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2018 Conference Breakout Sessions

This one for br eakouts (1 of 1)

Some of the most popular presenters are under 18.


Try This …. and this … and this … and this …

A wonderful smorgasbord of affordable, do-able ideas are waiting for you in Buckhannon, June 15-16, 2018 ! More than 130 of your fellow West Virginians are volunteering their time to pack your head with healthy-community ideas! West Virginians trading ideas! Community by community, we’re creating a healthier state


2b testing. gaga pit

At the conference, we practice what we preach! Lots of fun between and after sessions!



Full schedule here. Two days of inspiration and fun.

Register here.

Wondering how to apply for a minigrant? Look here.

Come Thursday to relax and take in extra events: farm dinner, community conversation workshop, bike ride, exhibits … see the schedule for more details.






Friday, June 15, First breakout session: 1:00 – 2:15


Community organizing and policy improvement: How can you inspire people to work together? How can you help them plan and strategize for the long haul? How can you organize around an issue? Two excellent organizers help you make a roadmap.  Stephen Smith, Executive Director, WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition;  Kent Spellman, Retired Executive Director, WV Community Development Hub / HYMA

Grant writing for beginners:  If you feel intimidated by writing grants, this is the session for you. This session is for those who have never written a grant, not those who have written 3+ grants.  Kim Tieman, Project Officer,Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and Jessica Wright, Director, WV Bureau for Public Health/PAC – Greek Alumni Room

A Wellness Council for your community?  Barboursville is beating the heck out of towns 10X bigger, when it comes to fitness and health.  Morgantown has a new six-person Wellness Council. Your town could do some version of this!    Jenny Anderson, Families Leading Change;   Megan Paul & Jillian Freeman, Barboursville Wellness Council; Christine Wallace & Ryan Wallace, Morgantown councilman and Wellness Council/ Reemsnyder 339

Adaptive exercise:  gardening to chair yoga.  Let’s find ways to make it easier for disabled and elderly people to be physically active. Come to this session and leave with some new creative ideas:  Kerry Gabbert, chair yoga, WVU Ext.; Cathy Schrader, Walk with Ease (Arthritis Assn),  Lesley Cottrell, WVU Ext. overview of adaptive exercise and Adam Flack /Christopher Hall 217

Community conversations: How to keep it going in your town: In Buckhannon and Grafton, people meet weekly for an anybody-welcome conversation about ways to make the town healthier and more prosperous. This is a how-to session. How to do it, how to keep it going. CJ Rylands, Create Buckhannon Susan Aloi, What’s Next Buckhannon, and Tom Hart, All Aboard Grafton/ Reemsnyder 338

Runners / Walkers Resource Network: jumpstart your running/walking program. Running and walking are great ways to fight depression, obesity, and drug abuse and just about whatever ails you. It brings people together in a healthy way. How can you make it happen? Alexis Batausa, Mingo County Healthy in the Hills; DJ Crites,  Try This WV; Charles Day, Prevention Resource Officer, Buchanon-Upshur Middle School;  Kevin Brackens, Bros and Bras;  Laurie Abildso, Girls on the Run; Luke Pietrowski, We Run Morgantown./Christopher Hall 408

Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits. Churches taking a lead role in creating healthy opportunities. WV Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits helps churches and other faith institutions develop wellness committees, devoted to making it easier for church members to take care of the bodies God gave us. Come find out about it. Josh Sowards, Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits; Angel Smothers, WVU; Matt Young, Genesis Running / PAC Auditorium

Cooking-healthy-on-a-shoestring budget. Teach people how! Healthy, homemade food can actually be cheaper than processed food if you know how to prepare it. Each presenter offers tips and resources from  a different angle. Brainstorm ways to make it work in your community.  Kristin McCartney, WVU Ext; Tia Lasporgra, The Shack; Maddie Humeric,WVU; Kate Marshall, Grow Ohio Valley; Molly Poffenbarger, WVU; Jeannie Harrison, Exe. Director, Grow Huntington/ Multipurpose Room -Wellness Center

Yoga and mindfulness: affordable and good for all ages.  A statewide network of yoga and tai chi teachers is building. Many schools, prisons, drug recovery programs, veterans and senior centers are using yoga and tai  and other mindfulness practices to build self-control and concentration.  How can you make it widely available in your community?  Amy Snodgrass and Jo Anne McNemar, Mindful WV Classrooms;  Krystal McConiha and Mary Davis, Ruffner Elementary;  Sue Julian and Barbara Steineke, Laotung Yoga; Rick Wilson, tai chi / Christopher Hall 216

