dog on an Event
that permits them so that the trip coordinator is prepared as far as carpool, etc.
Your dog will need to be trained to stay with the group and/or be on a leash at all times,
and must be able to get along with other dogs which may be attending the Event.
Hiking With Your Dog: All the United States national parks as well as the Georgia state parks
in our vicinity allow dogs in the backcountry with the stipulation that they be physically restrained
the entire time. AOC Policy is to follow the rules or laws of the area that we are in at all times,
and the AOC and its Volunteers are not responsible for mishaps (or fines) that occur on an Event due
to the behavior of dogs (or their owners) who attend our Events.
Carpooling With Your Dog: Dog owners must be able/willing to transport their own dog to the Event,
and in the case where a willing driver is not available, the dog and owner will be turned away.
Dog owners must pay an extra (full) portion of the carpool amount in the Event that their dog prevents
a person from using a spot in a vehicle (ie. because the dog is using the spot, or because packs/equipment
must use a spot because the dog is using the area that would normally hold it). If a dog is small enough
to comfortably ride at its owner's feet or on their lap, the extra payment for carpool does not apply.
All pets and animals, besides dogs, are prohibited from all Activities unless express written
permission is granted by a Club Representative. Participants with prohibited pets or animals during an
Activity will be asked to remove them.
- MINIMUM PARTICIPATION AGE
All Participants must be a minimum age of 21 years old to participate in any Activity.
- LEAVE NO TRACE
When participating in an Adventure Sport, we ask that you leave a clean
trail and unlittered camp. We encourage you to clean up after others that have come before you,
as much as you can. This allows others to enjoy the trail and camp, as you did.
- Stay on the trail. Do not create shortcuts. Shortcuts can cause erosion and damages the trail
and trail environment. (Report any fallen trees or misuse of the trails to the AOC President.)
- Carry out all litter. Leave the campsite and trail cleaner than you found it. If there is preexisting
litter, please dispose or take with you as much as you can.
- Do not remove and take with you pieces of nature that you may encounter on the trail. Club Representatives
may ask you to surrender such items and/or return them to where you found them.
- Protect water sources. Do not use soap in streams/lakes. Wash yourself, utensils, and clothes
away from all water sources.
- Bury human waste. Where privies are not available, dig a "cathole" at least 6 inches deep and cover
afterward. You should be at least 100 yards from any water source or camping area. Do not leave
toilet paper above ground.
- Sterilize all drinking water. Treat water with iodine tablets, filter or boil before consuming.
- Take care with food. Animals frequent camp/picnic areas. If staying overnight, hang food at least 10 feet
above ground and away from the trunk of the tree. Leaving food in your automobile is fine, if possible. Also,
never leave smelly products (like toothpaste) in your tent.
- Be careful with fires. Use campstoves for cooking. Use only downed wood for campfires and keep them small.
Never leave a fire unattended and always extinguish them with water. Some areas have fire bans along the
trail, so be sure to check before starting a fire.
- FIRST AID
Event Attendees are responsible for their own First Aid care and are
encouraged to carry a first aid kit, and have first aid training.
Treat wildlife with respect. Always observe from a safe distance. The AOC does not
encourage or condone approaching wild animals or attempting to feed them.
- FIREARMS/BANNED SUBSTANCES
Firearms/weapons, fireworks, and all illegal substances are prohibited on all Activities
Also note that all Club Participants MUST sign the AOC waiver before participation is allowed in an Event. Please see the AOC FAQs should you need more information before joining us on an Event.
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