Children and their parents fish for catfish in an artificial pond during Saturday's outdoor adventure camp sponsored by Beyond the Backyard. | Beyond the Backyard

CHARLESTON—With more than 450 children in attendance for the fourth year of its one-day outdoor adventure camp, Beyond the Backyard, a charitable foundation started in 2008 by attorney Bobby Warner, is planning how to make the event bigger and better in the coming years.

“It went really well,” Tara Bartlett, director of public relations for Beyond The Backyard, recently told The West Virginia Record. “We had over 450 kids there. With parents and everything, probably over 2,500 people there.”

The event, which took place June 4 at Cabela’s in South Charleston, featured activities designed to get children more interested in outdoor activities, as well as helping their parents learn about both the benefits of such activities and how to get their children more active.

“We had a catfish pond where the kids could come and catch catfish,” Bartlett said. “We had an archery station where they could come and learn proper techniques about using bows. We also had an air rifle station, where they could learn the proper techniques for using a rifle.”

There was also an animal exhibit, featuring everything from rabbits to kangaroos to cockroaches and other insects, she said, and staff from the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources were on hand with information.

Warner, who runs Warner Law Offices PLLC, a firm focused on personal injury law, started Beyond the Backyard as a way to encourage young people in West Virginia to take advantage of the outdoor activities available to them.

“He started Beyond the Backyard in 2008,” Bartlett said. “He started it because he really wanted to give back to the community, especially the children of West Virginia. His best experiences growing up were being able to go hunting with his family and his brothers, so he wanted to be able to give that to the kids of West Virginia. Not only give that to the children who like to hunt, who like to camp, who like to fish, but also get children involved who might not have had any experience with that. The purpose of Beyond the Backyard is to educate children and their families on the outdoors—hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, archery.”

The outdoor adventure camp has grown each year since the foundation held the first one in 2012, Bartlett said, and planning is going to be starting soon for next year’s event.

“The plan is to do this every year,” she said. “After each event we have a debrief meeting. We also get feedback from the folks who were there on what we could do better next year. We take all that feedback to make it bigger and better and to get more folks out to attend next year.”

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