Clint Suggs believes all children deserve summer fun on the water.
For this reason, Suggs of Wood County has formed Wake the World-West Virginia, a nonprofit, charitable organization dedicated to providing watersports events to children who would not otherwise have an opportunity to participate.
On July 30 at Dils Riverfront Park in Vienna, 23 teenagers from foster care and Wood County Juvenile Drug Court gathered for a day of food, games, mentoring and fun on the Ohio River.
Suggs, executive director of the Parkersburg-Marietta Contractors Association, got the idea for the local program after visiting with Wake the World founder Greg Hodgin in North Carolina.
Suggs worked with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and Wood County Juvenile Drug Court Judge Darren Tallman to identify the teenagers, both boys and girls, who might benefit from Wake the World.
Six Wakeboard boat owners donated their time and gasoline to take the teens for rides on the Ohio River. Chick-fil-A donated lunch and Cowboy Concessions provided supper, while contractors and others volunteered at Dils park.
"It was a fun, relaxed day for the kids," said Suggs, who enjoys wakeboarding, which combines the skills of surfing and snowboarding on the water.
To see the teens smile and participate in wholesome fun made the day special for Suggs and others. "The grownups had fun, too," he said.
"The kids had a ball," said Judy Stephens, juvenile probation officer in Wood County who works with the drug court.
The event gave the at-risk teens a chance to talk with people from the community in a learning environment not connected with the court system, Stephens said.
"It was a really, really positive experience," she said.
Tallman said Wake the World showed the youth they can have fun in a clean and sober way without using drugs or alcohol.
Tallman saw smiles and relaxed expressions on drug court youth he had not seen before.
Suggs wants to continue Wake the World next year, an idea that Tallman and Stephens heartily support.
Kate Swisher, general manager at the Parkersburg Country Club, has a goal of reaching at least 600 memberships. With activities like the member/guest golf tournament and pool party last weekend, along with new staff members, Swisher has a good shot at reaching her goal. Dave Rudie, executive chef, said he loves preparing food for the member/guest dinner and dance at poolside. For last Saturday's "cool pool blue" party with a Mediterranean theme, Rudie and staff prepared a Mediterranean and Greek meal, using carved leg of lamb, cobia fish and other seafood. Soundtastic Entertainment disc jockey Alex Foster from St. Albans got the crowd dancing. Nicole Kocher, formerly of the Blennerhassett Hotel, is the new pastry chef while tennis instructor Mike Carpenter is the new pool manager, Swisher said. Carpenter, tennis coach at Marietta College, is trying to get PCC members back on the tennis courts, Swisher said. Carl Mayfield, event and membership director, has increased event/banquet numbers significantly since joining the country club from the Blennerhassett Hotel, said Swisher, who also worked at the Blennerhassett. Russ Tracewell and Eddie Jett won the match play golf tournament. PCC, incorporated in 1902 as the state's first country club, has 587 memberships.
Lew Johnson was pleased that more than 250 people attended the "Nemesis Shrine All Temple Get Together" on Aug. 3, sponsored by the Shrine Motorized Unit, at the Nemesis Shrine building on Watson Road. Johnson, president of the 50-member unit, said the picnic in Wood County is a way to introduce the Shrine to the public, display the facilities and thank the community for its support. The newly formed Shrine Band entertained the guests, who ate grilled chicken, barbecued chicken and pulled pork and side dishes.
Contact Paul LaPann at firstname.lastname@example.org