Every third Saturday of each month, outdoor enthusiasts meet to hike a park trail located in the Shawnee Valley District.
The Outdoor Enthusiasts Group was formed three years ago by former district superintendent, the Rev. Brent Watson.
Watson loved the outdoors and created a time for fellow hikers to come together and experience God’s creation.
Jon Hall, technical director at Bainbridge United Methodist Church, approached the Shawnee Valley district superintendent, the Rev. Calvin Alston for the group to continue. Today it has nearly 100 members.
“I try to pick a spot in a different county within our district,” Hall said. "Four- to six-mile loop trails are best.” All fitness levels participate in the hikes. “We gather at the trailhead, offer a short prayer and head out.”
As with many ministries, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt in this group. “We did not meet in March or April,” Hall said. “We reconvened in May with about 24 hikers at a trail in Chillicothe.”
Most of the members are United Methodists. Some are friends who love the outdoors and join the group regularly for hikes. Some participants come from outside the county. Hall said, “Some have come from as far as Dayton, Ohio, to hike with us.
As the weather improves, Hall looks forward to planning more hikes for a time of enjoying God’s creation and fellowship with fellow outdoor enthusiasts.
Originally published by the West Ohio Annual Conference. Republished with permission by ResourceUMC.org. Amy Graham is a communications specialist for the West Ohio Annual Conference.