More than a dozen riders from across West Virginia and the United States will participate in West Virginia University Extension Service’s 11th annual Outspoken for 4-H bike ride, which takes place June 12-15.
The 250-mile journey from the Northern Panhandle to North Central West Virginia is a fundraiser that provides 4-H camp scholarships to youths in the state.
More than $20,000 was raised during last year’s Outspoken ride. As a result, many young people were able to attend camp and have fun while learning a variety of life skills and educational topics.
The Outspoken for 4-H bike ride starts on June 12 in Chester and ends at WVU Jackson’s Mill, near Weston, on June 15.
The riders will travel through many towns and counties of the state on highways, byways and country roads. The bike ride schedule is as follows:
Day 1 (June 12) – Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall counties which include the towns of Chester, Weirton, Bethany, West Liberty, Wheeling and Moundsville.
Day 2 (June 13) – Wetzel, Monongalia counties, which include the towns of New Martinsville, Hundred, Blacksville and Morgantown.
Day 3 (June 14) – Monongalia, Preston, Taylor, Marion counties, which include the towns of Morgantown, Arthurdale, Grafton and Farmington.
Day 4 (June 15) – Harrison, Lewis counties which include the towns of Shinnston, Clarksburg and ending at WVU Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp.
This year’s riders are from counties throughout West Virginia, but also from other states, including Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Audreanna Haines from Capon Bridge, West Virginia in Hampshire County is a first-time participant in the Outspoken for 4-H bike ride. She is riding because she wants to give back to a program that gave her so much.
“I truly believe that 4-H changed my life for the better,” she said. “I spent almost every summer at 4-H camp, both at the county and state level. It taught me valuable life skills like public speaking and the importance of giving back to my community.”
Haines is a student at Alderson Broaddus University and is dual majoring in biology and chemistry. Before January of this year, she didn’t own a bicycle to ride in Outspoken, but she purchased a bike and began training. She explains that having a positive outlook and attitude helps to achieve her goalsan attribute she said was gained in 4-H.
“I wasn’t a cyclist six months ago, but if training for and riding in Outspoken allows just one kid to get a camp experience like I had, it’ll all be worth it,” Haines added.
Genevieve Eaton, a mother of two, 4-H All-Star and Hardy County is riding in Outspoken. This is her fourth time participating, and she said that this year’s trek will mark her completion of cycling across all four quadrants of the state.
“I believe 4-H is the most valuable youth development program in the world. It has helped bring out the best in me and has influenced my life in a very positive way. I found a wealth of useful resources, developed leadership skills and made friends who continue to enrich my life every day,” Eaton explained.
She has served as a 4-H club leader in Jefferson County for 18 years and both of her children participated in 4-H until they reached the age of 21.
“I ride because I want other children to get the same experiences and benefits that my children and I have gained from WVU Extension’s 4-H program,” she added.
Along with important life skills like leadership, teamwork and independence, 4-H’ers also learn about STEM science, technology, engineering and math related areas, and much more.
At the end of the trek, the riders will be welcomed by hundreds of 4-H’ers as they make their way into WVU Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp. The arrival of the Outspoken for 4-H riders kicks off the beginning of the 4-H Older Members’ Conference.
To learn more about Outspoken for 4-H or to pledge your donation to help send youths to camp, visit http://outspokenfor4h.ext.wvu.edu/.
To learn more about all the opportunities the WVU Extension Service 4-H program has to offer, visit http://ext.wvu.edu/4h_youth or contact your local office of the WVU Extension Service.
For a century, WVU Extension Service has helped make the lives of young people better through 4-H youth development programs. WVU Extension Service, as part of WVU and its land-grant mission, continues to provide educational opportunities that allow for the growth and development of youths in all 55 counties of West Virginia.
CONTACT: Cassie Waugh, WVU Extension Service
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