Scout camporee, Methodist men’s gathering draws hundreds to Jackson’s Mill

By George Hohmann

By George Hohmann, West Virginia United Methodist Men President

A total of 483 scouts and adult leaders, along with dozens of United Methodist Men, attended the Circuit Rider camporee and West Virginia United Methodist Men’s Annual Gathering at WVU Jackson’s Mill Sept. 6-8.

Click here to view photos from Circuit Rider 2019

The scouts and men had an opportunity to participate in a variety of activities on Saturday. Examples included:

  • Brian Stroinski, a former AmeriCorps member at WVU Jackson’s Mill, demonstrated the operation of the gristmill while Jessi Hersom, a current AmeriCorps member, demonstrated the art of blacksmithing and discussed its role at Jackson’s Mill and in early life in western Virginia. They were assisted by Joe Obidzinski, the administrative associate at WVU Jackson’s Mill.
  • Nationally known artisan John Belick demonstrated the art of paper marbling.
  • Members of the Flying Hillbillies RC Club of Winfield assisted scouts who wanted to fly radio-controlled model aircraft.
  • Robert Martin and Jim Norton from the Marion County Communities of Shalom, Inc., set up a huge labyrinth which was available to walk for relaxation and meditation.
  • Renee Verbanic, representing the Harrison County Family Resource Network, conducted workshops on stress management, e-cig prevention and communication.
  • Scouts who took classes taught by Rev. Tim Allen and Rev. Dr. Barry Steiner Ball earned patches with Bible themes.
  • Gary Maffioli and Paul White taught a youth protection class required by Scouts for all individuals 18 years old and up who are around youth.

While the scouts were engaged in mainly outdoor activities, the men attended worship services, lectures and workshops. Rev. Dr. Barry Steiner Ball was the keynote speaker at the men’s Annual Gathering. His topic was “The Opioid Epidemic: How our Wesleyan heritage puts us right on target to respond.”

Rev. Joe Webb, the communications, media/information support and marketing specialist with the West Virginia Conference, gave a presentation about the life of David and men’s ministries today.

Entertainment for the men’s gathering was provided by Mercy’s Reign, a trio based in Gallipolis, Ohio.

Danny Murphy, a member of First United Methodist Church in South Charleston, was named the West Virginia United Methodist “Man of the Year” during an awards ceremony Saturday evening.

Murphy has served in numerous offices with the United Methodist Men at the local and state level.

On Sunday morning the scouts and men gathered for Sunday Worship Service and Holy Communion. Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball presided.

An offering for disaster relief was taken up during the service. A total of $795.62 was received.

Those attending the weekend’s activities were asked to bring buckets filled with cleaning supplies for disaster recovery efforts. One scout pack and six scout troops brought a total of 10 buckets. The buckets will be delivered this week to the New Vision Depot, the West Virginia United Methodists’ center in Beaver that warehouses and distributes disaster relief supplies.

Many of the scout activities are funded with proceeds from the Arnold Eddy Golf Outing. This year’s outing was Sept. 6 at the Tygart Valley Golf Course in Grafton. The outing had 33 hole sponsors and drew 50 golfers, according to Paul Hanko of Morgantown, co-chairman of the event.

The West Virginia United Methodist Men gather and host scouts from across the region at WVU Jackson’s Mill every year on the weekend after Labor Day.

Next year’s camporee and outing will mark the 100th anniversary of the Methodist link to scouting. United Methodist Men and churches throughout the West Virginia Conference are encouraged to attend.