Scioto Gives profiles: Boy Scouts, Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund, and SOMACC

By Ryan Ottney

September 22, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

The Scioto Foundation will offer Scioto County participating nonprofit organizations (NPOs) a new opportunity to raise money for their endowment funds when it sponsors “Scioto Gives,” a one-day matching gift program on Oct. 24, 2013.

Scioto Gives will establish a new partnership between local NPOs and the Scioto Foundation as it assists the nonprofits with their annual membership drives and helps smaller, grass roots NPOs accept online gifts. To implement the new idea, the Scioto Foundation has set aside $20,000 to use as matching money for 2013.

Contributions from donors will be received on the Scioto Foundation website, www.sciotogives.org from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 24. Donors can also drop checks off at the Foundation office at 303 Chillicothe St., in Portsmouth, or transfer stocks between the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the designated day.

Fifteen non-profit organizations are participating in the campaign, and each week the Daily Times will profile some of them here.

The Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America is a national organization helping young people grow up to be successful, ethical, healthy, and environmentally conscious adults. The Simon Kenton Council, Boy Scouts of America is doing just that, preparing our youth for life. Through the many advancement opportunities, Scouts are learning about the world around them and getting hands-on experiences and knowledge that they won’t find anywhere else. This include learning about business, technology, science, physical fitness, hobbies, how to be a good citizen, personal management, and much more. These programs help Scouts to discover their interests and learn valuable life lessons.

More than 1,000 youth make up the “Tecumseh District” which includes Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers from Scioto County. In 2012, Scioto County recognized nine Scouts for earning the rank of Eagle. So far this year, six Scouts earned their Eagle rank with three more on the way. To earn their Eagle Scout rank, Scouts must complete a comprehensive service project in their community. These projects range from cleaning up a local park or cemetery, to building wheelchair ramps or park benches. These projects are a way for Scouts to give back to their community and make it a better place.

There are many other ways that the Scouts are helping communities in Scioto County. Last year, local Scouts collected more than 600 pounds of food for local food pantries through the Scouting for Food initiative. This November, local Scouts plan to participate in the program and collect even more food.

Program highlights in the local Scouting program include a successful one week Cub Scout Day Camp at Camp Oyo in West Portsmouth, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Boy Scout Merit Badge Day held at Portsmouth High School, and an upcoming event called Scary Camp which provides a weekend of fun for Scouts and their Families.

“Scouting is much more than kids camping and tying knots. We are preparing our youth for successful futures. Through our enhanced STEM education programs, our Scouts are learning what it takes to become our future engineers, bankers and community leaders,” said Chris Wiseman, Local District Executive.

Anyone who would like more information about Scouting or would like to find a local unit to join is encouraged to call 740- 354-2811 or go to www.skcscouts.org.

Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund

Founded by Mark and Virgie Hunter in 2006, after the passing of their son, Steven, the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund was originally a program offered to students at Portsmouth High School to assist with test fees, field trip costs, clothes, or anything else the students needed. In 2009 the Hope Fund began its Powerpack Program, sending home a pack of food for underprivileged children to have on the weekend when they weren’t at school. Today the Powerpack Program has expanded to help more than 500 kids at nine schools in Scioto County.

Nearly 1 in 6 children suffer from food insecurity in the United States, but in Scioto County it’s double the national average with 1 in 3 suffering from food insecurity.

During the summer, the program participated in a summer feeding imitative in the Minford and South Webster areas, providing food to children who might not otherwise have much. Government feeding programs are available during the summer, but are not accessible to many children living in those rural areas where the Hope Fund was serving. During the summer, the Hope Fund served more than 55,000 free meals, including thousands of pounds of fresh produce, in those communities.

“It’s two-edged. It breaks your heart when you see the kids. Especially sometimes we find out the circumstances just because of being there and different things we do. But to be able to help them, we just feel so blessed that God has opened these doors for us and honored us with this mission so that we can help those that need. What better honor can you have but to be able to help those that need help?” Mark Hunter said.

The program is funded by private donations and through fundraisers such as the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund Tennis Tournament and various activities throughout the year. For more information about the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund, visit them online at www.stevenshopefund.org, or on Facebook.

Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center

Located on Gallia Street in Portsmouth, the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center (SOMACC) is celebrating its 35th anniversary next year, offering a wide range of visual and performing arts programs.

About 10 exhibitions are displayed in the temporary exhibit space each year, as well as many permanent exhibitions — such as artifacts from the Adena and Hopewell Native American cultures that populated the area, a collection of paintings from regional artist Clarence Carter, and an extensive collection of Ackerman historic photographs.

The Ackerman photographs are in the process of digitizing at the Portsmouth Public Library.

“The value of the museum is not just for Scioto County. I’d say we extend a region of probably close to 100 miles. Maybe Huntington (W.Va.) on one end, and Cincinnati on the other, north to Columbus and south to Lexington (Ky.). We’re really the only available resource of our kind in the region. So the services we offer in an isolated region, such as southern Ohio where we are, are really kind of unique and the closer you are the easier it is to access,” said Mark Chepp, executive director of the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center.

For more information about the museum, follow them on Facebook for their latest exhibits and programs, or email info@somacc.com.

Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.