It’s simply called Beyond the Backyard. Billed as the “coolest outdoor club for kids;” it’s free for youngsters under 18 years of age. All it takes is a willing parent or guardian to take a minute to sign them up. The charitable youth foundation was started by avid outdoorsman and Charleston, West Virginia attorney, Bobby Warner.
“I am extremely dedicated to introducing kids to the outdoors. This passion has encouraged me to start West Virginia’s first outdoor youth organization, which will be dedicated solely to kids and parents in order to educate them about hunting, fishing and camping.”
That perhaps says it all. Members or backyard kids “will receive quarterly newsletters, have access to our Web site where they will learn about upcoming events and post photos of their outdoor adventures. They will also be able to participate in writing competitions and take part in events that will be held across West Virginia. If you are under the age of 18, I encourage you to sign up.”
The foundation wants “to get children more passionate about the outdoors and help get them “Beyond the Backyard.” To join online, do a simple word search under their namesake and follow the easy instructions. Or you can join via phone or ask for a mail-in application by calling 866-WV-WOODS.
The foundation is already involved locally. Christy Scott, who spearheads the program, has hosted a booth at the recent Chief Logan Hunting and Fishing Expos held at the State Park. I recently visited her at the foundation’s headquarters at Warner Law Offices in downtown Charleston. She admits that competing with Lizard Lick TV’s Ron and Amy Shirley was a tough act to follow at this summer’s Expo.
So in case you missed your chance there at signing up a youngster or all the kids in the family for that matter, Christy would like to get the word out once again. By the way, she touted the tremendous outdoor affinities of the southern West Virginia Coalfields and would like to get more events slated down this way to boot.
Many folks may not even realize the foundation has already been helping out with the youth fishing events held at Chief Logan Scout Camp in concert with the National Wild Turkey Federation. The Beyond the Backyard folks as well as those of the scouting organizations, various youth ball sports, the Buffalo and Huff Creek Watershed Associations and others are to be commended for their tremendous efforts on behalf of the younger set.
In testament to some of the excitement generated by the backyard kids, Christy shared a recent photo of one of their members. Ten-year old Caleb Williams reported in with a 15 pound, citation-sized channel catfish! With a little help from his family and friends, he was able to land the big catch after a 15 minute battle. This kind of softened up his initial disappointment over not getting to go hunting that morning! Problems, problems…
Another youngster from Logan County confided that an action packed youth fishing event held here at the Scout Camp was definitely the best day of his entire life!