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2021 Online Connection Events

What sessions
would you like to see? Tell us here.

Thank you to everyone who made our 2021 series a success. See our events for 2022 to find a way to continue inspiring, collaborating, and networking together.

Start a Walking or Running Club 

What does it take to start a walking or running club in West Virginia? How do you get folks out in your community? Come ask your questions and share your ideas on our next Online Connection event.

We will be joined by Active Southern West Virginia, a leader in organizing group exercise, to hear how they recruit and retain volunteers and participants. They have been hosting both youth and adult running and walking groups. We will also hear from Sherri James with the Kelly Miller Community Center who hosted a summer walking program in Harrison County this past year. Girls on the Run is also joining to talk about empowering young girls and community coaches.  And you'll hear from Dr. Mark Cucuzzella who organizes the Freedoms Run marathon, which also hosts a training program for youth and adults to get prepped for the run each year.

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Start a Walking or Running Club 

November 29th 11:00 

register to get the Zoom link!

These 2021 sessions have streamed. You can watch them now online!

After a year of pandemic, we all need to take care of our bodies and spirits. So some sessions are offered with self-care in mind, and others help build skills, knowledge base and/or network with other West Virginians.

  • January 7 / Instant Stress Busters. This session is for people who are getting frazzled by the pandemic - or know people who are. Aila Accad will provide practical, safe ways we can reduce our  body's stress level quickly.  Those same stress-reduction tools can help people of all ages. Presenter: Aila Accad, author of “Instant Stress Busters,” director of The Future of Nursing WV and frequent, much-loved Try This presenter.  Enjoy the video on YouTube 

  • January 18 / Martin Luther King Day. Organized by the Try This AmeriCorps members, this session honors the life and spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King through conversation with two outstandingWest Virginians: Delegate Danielle Walker (D-Monongalia) and former Delegate Sammi Brown (D-Berkeley).  The two guests talk about their goals and the interaction of race and health        care. The AmeriCorps members created a special Web site for the event.   Watch the video.

  • Eight essential moves: A foundation for Tai Chi. These practice things like eight essential movements of Tai Chi practice. Just doing these moves is calming, says Ron Wilkerson, the presenter. He will demonstrate each move three times, so you can move along with him, learning by doing. The presentation will be live, and, like all sessions, it will be recorded, so the recording will give you a way to learn tai chi basics in weeks ahead, without leaving your home. Presenter: Ron Wilkerson, tai chi master, was recently honored as Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. He has been a team member on three Try This minigrant projects involving teaching tai chi to at-risk youth. Check out the video on Facebook.


  • Take Some Stress Out of Your Grant Reporting. This session is for anybody who wants to make grant reporting more fun and creative.  Reporting can be incredibly stressful if you wait till the last minute to get started. That’s true no matter who gave you the grant. Grant reporting needs to be built in, information you’re gathering all along, celebrating little successes along the road. So when it’s time to file a report, you can put it together easily. Try This minigrant teams will be required to have people at this session,  (1/27-21) Presenters: Traci Jarrett and Leesa Prendergast evaluate many projects related to Try This for the WV Prevention Research Center.  Watch the video on YouTube.

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Kate Marshall the Never-Bored Board: Kids Leading Their Own Program.  (2/12/21) Kate Marshall and some Wheeling kids came up with the idea of The FunRaiser truck and its Never- Bored Board.  The truck drives to Ohio County neighborhoods with no playground, to unload games, toys, and people to stir up fun. Try This was its first funder.  A board of kids, with adult advisors, governs the project.  Kate and several child and youth board members will be on this session, talking about the FunRaiser and kid-governed / adult-advised projects. This session will inspire you. For more info about the FunRaiser: or 

Enjoy the video on YouTube here. 


Own Your Health!  !n other sessions, you'll hear about people's visions for their community. In Racheal Fetty's sessions, you'll work on your own health. Healthy leaders lead to healthy projects. Develop a vision of your own health and follow it!

Racheal is offering a series of four for up to 20 people who are just starting.  Plan to visit with her on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 for four weeks.  Rachael is a certified health and wellness coach who employs a holistic approach to nutrition, exercise and relationships, both with yourself and others."  (Feb. - March 21) Check her facebook page at RLFood​.


Mindful techniques to help kids de-stress and have fun, at home or at school. Two founders of Mindful WV, Amy Snodgrass and Pam Santer, will show you different activities that can be used during school or at home, to help de-stress the classroom atmosphere. This class could be really helpful to a parent or anyone who works with kids and wants to build self-control, focus and empathy. Presenters: Amy Snodgrass manages a drug recovery program, and Pam Santer directs the Wellness Center at WVU Parkersburg. Mindful WV began with a Try This minigrant and has already arranged  mindfulness training for more than 500 WV teachers.   (2/22/21)  Watch the video here on Facebook.


Paddling Brainstorm 1: How can we get more West Virginians out paddling safely? Paddlers Melanie Seiler, Evan Young and John Ciesla kick it off with an overview of what's happening, joined by Tomi Bergstrom of the Division of Environmental Protection and Zack Brown of the Division of Natural Resources. Let’s see what comes out of the conversation! This is an experiment.  John Ciesla is President of the Guardians of the West Fork. Melanie Seiler is an experienced whitewater guide who directs Active Southern WV; Evan Young owns Appalachian Boarding Company and works for Putnam Wellness/Healthy Alternatives.   (3/3/21)  Watch the video on YouTube.


