That’s the goal of the Outdoor Youth Expo, which kicked off Wednesday and continues today at the National Guard Armory in Point Pleasant.
According to Linda Rollins, expo organizer, the event has grown significantly each year. Students in grades 4-6 from Point Pleasant Intermediate School and Ashton, Roosevelt, Beale, Leon and New Haven elementary schools are set to participate in the expo.
“We have had a big turnout. Booth participation is good, and the kids (have been) well behaved,” Rollins said. “(Students) enjoyed the Madcap Puppets and the animals from the Oglebay Zoo.”
Lexie Runion, a fifth grader at Roosevelt Elementary School, said she really enjoyed the expo.
“I liked seeing the helicopter outside, and it’s really cool,” she added.
Ashton Elementary School fifth grader Brett Mayes also described the expo as a fun experience.
“I (liked) playing the video game on the airplane,” Mayes said in reference to one of the exhibits, adding that he learned a lot from the event.
Rollins said the purpose of the expo is to promote positive, drug-free activities for area youth, families and communities. Research shows that if kids get involved in positive recreation activities, they are less likely to get involved in anti-social or drug activities.
Numerous area and state organizations displayed booths at the expo that showcased the variety of activities available for youth. The Madcap Puppets, RAZE and Oglebay Zoo conducted presentations for students and will do so again today. In addition, several prizes, including bicycles, were given away.
More prizes will be given away this afternoon and during this evening’s Family Night, which is slated for 5 p.m. Activities include a performance by the Ashton Elementary Jump Roping Team, the French Art Colony Dance Studio, the Big Bend Cloggers and the Mason County Steel Drums. There also will be a presentation from Oglebay Zoo.
This year marks the event’s 10th anniversary, and expo organizers have extended the event to Friday with a family night in memory of Lowell Cook at Point Pleasant Junior Senior High School’s Paul and Lillian Wedge Auditorium. The evening will feature a free concert, which is slated for 7 p.m., with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver Band.