Outdoor mentorship program teaches life skills


ROBERTSDALE — Kids Outdoor Zone, a hunting, fishing and outdoor adventure ministry for churches, has been going strong at the First Baptist Church in Robertsdale for the last three years.

“We started with seven boys and we’ve had as many as 32 on our roster,” said Ronnie Hall, who helped organize the program after seeing a booth set up at a Main Event Men’s Conference held at Dauphin Way Baptist Church.

Founded in Austin, Texas, by T.J. Greaney, the program is geared toward boys who do not have a father-figure present in their lives, Hall said.

“This program is more about teaching these young boys the right way to grow into men,” Hall said. “It’s about treating people the right way, being good neighbors and being good stewards.”

Hall said after attending the conference three years ago, he approached pastor Jeff Copeland about starting the program at the church.

“I knew this is something I wanted to be involved in, but I was looking for someone to run the program,” Hall said. “He said this was something that we should definitely do and he knew just the person to run it.”

They contacted another member of the church, Clyde Myrick, who agreed to run the program, which now meets monthly at various outdoor locations throughout the area.

The programs center around outdoor activities, including shooting, hunting, fishing camping, kayaking and archery.

Every year in December, the group hosts a “Give Back” program in which they give back to the community. This year, the group built bluebird houses, which were recently donated to be placed in Garrett Park in Robertsdale and Oscar Johnson Park in Silverhill.

Myrick and Hall, along with other volunteer men in the church, serve as mentors for the program, which averages about 15 to 20 boys each month.

“At the end of the day, which I believe is the most important part of the program, the boys are asked to fill out cards in which they are asked three things,” Myrick said. “They are asked if they have questions they need answered, they are asked if they have any prayer requests, and they are asked to share what they’ve learned from the day’s activities.

“We then take the cards, pray over them and respond if needed. They can put their name on it or it can be anonymous, but they all know they can come to any one of us if they need to talk or pray about something. I think it not only helps the boys, it challenges us as a group to be leaders, in our church and in our community.”

The program is non-profit and relies on donations, Hall said, both monetary and donations of having a place to host the programs. And just like everything else over the last year with the pandemic, donations for the program have been down.

At the end of 2020, Hall said, the program was about $2,000 short of what was needed to operate.

“We’ll come up with the money. I’m not worried about that,” he said. “I just want people to know that there is a need here and if they find it in their hearts to give, we’d really appreciate it.”

If you would like to learn more about KOZ, visit kidsoutdoorzone.com. You can learn more about the local program by visiting KOZ of FBC of Robertsdale on Facebook, call or text Myrick at 251-228-2901, email jubileehunter@gmail.com, or Hall, 251-601-1939, email ronniehall@icloud.com.