Club Events emails

Our club has added a biweekly email “Nebraska Trailblazers Club News” to remind you of upcoming events.  Did you get yours yesterday? You can email us at to be added to the list.   If you’re not on the list, the current email is  available at our hosting service, MailChimp:  

We don’t want you to miss out on the upcoming great opportunities to walk – tomorrow’s Meet and Eat, Saturday, April 21st in Shelby, Iowa or the regular walk on Saturday, May 12th in far southwest Omaha. Subscribe today – and never miss a walk with the Trailblazers!

April Club Meeting notes and news

Speaker: Elmo Diaz, blacksmith

Our April club meeting featured an engaging speaker on the topic of blacksmithing, club business and tasty treats. Our next club meeting is May 7th at 7 p.m. at Morning Star Lutheran Church, in the preschool room at 331 S 85th Ave, Omaha, NE 68114.

The April 7th Pete Dowling Memorial “Spyngo” Walk features two 5k loops, one of which overlaps with a run that morning, so folks are being asked not to use that loop until 10 a.m. Luckily, Claudia Dowling and friends will have treats for walkers and a display showing Pete’s contributions to the club over his nearly 35 years of association.

Plans for the 4 County Walks the first weekend of October are in place. We’ve decided to call it “Discover Small Town Nebraska 2018” and you can read all about it here.  Sandy Spaulding and the Coordinating Committee have put together 4 walks, 2 dinners, wine tastings and entertainment over 3 days and 2 nights.  

Looking for a walking partner to do our club’s Year Round Events?  Contact Sandy (or send us an email at and she will put you on the list of walking partners.  A Year Round Event (YRE) is a self-registered walk that you can do any day of the year. It is not staffed and the trail is not marked, but good maps and directions are included in every Walk Box that contains all the info you need to walk a YRE.

Our next club event is the April 21st “Meet and Eat” in Shelby, Iowa. Meet at The Corn Crib (right off I-80, on the northwest side of the off-ramp) at 9:15 to do paperwork and use bathrooms. After the walk at 9:30, come back for lunch with the group at The Corn Crib.

March-April 2018 Newsletter and upcoming events

Club members received the latest NWFT Newsletter a week ago.  Consider becoming a member by printing out this form and bringing it to an event, a meeting or mailing it in.

Here is a list of club events coming up through May 12th.  More details on walks can be found in the newsletter or email us at

Mar 15-22:  Online  – AVA Fundraiser  “Big Give”.  AVA is our parent organization.  See:

Apr 2:   Omaha  – Monthly Meeting  at Morning Star Lutheran Church

Apr 7:  Gretna – Pete Dowling Memorial “Spyngo” Walk

Apr 21:  Shelby, IA  – Meet and Eat – Stone Arch Trail (47 minute drive from Omaha)

May 7:   Omaha  – Monthly Meeting  at Morning Star Lutheran Church

May 12:  Omaha – Bird Seeds to Trails Walk

June 2:  Omaha – National Trails Day Walk

February 2018 updates

Well, the groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter – but we’re predicting some walking weather in February!

Our Year Round Event in Shelby, Iowa, takes place in part on the Old Stone Arch Nature Trail. Our club supports the annual “Soup Off” which raises funds to maintain and improve the trail. This year’s Soup Off is taking place on Saturday, February 10th from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cardinal Lofts, 304 Western Avenue, Shelby, IA. Carpooling arrangements are in place – contact Butch Spaulding soon if you will drive or need a ride. $6 gets you all the soup that you want to sample. Vote for your favorite soup using pennies, take part in the raffle or the pie auction, enjoy yourself!

The following weekend, we’re off to downtown Des Moines to do the annual Skywalk. This year, the Start Point has been moved to Wellmark Downtown YMCA, 501 Grand Avenue, and begins between 8 a.m. and noon on Saturday, February 17th. To get there, From I-235, take Exit 8A (downtown) and go south on 5th Street to Grand. Street parking is free on weekends. Some streets may be closed due to construction..  Carpooling is again available from Council Bluffs – contact Butch Spaulding for a ride.

The Worker’s Walk for the March 3rd Soup Walk is coming up on Saturday, February 24th at 9 a.m. at First Lutheran Church in Papillion, 420 N Washington St.  We need lots of volunteers to make a Soup Walk a fun event for our members and guests; a worker’s walk allows volunteers to walk the trail, too!  Those not volunteering are welcome to come, but be aware that we take the opportunity to test and tweak the walk that morning, so it may not be quite ready for “prime time”. 

Finally, at our club meeting on Monday, February 5th, we got a group photo of those from our club who received Commendable and Meritorious Service Awards at our January dinner from the American Volkssport Association for their work on the Eclipse Events this past August.  These are the people that make our events and walks great!

Pictured Left to Right, Commendable (C) and Meritorious (M).

Back Row: Jeanne Miller (M), Diane Fenlon (C), Butch Spaulding (M), Sandy Spaulding (M)

Front Row: Karen Dix-Johnson (C), Jill Champley (C), Sheila Goeltz (C), Julie Brown (M)

Not Pictured: Martha McGahan (M), Jim McGahan (M)

For a look at the McGahans, check out them out in this composite picture, saved in PDF format: Annual Dinner 2018 Awards Collage

Happy New Year! 2018 walking opportunities

Happy New Year! Was one of your resolutions to do more walking? Our national organization, AVA: America’s Walking Club, has been promoting an online challenge called.  “Invest in Your Health: 401k”. Look for more details at AVA.

