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Outdoor Ministry Coming to East Texas

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Grapeland Baptist Church to Host Kids Outdoor Zone for Boys 

By Jason Jones 

Messenger Reporter 

GRAPELAND – A new outdoor adventure-based program is on the horizon for young men ages 8-18 in East Texas.  

Wayne Stewart, pastor of Grapeland Baptist Church, is organizing and implementing a program called Kids Outdoor Zone (KOZ) which will offer mentoring for young men in an outdoor setting. Activities will include hunting, fishing, hiking and many other outdoor adventures. 

KOZ is a nationwide organization for boys, founded by TJ Greany, award winning outdoor travel and adventure writer, photographer, radio show host and past President of the Texas Outdoor Writers Association. 

Today, over 40% of the boys in our nation do not have a dad living at home. The lack of a male role model has created a dramatic increase in drug use, school drop-out, pregnancy, and more. The average kid also spends 40 minutes a week outside, 70 hours in front of a screen. This trend is creating an unhealthy mental, physical, and spiritual population among our boys today. It is at catastrophic levels. However, every socioeconomic, health, and mental statistic improves substantially when a boy receives a mentor.  

Stewart began the process of starting the ministry back in August and plans to begin meetings in January. “The heart of the ministry is to reach boys growing up in households where the father is not present.” said Stewart. “Statistically speaking, 71% of high school dropouts, 70% in juvenile detention and 80% of adult men in prison are from fatherless homes.” The program is aimed at providing Christian male mentorship for boys from households without a father present. 

The program, however, is open to boys of all backgrounds. All boys ages 8-18 are welcome to come and share in the outdoor adventures, God’s message and the friendships that come from the outdoor experiences. “Nobody will be turned away.” said Stewart. 

According to the KOZ website, kids who come to KOZ do not have to belong to the host church. As a matter of fact, they don’t have to go to church at all. It is not and should not be used as a recruitment tool for specific churches. Requiring KOZ kids to attend a specific church or any church is a violation of the KOZ guidelines. Obviously, the KOZ leaders would love to have them! 

Stewart says that the group will host a booth at the upcoming Peanut Festival on Saturday, October 23rd for interested boys and their families to learn a little more about what the program offers. 

For more information on the Kids Outdoor Zone program, contact Wayne Stewart at (936) 206-0090. You can also visit the KOZ website at www.kidsoutdoorzone.com 

Jason Jones may be reached via email at jjones@messenger-news.com 

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