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A.A.C., Southeast Section

Southeast Section. Throughout 2008 the AAC Sections Committee focused on the objective of bringing our Club closer to grass-roots membership, developing a stronger sense of AAC community within the sections, and encouraging more locally initiated club events at the section level. In the case of the Southeast Section these objectives had proven difficult to meet due to our thousand-mile, eight-state sprawl and a widely dispersed membership. Accordingly, the Sections Committee announced in early 2009 a significant restructuring of the Section. Members in the region will now be supported by two smaller, more locally focused sections. The Deep South Section will cover Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. The Southern Appalachian Section will comprise North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. I have accepted the role of Section Chair for the Southern Appalachian Section. Assisting me will be AAC Ambassadors Anthony Love in Boone, Max Poppel in Chattanooga, and Chad Steiner in Memphis.

Despite the Southeast Section’s geographic and demographic challenges, 2008 witnessed significant AAC activity across the Section. One of the AAC’s most effective Ambassadors continued to make a major contribution in Chattanooga. In October Max Poppel and his team of local members produced the second annual edition of “Chattanooga on the Rocks,” a well attended AAC-sponsored weekend of climbing, films, and pizza. Max’s efforts over the past two years have established Chattanooga as an important hub of AAC activity in the southeast.

The 4th Annual Eastern North Carolina AAC Barbecue was held on November 8. Forty members and their guests gathered at the Section Chair’s home in Raleigh for socializing and good old Carolina barbecue. Jeff Witt, veteran Exum Guide, delivered an entertaining slideshow featuring his trot up the Cassin Ridge of Denali.

In October the Southeast Section, the Carolina Climbers Coalition, and the Great Outdoor Provision Company jointly sponsored “The American Alpine Club Presents Vertical Ethiopia,” featuring Central Rockies Section Chair Majka Burhardt. Majka’s appearances in Raleigh and Boone were well attended and contributed significantly to enhanced visibility for the AAC across the state.Our thanks to Anthony Love for his work in producing the Boone event.

I would like to thank all of the AAC staff, from Phil Powers on down, for their terrific support over the years for the Southeast Section. The new Deep South and Southern Appalachian Sections will focus in 2009 on recruitment of additional AAC Ambassadors and the continuing effort to build a strong AAC community across the southeast.

David Thoenen, Chair