Paddling Brainstorm 2: Following Up.  The first brainstorm was so successful, people asked for another one. This time, the presenters addressed the economic impact of paddling, river cleanup, signage, funding and mapping access points. They discussed the new Flatwater Trails Commission and the 15-county Mountaineer Trail Network and heard a profile of Point Pleasant paddling activities. Plans were made to crowdsource basic info: a statewide list of paddling groups and access points. (4/12/21) Presenters: Mary Wimmer, Morgantown Paddling; Terrill Ellis, Terrell Ellis Associates, Kevin Fooce, Mason County Yaks; Jake Fowler, WV Tourism; Amanda Pitzer, Friend of the Cheat; Tomi Bergstrom, Division of Environmental Protection. Watch the video on YouTube.

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Controlling or avoiding Type 2 Diabetes with a low-carb diet.  Participants called this session life-changing. Dr. Mark Cuccuzzella, MD, is an internationally-known expert on diabetes and diet. A professor in the WVU School of Medicine, he has presented dozens of workshops on this subject.  Barbara Micheal, MD, practices family medicine with Cabin Creek Health Systems in Clendenin, WV. Both report that they have seen remarkably positive results in controlling diabetes in patients who adopt a low-carb diet. Both say there are patients for whom this diet will not work, but a lot more for whom it works. Would it work for you or your loved one? Get informed!  (5/19/21)   Watch this session on YouTube.

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 Great resources for your healthy-food projects!  This session is packed with resources and ideas from on-the-ground experts from WV Food and Farm Coalition, WV Dept of Agriculture, Grow Appalachia, and Turnrow Farm Collective.  You'll get ideas about grants, small agriculture business, ag tourism, collaborating on markets, teaching people to grow home gardens, and more!  Presenters: Lacy Ferguson (Dept of Ag, Small Biz), Bea Sias (Grow Appalachia), Dina Hornblower (Turnrow Ag Collective) and Sierra Cox (WV Food and Farm)

Watch this session on YouTube!

Move your community's economic development in a healthy direction.  One way or another, development happens! So how can you help steer it in a healthy direction? Be ready to think about your community.  This is a great panel: Daniel Eades from WVU's Rural Development Team; Jenny Totten of the WV Community Development Hub; Gabriel Pena, Fayette County Resource Coordinator. They all give you inspiring ideas and WV examples, plus info you can use to build your case. 

Enjoy this session on YouTube anytime.

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Spooky Speed Networking

Have a passion for hauntingly healthy community projects? come join us on zoom for a ghoulishly good time meeting other healthy-community activists in WV! Try This WV will be hosting a 1-hour spooky speed networking event to help healthy-community activists, organizations and projects get connected across the state. Come in costume and share your passion for moving your community in a healthier direction through physical activity and healthy eating. Come ready to follow an important Try This rule: talk to strangers!

We were SO bummed out when COVID cancelled the August conference. But we've already streamed some conference sessions as online events. Planning others!

The sessions below are in the planning stages.
See what's coming up! Send us your ideas by taking this poll!

To be scheduled. Healthier Food Pantries.  People from several of West Virginia's outstanding pantries will tell what they do to improve the healthiness of offerings at their pantries and teach people how to prepare healthy meals with low-cost ingredients. One out of five West Virginians faces food insecurity. They depend on the state's wonderful network of pantries.  What can you do to increase the chances that your local pantry offers the healthiest food possible? You'll come away from this session with lots of ideas!  Presenters: Kayla Morris, THRIVE Food Pantry (Parkersburg); Carla Toolan, WVU Medicine East; More TBA


 Not yet scheduled. Danny Swan and Grow Ohio Valley.  In the early 2000's, an idealistic crew of young people was teaching inner-city kids how to make no-dig gardens. Grow Ohio Valley  has grown into a regional powerhouse with multiple sites and greenhouses, a full staff, traveling farmers markets, food justice projects, and a fulltime, under-roof farmers market and cafe in downtown Wheeling. In 2020, GrowOV led a team that earned Wheeling a national "Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge Award."  Now they're moving forward on their Edible Mountain project. How did all this happen? Danny  Swan will tell you. Danny Swan, Executive Director of GrowOV,  grew up near Wheeling. went to college there, and now is helping Wheeling grow.


Not yet scheduled.  Community Organizing 101 with Stephen Smith.  No matter what your goals or politics are, if you want to organize in your community, don't pass up a chance for this free workshop. Stephen will take you through a step by step process that will leave you with lots of good ideas about ways you could go about organizing a project in your own community. You'll think about team-building and financing and involving other people from all parts of the community - including groups you never thought of approaching!

This will be a 90-minute interactive session, so you'll have a chance to participate and brainstorm with others. 


To be scheduled.  Leveraging your funds: Turning $1 into $10.   A Try This minigrant is a great match for another grant or donation. It gives you standing to say, "Look what we got? Can you match it?" Or "Can   Not only can you do that, we encourage you to use your grant to leverage. The extent to which you use your grant to get more money is one measure of your success.  We'll have short presentations by some champion leveragers, then open to questions and discussion.


To be scheduled:  Attracting people to your farmers market.  A farmers market can become a community social center. Classes can be taught there, and 5Ks and other events can start and/or start there. Music and dancing! Drumming! We'll have brief presentations from people who've done a lot of this, then open the floor for trading ideas and questions

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To be scheduled: Physical activity as a tool for lowering risk of substance abuse. We'll hear from several West Virginians who work in substance abuse prevention programs who use physical activity as one of their primary tools. They use the entire body in treatment, rather than "treatment from the neck up."  

Other ideas on the table: 

* Biking brainstorm. Set up like the paddling brainstorms, but biking this time.

* Multi-county models: Active Southern WV and Greenbrier Valley Health Alliance

* Grantwriting 101

​* Make a small series of sessions on healthy food and PA as tools in lowering risk:

e.g. Medical / neurological reasons why physical activity is such a good tool


Want to vote on the unscheduled sessions? Got an idea for a session?
Fill out this poll or send your idea to

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