Adventure: Fayette County provides free youth activities as part of early prevention method

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – On Wednesday, Adventure: Fayette County, in collaboration with several nonprofits and local businesses, kicked off their Adventure Days for kids ages 10 and up in Fayette County.

If you came to the Fayette County Park on Wednesday, you saw kids paddleboarding, fishing, kayaking, and even playing disc golf, but what looked like just a fun family event for the community to enjoy had an underlying mission. 

Fayette County Health Department Prevention Coordinator Katie Johnson explains.

“We’re in partnership with the West Virginia Prevention Research Center and we’re engaging kids as a prevention program,” she said. 

Adventure: Fayette County is a new program that follows the ICE Collaborative method which stands for Integrated Collaboration Environment.

This method was inspired by a 20-year study in Iceland where they reduced their teen substance abuse problem significantly by intervening early and giving them affordable activities to do.

With a community full of outdoor recreation, this type of method seemed to be a perfect fit for Fayette County. 

“To get the kids to find out what’s inside of them, you know, because if it’s something that’s meaningful to the kid, then they’re going to pursue it rather than somebody telling them that that’s meaningful,” Johnson said. 

So throughout the month of July every Wednesday, teens and tweens can come with their caregivers to the Fayette County Park to enjoy and try out these activities for free as a family.

Because of partnering businesses like River Expeditions, Pro River Outfitters and Mountain Surf Paddle Sports as well as non-profits like Active Southern West Virginia, the equipment is all provided. 

“We could provide physical activity opportunities and help to support the programming here for kids and families to understand how much there is to do here in Fayette County that really doesn’t cost much and is accessible just right outside their back door,” Active Southern West Virginia Executive Director Melanie Seiler said.  

Adventure: Fayette County is part of the Fayette Prevention Coalition and health department and partners with New River Health.

They believe Fayette County’s on track to creating a strong prevention network that starts with the kids and with these strong partnerships that bring the whole community together. 

“It’s a sign of the healthy community and if we can keep the conversation going about what we can do, we can be so much stronger working together,” Johnson said. 

Adventure: Fayette County also has programming for kids younger than 10 where the outdoor activities include an obstacle course as well as arts and crafts. These take place every Tuesday and Thursday with the following schedule:

Tuesday: 11:00 a.m.-1 p.m. at Fayette Town Park in Fayetteville

Thursday: 11:00 a.m.-1 p.m. at Collins Park in Oak Hill

Every Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. will be the activities for ages 10 and up at the county park in Beckwith. Parents or caregivers must be in attendance and are encouraged to participate.

Social distancing is a key part of all of their activities.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.