The Outdoors as Medicine. Literally! A pile of medical evidence says walking in the woods, surrounded by trees and vegetation, is good for your heart and body. Some call it “nature prescription.” In Japan, they call it  “forest bathing,”  West Virginia is a big forest bath! How can we take advantage of that? Aila Accad, WV Future of Nursing; Josh Donohew, WV Hub/ Christopher Hall 414


closeup organizing session





Friday, June 15, Second breakout session: 2:45 – 4:00


Healthy startup businesses: Promote health and make $$  A good bike store, running store or healthy-food store can make a big difference in your lives.! So can wellness and yoga. Brainstorm ways you can promote healthy businesses in your town. Colleen Harshbarger, Wellbeing Solutions;  Traci Phillips, Fun Fitness Kids Club;  Kevin Brackens, Bros and Bras & Jefferson Activities Group/Christopher Hall 414

**Kids learning math, science and entrepreneurship through gardening.  This one-stop workshop is packed with lots of practical ways to teach children all kinds of subjects through gardening … in high tunnels, in pop-up farmers markets, in class.  Jessica Pollitt, WVU Ext;  Chuck Talbott  and Doug Penn, Putnam Co. WVU Extension and Garden Based Learning; Meghan Salter, Martha Elem; Jenny Totten, WVHub  STARS Credits / PAC Auditorium

Weave more physical activity into school and youth programs: Use bursts of physical activity to keep kids energized and involved. Decrease discipline problems, increase chances of academic success, lower risk of chronic disease and drug abuse. An idea-and-fun-packed session! Come ready to move!  Brandon Williams, Action for Healthy Kids; Josh Grant, Department of Education; Andrea Clendenin, Sherman Elementary; Jenny Anderson, Families Leading Change/Reemsnyder 338

Stress relief without meds: No-cost ways to lower your blood pressure. Stress is a leading cause of depression, chronic disease, drug relapse, etc.  How can you increase opportunities for stress reduction and mindfulness in your community? How do you lower the stress of a community?  Aila Accad, The Future of Nursing; Ron Wilkerson, tai chi master;  Pam Salter, WVUP, Wellness;  Maria Arnot, Williamson Health and Wellness; Lori Tofate, Restorative Yoga/ Multipurpose Room (Wellness Center)

Community gardening  All over the state, people are finding creative ways to use a community garden. You’ll hear about joint gardening with the schools, growing food for soup kitchens, teaching kids to garden, and plain old gardens. Packed with ideas, resources and advice!  Norm Schwertfeger, Extension (Brooke); Dural Miller, Keep Your Faith (Kanawha); Ashley Reese, Conscious Harvest (Monongalia); Tracey Keaton, Arnoldsburg Elementary (Calhoun)/ PAC -Greek Auditorium

Healthy meetings, lunchrooms and concessions: Alternatives to heart attack food: Ideas for tasty, affordable food kids and grownups will love that won’t raise their diabetes risk! Sample some!  Kerry Gabbert, WVU Extension; Jillian Freeman and Olivia Turman, Wheelie Cart;  Kristen McCartney and Emily Murphy, WVU/ Reemsnyder 339

Build trails and get people on them!  We’re building and connecting miles of trails to encourage biking, paddling, hiking, walking, and running. Trails bring in $$ to the local economy if they’re well-managed. How can we fund them and draw people to them? These people have answers! Joshua Donohew, WV Hub; Diana Druga, Harrison  Rail Trails; Kent Spellman, WVHub; Mark Scoular, Transportation Alternatives / Christopher 217

Healthy Community  = Economic Development  Four of our best healthy-community thinkers have a conversation about ways we can show that the healthy-community movement can also spell economic development. Fritz Boettner, Sprouting Farms; Paul Mock, Mock’s Greenhouse and Farm, Ruston Seaton, New Visions; Gabe Pena, Fayette County Development / Christopher Hall 216

Run for local office! Have you wished you had the power to make things happen that create a healthier community? Hear from people who ran (and got elected) to put themselves in a better position to do that. Find out how you can do it too. Stephen Smith, Executive Director, WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition; CJ Rylands, Create Buchannon; Gabe Roush, Founder Point Pleasant Trail Committee; Lissa Lucas, farmer and candidate for House District 7; Rebecca Campbell, Pocahontas Board of Ed/ HYMA

