Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Ministry snapshots - Special kids venture into great outdoors at Cheyenne


At Cheyenne, outdoor adventure awaited six special-needs youths and their families. The United Methodist Church hosted them during an Oklahoma Outdoor Outreach event.

It was about 5 o’clock on a November morning when the families and their guides arrived at the church for breakfast, then made their way to specially outfitted deer blinds in Roger Mills County.

Landowner and guide Rick Locatelli said, "It was a joy to see these young hunters experience the great outdoors. At our location we saw bobcats, turkey, and, of course, deer!"

The nonprofit Oklahoma Outdoor Outreach Foundation provides special-needs youths "the opportunity to enjoy the heritage of outdoor sporting activities in family-based events," according to founder Tim Slavin.

The Cheyenne Church helped to provide meals and lodging for the families, and gave other support to the three-day event.

Church member Greg Allen has been involved with the Foundation since it was established in 2007. Among other members volunteering in November were Carolyn Ford, Linda Maddux, Dustin Batterton, Dwayne Roark, and Scott Ford. Greg Keith, pastor at Custer City/Independence, formerly at Cheyenne, also took part.

Slavin said a faith component is an important part of the retreat. "A key part of this experience always includes services on Sunday morning," he said. "We appreciate so much the Cheyenne Methodist Church for providing this great place to host this event."

Cheyenne UMC’s pastor, Wendell Hamon, said he treasured preaching to the young people.

Foundation partners include the Oklahoma Wildlife Department and corporate sponsors. Youths use special equipment. Landowners donate hunting spots and serve as guides.

Parent Kalaugha Sorrels of Pauls Valley said, "It is a wonderful experience for my son because it is a place where these special kids can go and be with other kids and know that others are sharing in a similar experience." The family has participated for several years.

— Contributed by Pat VerSteeg

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