LOOKING FOR a fun way to keep fit or a family-centered weekend activity? Try volksmarching.
Derived from the German term Volk, which means "people," volks- marches are 10-kilometer (6.25-mile) walking and jogging events along scenic, historic or natural areas.
"It literally means 'walk of the people,'" said Karen Dye, an Owen Brown resident who has participated in the sport for 17 years and is a member of the Columbia Volks- march Club.
"It's noncompetitive, so you walk if you want [or] you can run. It's a family sport," said Jim Moore, CVC vice president and a Kings Contrivance resident.
"People are out with strollers. Volksmarchers are of all ages, from toddlers to elderly people. We have a lot of walkers in their 80s."
On Saturday, CVC is sponsoring a volksmarch in which participants will travel a marked route from Amherst House in Kings Contrivance Village Center on Eden Brook Drive.
Walkers will begin their trek between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. and finish by noon.
"We will be going on the pathway system and on the village sidewalks of Kings Contrivance, and we also have a natural-surface trail along the Little Patuxent River looking at the trees and the scenic areas," Moore said.
The club will provide maps and directions for the 10K route, as well as a 5K option for less aggressive walkers. Most 10K walks take about 2 1/2 hours to complete leisurely, Moore said.
Julian Bauer, a Long Reach resident, founded CVC 15 years ago. The group has about 120 members and member families.
The club is a member of the International Federation of Popular Sports in Germany.
"The whole volkssports event system started in Germany, and it came to the U.S. by U.S. servicemen," said Moore, who is retired from the Air Force.
In addition to walking, jogging and running, volkssports include other noncompetitive outdoor recreations such as biking, swimming and in-line skating.
Dye started volksmarching with her husband, John, CVC president, and their three children when her family spent three years on a U.S. military base in Germany as a result of her husband's work for the Department of Defense.
"You could go to three or four walks on a weekend in different parts of Germany, and it was a way to see different parts of the country," she said.
Bauer, who has served as president of the national American Volkssport Association in Texas, runs the Friendly Trails Wandering Club through his home-based travel agency, Bauer Travel.
"We go overseas and [take] cruises, trains, motorcoach trips and do volksmarches around the world," he said.
CVC sponsors half a dozen or so free events annually, including a couple of two-day events each year that attract 400 to 500 participants.
The group also sponsors what members call "year-round" volks- marches, which are routes that individuals can follow on their own with the assistance of CVC's guide brochure.
Volksmarching clubs rank the difficulty of their walks according to a 5-point system, with 5 being the most difficult. Saturday's walk is rated a 2. Moore warns that a portion of the route may be difficult to traverse with a baby stroller.
Information on CVC: 410- 313-8499. Information on the Friendly Trails Wandering Club: 410-715-0912.
The Kings Contrivance Village Board is seeking volunteers who live in the village to serve on a committee "to recognize excellence in home maintenance and beautification," according to Anne Dodd, the village manager.
"The village has a goal this year to improve the aesthetics of the village," Dodd said. We "seek to applaud well-maintained properties."
The group's working title is the Blue Ribbon Committee.
Members will develop the selection criteria and process, choose award-winning homes and make presentations to the board.
Guy Guzzone, a member of the Howard County Council, and fellow Kings Contrivance resident Rachel Ticar will serve on the committee, with other volunteers.