ACES. Adverse Childhood Experiences. Solid research tells us that childhood trauma can be an underlying cause of obesity, drug abuse, workplace problems and many other life-damaging problems. Find out more about ACES and how your healthy-community program can help children or adults with ACES.  Michael Brumage, MD, WVU School of Public Health; Christine Wallace, Morgantown, Eric Murphy, iFather/ Christopher Hall 408


Hour-long whole-conference session at PAC, Saturday morning:

Tools for drug prevention and recovery.   Dr Michael Brumage, MD, MPH, FACP Asst Dean for Public Health Practice & WVU School of Public Health;  Alfgeir Kristiaanssen, Professor, WVU Assistant Professor Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences School of Public Health;  Steve Miller, Mayor of Huntington

Saturday, June 16, First Breakout Session: 10:00 – 11:15


**Natural playgrounds and outdoor classrooms that don’t bust your budget. Create a natural playground from natural materials: hills, tunnels, logs, bamboo. It costs less. Kids love it.  Leave this session with affordable ideas. A landscape designer and others will give you ideas worth copying. Laura Dice, KEYS 4HealthyKids,  David Hill,, natural playground designer; Tracey Valach, WVU Extension; Emma Huvos, Riverside Nature School    STARS Credits/ Christopher Hall 217

Create a Workplace Wellness program on a shoestring.  Maybe you don’t have the money for a full-scale workplace wellness program within your business (gym, etc.), but there’s still plenty you can do to help people get moving and eating a healthier diet! And there are resources from the CDC that will help you do it!  Dasheema Jarrett, Bureau of Public Health;  Melanie Seiler, Active So. WV;  LaTausha Taylor, KISRA; Dana DeJarnette, WVU Healthcare; Colleen Harshbarger, Well Being Solutions/ Multipurpose Room (Wellness Center)

Bring back home gardening in your community? Until the 1970, more than 70% of West Virginians gardened. Let’s go back in time. Help people save money and eat better? Help kids fall in love with vegetables? Get ideas for how you can spread gardening in your community.  Michael Tierney,Grow Appalachia; Norm Schwertfeger,WVU Extension;Tracy Keaton,, school-community gardening; Emily Murphy / Kristin McCartney,Grow This! WV/ Reemsnyder 339

How can we help people avoid, control or reverse Type 2 diabetes and other awful chronic diseases?  How can people in your community get information they need? Hear about some first-rate programs and find out about effective ways to get them going in your community! Josh Sowards, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Spirits; Susie Sims, RN Quality Insights; Laura Welch, Everyone with Diabetes Counts;  Trish Barbarito, RN, Potomac Valley Hospital / Christopher Hall 217

Hydroponics and microgreens: A money-maker, a great school/after school project.  Wheeling is planning a big factory. Roane County has a great after school microgreens program. McDowell County is teaching hydroponics at the food bank. What might you do? Ken Peralta and Laurie Ruberg,  Grow Ohio Valley;  Zack Zdanek, PATCH/ Christopher Hall 216

A community biking program! Wheeling and Point Pleasant organized bike clubs after Try This meetings. You can attract a bike store! You can make it easier for people to bike to work and around town! Hear from West Virginians who are making it happen and can help you figure out how to make it happen in your town!  Dennis Strawn, Connecting Communities; Jim Adams, Bike Wheeling, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Positive Spin / Reemsnyder 338

Change a law! Change a rule or policy! How?  How can you affect policy at the local or state level? Real WV examples and really skilled organizers help you figure out how to design a campaign for your issue.  Spencer Moss, WV Food and Farm Coalition:  Rick Wilson, Director, American Friends Service Committee WV: Jenny Anderson, Director,Families Leading Change; Jim Cook, Former Oceana Town Council and Recorder/HYMA

Feeding people who need food. There are many reasons to grow food, and one is: Help your neighbor in times of need!  If that rings true for you, come to this session. You’ll get ideas from some of WV’s most effective programs and leave inspired. Bradley Wilson, WVFoodlink; Cheryl Laws, Cafe Appalachia; Ashley Reece, Conscious Harvest; Tia Lasporga, The Shack; Ruston Seaton, New Visions/ Christopher Hall 408

Raise $$ locally: Getting a grant is great, but if you want long-term success, it’s equally (maybe more) important to involve the community in raising $$ so they feel buy-in.  The first thing funders look for: What have you done for yourself? What kind of community support do you have? Terry White, Linwood Alive; Tiffany Tatum, Village of Barboursville; Maria Bray, Buckhannon Dog Park; Elizabeth Shahan, Monticello neighborhood /PAC -Auditorium

