The annual 250-mile Outspoken for 4-H fundraising ride pushes off Thursday, June 12, in Jefferson County, and even armchair cyclists can gear up to participate.

Its too late for anyone to train and ride with the cyclists. But anyone can beOutspokenby providing moral and monetary support for the 15 riders, who on Sunday, June 15, will end their trek at their final destination�€WVU Jacksons Mill State 4-H Camp, near Weston in Lewis County.

James Grantham, the rides coordinator and a 4-H alumnus, said last years ride raised more than $6,000 to helpfurnish and finishthe newly renovated Mount Vernon Dining Hall at WVU Jacksons Mill.

Again this year, each cyclist has pledged to raise a minimum of $500. The 2008 donations, Grantham said, will fund scholarships for state 4-H campers at WVU Jacksons Mill.

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The fifth annual ride has recruited the events largest class�€15 riders. The class includes four current 4-H members: Jason Burnside of Bridgeport, Seth Kennedy of Rock Cave, William Lauffer of Shepherdstown and Nathan Sisler of Moorefield.

Joining them are 4-H alumni andfriends of 4-H: Grantham of Middleway, Roderico Acevedo Jr. of Shepherdstown, Jeff Brandenburg of Middleway, Courtney Fint of Aurora, Emily Frye of Weston, Abigail Aikens Patthoff of Martinsburg, Jimmy Shulte of Wheeling, Chris Smith of Parkersburg, Sheila Westfall of Grafton, Cindy Woodbury of Hundred and Jeff Yokum of Petersburg.

The cyclists will launch their 11-county journey at 8:15 a.m. Thursday, June 12, from the Jefferson County West Virginia University Extension Office in Kearneysville.

On Sunday, June 15 more than 300 applauding 4-H members will welcome the Outspoken ambassadors when they ride into WVU Jacksons Mill. Their arrival at around 2:45 p.m. will officially open the weeklong West Virginia Older 4-H MembersConference, the birthplace of theOutspoken for 4-Hfundraising event.

Between Thursday and Sunday, the 4-H cyclists will be encouraged by 4-H volunteers and supporters waving motivational signs. WVU Extension agents and 4-H volunteers along the route are supporting”Outspoken for 4-H”by organizing donations, food, lodging and well-wishers.

During the journey, the ambassadors will visit three 4-H camps: Tri-County Younger 4-H MembersCamp in Jefferson County, Hampshire County 4-H Camp and the Grant County Older 4-H MembersCamp.

A medical crew, a bike technician, a snack and drink provider and a crew van accompany the riders at all times.

The cyclistsschedule is:

Thursday, June 12Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties

Friday, June 13Hampshire, Hardy and Grant counties

Saturday, June 14Pendleton and Randolph counties

Sunday, June 15Barbour, Upshur and Lewis counties

Armchair cyclists can follow the route on the Web (, where they can also make tax-deductible donations to support camp scholarships.

The 4-H Youth Development Program is a WVU Extension Service organization that brings learn-by-doing, life-skill development activities to one in every five West Virginia youths.

4-H provides educational programs through clubs, individual projects, county and state camps, after-school programs and special interest groups. Research has shown that, while 4-H youths have fun and make friends, the youths also learn leadership, citizenship and life skills through their individual and group projects.

For more information aboutOutspoken for 4-H,contact Grantham at .

Completed Outspoken donation forms may be mailed to:

WVU Extension Development

806 Knapp Hall

PO Box6031

Morgantown WV 26506 -6031