Locally, you can join one of our Meet and Eats in January indoors at the Westroads Mall at 8 a.m. on January 20th. Walk 5k or 10k – then join the group for a Food Court late breakfast, early lunch or brunch!

Later that day, the NWFT holds its Annual Meeting and Dinner at 5:30 p.m. (social time for the first 1/2 hour – don’t miss it!) at Valentino’s Pizza at 5022 S 108th St, Omaha, NE 68137.  Members pay only $12, non-members pay $17. Reservations are due to Butch Spaulding by January 12th, so make your reservation today! Enjoy a lovely evening with friends, celebrate with our 2017 Walker of the Year and close out last year’s business with the installation of our slate of club officers for 2018.

Members should be looking in the mail for their 20 page booklet full of walks and activities for 2018. What’s a non-member to do? Wait for an email – or better yet, join today! A membership form is available here.

Oh, What a Night! Lights Walk 2017

Holiday Island 2017

Our December 2, 2017 Night of Lights Walk was successful beyond all our imagination!  By the numbers:

689 walkers:  41 were for credit, 658 were “Fun Walkers”, who were from 66 towns and cities in 7 states (CO, KS, MO, SD, MN, IA and NE)

For New Visions (Council Bluffs) and Siena/Francis House (Omaha) homeless shelters, we collected:

  • 967 rolls of toilet paper
  • 300 pairs of socks
  • 12 pairs of children’s socks
  • 250 pairs of gloves
  • 200 hats
  • 80 scarves
  • 4 new winter coats
  • 60 misc. items, including toiletries
  • 23 extra packages of cookies
967 Rolls of Toilet Paper!

A big THANK YOU! to all of our walkers for their generosity.  Also, a big THANK YOU!  to all of our volunteers.  We received many compliments and good feedback on a special night and many expressed hope that we’d be doing this again.


#OptOutside Walk coming soon!

Reminder of our November 24th #OptOutside walk:

#OptOutside is the hashtag, or identifier, used on Twitter to make a term searchable by other social media users. This one refers specifically to the idea of walking, hiking or enjoying the great outdoors on the Friday after Thanksgiving, rather than giving the day over to shopping.  Our club and other walking clubs across the U.S. are organizing to offer #OptOutside events.

Our event will be a group walk of the Hanscom Park/Ford Birthsite Year Round Walk, either the 5k or the 10k.  Folks will meet at the Hanscom Park Pavilion at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, November 24th to sign paperwork and pay fees.  ($1.50 Fun Walkers, $3.00 AVA/IVV credit, exact change much appreciated.)  Groups will set out at 10 a.m. to work off some of that Thanksgiving turkey. Lunch together is a possibility – the Greek Islands or the 11-Worth Café are both nearby and local favorites.

Can’t make it to our event because you will be out of town?  Try locating a walk near where you will be by searching the AVA’s website for walks all across the United States:  OptOutside – AVA website link  There are some fabulous walks out there. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to #OptOutside with the Trailblazers or with the AVA!


December 2nd Lights Walk – a primer

This year’s Lights Walk has attracted a lot of attention on Facebook and we may have larger numbers of people attending than we’ve had in recent past years.  We want people to enjoy a great walk through the best of Downtown Omaha dressed up in its holiday finery for our annual Lights Walk. Here are a few pointers to help everyone have an enjoyable time, from the time they walk in the door, to the time when they come back and return their Start Card and head to the cookies table.  Those who have done this event in the past should read this too, as there are a few differences from past registrations.

Location:  The lobby of the Landmark Building, located between Farnam and Harney Streets on 13th Street.   Look for the yellow and black sign (AVA/NWFT) outside the building, directing you inside.  Surface parking and nearby parking garages are available.  The walk itself will cover the Old Market, the Leahy Mall, and other downtown Omaha neighborhoods.

Start Point for Lights Walk

Cost:  $1.50 exact change (Fun Walkers) or $3.00 exact change (AVA/IVV Credit Walkers – they stamp books at the end of the walk).  We are collecting men’s socks (new), hats, gloves, scarves (new or gently used) and toilet paper (in packaging) to take to a local homeless shelter after the walk; donations are completely voluntary.  If you want to bring cookies for the cookie table, those would be much appreciated!

Time:  Registration takes place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Walkers must be off the trail by 8:30 p.m., so come to register at a time according to your walking speed and distance.

Registration:  There will be no pre-registration, so that our volunteers won’t be hunting for names in a pile. Greeters near the door will hand each person a 2-part registration card. Fill this out with your name, hometown and SIGN the card (it’s a waiver that says you won’t hold us responsible if you hurt yourself while walking).  Present the card with your fee to a set of volunteers at the registration tables.  That volunteer will write a number on your card and separate the card, keeping half and giving you half.  Bring that card back when you’ve finished your walk. 

Route:  Ask for either a 5k (3.1 mile) or 10k (6.2 mile) walking map. The route will be marked with chalk where allowed; chalk may be worn away or not allowed in some locations, so the map and directions will be essential.  Please obey all traffic laws and signals as you walk.

This is a self-paced, non-competitive event. Times will not be logged or awarded.  When you get back, we’ll have cookies provided by our volunteers, as well as coffee and hot chocolate.  We’ll also have a raffle table, where a few lucky walkers will get their pick of prizes and consolation prizes will be available for everyone.