Community recreation kids love: Another way to fight “There’s nothing to do, so let’s do drugs”: Whether it’s through parks and rec or churches or schools or a combination, we need more healthy activities for kids to get into. Come get ideas for your community! Megan Paul, Barboursville Parks and Rec, Tina Acord, Wyoming Co, SADD,  Christine Wallace, Morgantown Wellness, Jean Srodes, Pocahontas County/ PAC -Greek Alumni Room

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Saturday, June 16, Second Breakout Session: 11:45 – 1:00


Start a paddling program in your county! Get people out on the water. Got a river or lake? Get a paddling program or business started at your school or community. These people are doing it, and they’ll tell you how you can too! Kevin Fooce (Mason County), Holly Purpura (Monongalia County),  Bryan Smith (Taylor County), Jean Srodes (Pocahontas County), Sara Cottingham, Downstream Strategies /Christopher 217

What to do to get public officials on board with your projects. If public officials understand and support our projects, our projects go better. So what are effective ways we can get them on board?  Jonathan Adler, WV Assoc of Counties;  Chris Tatum, Barboursville Mayor; Matthew Wender, Fayette County Commission; Bugs Stover, Wyoming County Clerk;  Ron Stollings, MD, Boone County Senator/ Christopher Hall 414

Get your message out in all kinds of ways!  How can you successfully get your message out and draw people to your projects? This presentation will stir up creative ideas about ways to use social media and paid media and other means to publicize and build your project.  Doug Imbrogno, multimedia producer; Ashley Starcher, Try This Social Media Americorps/ReemsSnyder 338

**If kids grow it, they’ll eat it, Part 2 – in the garden!  This hands-on kids’ gardening session takes place in the beautiful Buckhannon community garden, behind the Performance Hall (see map in program). Learn activities you can take home! Ask a volunteer for directions.  Jessica Pollitt, WVU Extension; Chuck Talbott, WVU Extension; Buck Edwards, Create Buchanon; Kate Marshall, Grow Ohio Valley  STARS CREDIT/ Community Garden

Raise a lot on a little bit of land:  An in-depth session with gardening guru Bob Gregory who attracts international visitors to his small Calhoun County farm for workshops.  He’s helping the local elementary school raise a generation of gardeners. Tracey Keaton, Arnoldsburg Elem; Bob Gregory, Berea Gardens/ Reemsnyder 339

Do-It-Yourself healthy-community group.  No need to wait for an agency or somebody else to organize it for you! Hear from people who have created great community physical activity groups with very little cost. How can you make it happen in your community? Who can you partner with?  Kevin Bracken, Bros and Bras (Jefferson), Adam Flack, Volleyball on Magic Island and Other (Kanawha), Gabe Rousch, Point Pleasant bicyclers (Mason), Luke Pietrowski, We Run! Morgantown (Monongalia)/Christopher Hall 408

Prescribing Prevention: Getting healthcare professionals involved with your community projects. Doctors, nurses and dieticians can add so much to our community teams! Hear about creative ways healthcare professionals can get involved in prevention. Get ideas for your community!? Emma Eggleston-Morton, MD, WVU East Med School; Jill Fields ,Cabin Creek  Health Systems; Dino Beckett, Director, Williamson Wellness Center; Ryan McCarthy. MD, WVU East Med School/Christopher 216

Afterschool programs: A great answer to “There’s nothing to do, so let’s do drugs”  Two of the best afterschool programs in the state team up to present a smorgasbord of healthy afterschool ideas that make kids want to be there: from cooking and running to microgreens.  Dave McCutcheon, and Zack Zdebak, PATCH 21 afterschool; Michael Farmer, Charleston Family Resource Center: Jean Srodes, Pocahontas County Schools/ Multipurpose Room (Wellness Center)

We are Young and We Want a Healthier State!  West Virginia youth and their sponsors will inspire and move you. They’re providing a healthy alternative to drugs and learning to be creative, capable adults who know how to stay healthy and have fun.  Jennifer Wells?  Kathryn Baker and Tyler Hendricks, Jenny’s Barboursville kids, Jenny Totten/Garden Girls, Tina Acord, Wyoming SADD; Laura Dice, KEYS / HYMA

After Lunch, Saturday: Kim and Jessica

Special session, required for mini-grant applicants: Write grant applications that get funded….Are you writing a grant for the first or second time? Maximize your chances for success! You’ll learn how to frame your proposal / identify partners and mission, write SMART goals, and more! Required for mini-grant applicants, but all are welcome.  Stephen Smith, WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition; Kim Tieman, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and Jessica Wright, Bureau of Public Health/ Room To Be Announcec


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