Annual ‘Outdoor Youth Expo’ to return next week

By Mindy Kearns - Special to the Register

POINT PLEASANT — Hundreds of Mason County students will converge at the National Guard Armory near Point Pleasant next week for the annual Outdoor Youth Expo.

Sponsored by Pleasant Valley Hospital, the event will be held April 12 and 13 from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The expo promotes awareness of positive, safe, and drug-free recreational activities for students, families, and communities, according to the publicity flyers.

Students in grades fourth through sixth will be bussed from their respective schools to the expo. It is also open to parents. New Haven and Point Pleasant Intermediate students will attend the expo on Wednesday, while students from Ashton, Leon, Roosevelt and Beale will attend on Thursday.

Superintendent of Schools Jack Cullen said he feels the expo is important for the students because it promotes outdoor activity.

“It helps them find things that interest them,” he stated. “It promotes being physically active, getting outside, instead of being indoors behind a video game.”

Cullen added the expo has a lot of character building information, including anti-bullying messages.

Live entertainment will be featured, including the popular ventriloquist Mark Wade, who hails from Barefoot Bay, Florida. Wade is a 30-year veteran performer, and has authored books on the subject of ventriloquism for children.

He has been featured in Time magazine, and has appeared on television shows, including “Good Morning America,” “Entertainment Tonight,” and the “CBS Evening News.” Wade’s shows teach children about good character and include a segment on anti-bullying.

Another program presented will be led by “Choosy,” a costumed character who promotes making good choices.

“Choosy” is part of a West Virginia company, “Choosy Kids,” devoted to developing healthy habits early in life. Founded by Dr. Linda Carson, “Choosy Kids” has become nationally known. The company has partnered with various learning materials companies, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, to develop educational products, programs, and staff development trainings.

The expo also includes demonstrations, booths, activities, prizes and giveaways. A local committee plans the event, with members including Superintendent Cullen, Dave McClung, George Shell, Greg Martin, Joann Cullen, Leigh Ann Shepard, Lorrie Wright, Nicole Leport, Paul Nichols, Randy Searls, Rodney Wallbrown, Jason Schultz, Tracy Call, Annee Carman, and Ed Lowe.

Nearly 30 groups and organizations are expected to have displays at the expo. Monarch butterflies and “Snakes of West Virginia” will be among them, as well as some local exhibits from the county’s 4-H and extension office, health department, convention and visitor bureau, library, prevention coalition, solid waste authority, and river museum.

By Mindy Kearns

Special to the Register

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at