Roughly one year ago, Whole Life's own Geno Blair was commissioned to come up with an agency-wide event. He, along with the help of the National Wild Turkey Federation's "Wheelin' Sportsmen" division, created an outdoor event, naming it; (the)"Outdoor Gatheing". Geno, who is an avid outdoors-man and wildlife enthusiast, wanted to give those who would normally not have the opportunity, a chance to participate in a variety of outdoor-related activities such as fishing and archery, along with crafts and a presentation of live, wild birds by the Birds in Flight Sanctuary of Warren, OH.
The Hubbard Conservation Club was more than willing to host the event at their grounds which offers several outdoor and recreational activities. Several of Geno's friends and family members and Whole Life Services' staff members, along with area businesses and organizations helped out with donations, equipment, bait, food, and offers to volunteer. The event was such a success in its first year, that everyone who attended couldn't wait to do it again this year. "I Consider the gathering a Success, because it is discussed all year 'round (not just during the event)" Geno stated... "it's something that people finally have access to that they are able do, just around the corner from where they live". Geno and "Shenango Valley Beards & Spurs" together with the "Lakeland Longbeards" chapters of the NWTF began planning and organizing the 2018 Gathering in late 2017, received an even larger level of interest than last year. They also dedicated the event to the memory Whole Life's dear friend; Kimmy Baker, who loved the outdoors and wildlife.
Area businesses, including; Buffalo Wild Wings, Declan Construction, Drs Rick and Randy Stigliano, Penn Ohio Drive Through, and Morris Chiropractic were just of the few sponsors who jumped on board to help out. On June 1, 2018 the 2nd-Annual "Outdoor Gathering" was finally here, much to the enjoyment of everyone who had waited so long to enjoy a day of fishing, archery, making crafts, and socialization, as well as another exciting presentation from Birds in Flight Sanctuary.
As much as everyone enjoys the food and archery... the majority of everyone's attention was focused on fishing. This seems to have become the favored activity of the annual outing, as the lake at the Hubbard Conservation Club is stocked with Bass, Bluegill, Catfish, and Trout. Event goers have really taken a liking to getting the opportunity to fish (even stirring up a little friendly competition). During this year's event, alone, Brandon Levan caught 4 fish.
Seeing the "Birds in Flight" presentation is also a crowd favorite, as they do an excellent job of showcasing a variety of birds, such as owls and hawks, and sharing tons of information about each bird. They even give opportunity for Q&A and offer up-close interaction with each bird they bring.
All-in-all the Outdoor Gathering has become a well sought-after event that everyone looks forward to attending each year.
Photos by: Laura Kahl Photography
Video by: Get 2 Work Productions