In the past, theyve been outspoken about 4-H and how it has benefitted them.
p. This week, a group of cyclists will be”out spokin”their wheels to benefit the youth development organization. Their goal: to raise awareness about and funds for the 4-H program and for WVU Jacksons Mill.

Between June 17-20, nine 4-H members, leaders and friends will be pedaling 250 miles from West Virginia Universitys Jefferson County Extension Office in Kearneysville to WVU Jacksons Mill State 4-H Camp, near Weston.

Along the way, 4-H supporters will be out in full force to cheer on the bicyclists, to ride their own bikes for a portion of the route, to provide meals and overnight accommodations, and to spray the riders with water when the temperatures heat up.

U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito will join the group in Weston at noon on Sunday, June 20, to ride the last seven miles, arriving at 2:45 p.m. at Jacksons Mill. There, she will give the keynote talk to 300 youths attending the 4-H Older MembersConference (OMC).

Lead organizer of the”Out Spoken for 4-H”fund-raising ride is Jeff Yokum, a U.S. Secret Service officer who works at the White House in Washington, D.C.Yokum, a West Virginia 4-H All Star officer and former Grant County 4-H member, serves as a volunteer at OMC .

The idea for the 4-H ride was born at last years OMC when other staff members learned that Yokum had participated in four charity rides, including the 9-11 Memorial Ride from New York City to the Pentagon. At the urging of his fellow 4-H volunteers, Yokum decided to use his interest in cycling to organize a unique fund-raiser to benefit 4-H and Jacksons Mill.

He worked with WVU Extension agents and 4-H volunteers to arrange for meals, pit stops, lodging and police assistance. The riders will be accompanied by vans carrying equipment and crew members, including a nurse, paramedic, mechanic, massage therapist, nutrition specialist and two”cheerleaders.”

“This ride could not be successful without the help of each of the volunteers and agents who have put a lot of time and effort into the planning,”Yokum said.

“We hope to raise enough money to fund the renovations of the Assembly Hall at WVU Jacksons Mill, but we will accept donations for any state 4-H camp or program that people want to support,”he said.

Already, the group has collected pledges of more than $14,000. Anyone wishing more details about helping with the ride or about donating to 4-H may contact WVU county Extension offices or Bob Galardi, director of WVU Extension Development, at 304-293-5691, ext. 3307.

All funds raised will go to 4-H and Jacksons Mill; the participants and their supporters will cover all ride expenses.

The bikers, ranging in age from 15 to 59, have been training for about five months. Their schedule includes the following route:

p. June 17

p. June 18

p. June 19

p. June 20

The WVU Extension Service operates the 4-H program through local offices in every county of the state. Through clubs, special interest groups, camps, after-school programs, and individual projects, 4-H reaches 56,000 young people statewide. They are supported by more than 7,200 adult volunteers who serve as mentors.

  • * * * (47 miles)Elkins through Buckhannon and Weston to WVU Jacksons Mill(52 miles)Cabins through Seneca Rocks and Harman to Elkins(106 miles)Berkeley Springs through Romney, Moorefield and Petersburg to Cabins(45 miles)Kearneysville through Martinsburg to Berkeley Springs