Empower Youth

Words are powerful. Use your influence.


Words are powerful. Your words are powerful.

This week, Empower Youth has experienced the power of words. The power of words this week– the influence of others– gave us a mower to replace our personal mower that we brought to the farm on a work day (that was destroyed on said work day, it happens). The power of words this week– the influence of others– landed us the promise of 26 tons of gravel for the property for parking and drainage needs. The power of words this week– the influence of others– brought in two donations towards our administrative fund bringing the $50,000/year need to $34,400/year need. The power of words this week — the influence of others– has someone asking for a hay wagon from a neighbor for Empower Youth this week.

To run a program like Empower Youth, we need the good word of friends speaking on our behalf to folks we can help and folks who can help us.

So what can you say?

Say what Empower Youth has meant to you in your community.

Say how that one child in your class looks forward to Friday like it was his birthday because he comes home with a weekend food bag.

Say how you have seen a difference in the lives of the families that come to our community picnics in the park over the last three years.

Say how your child was able to go to camp for the first time.

Say how you have been mentoring one of the high school students on our behalf.

Say how you couldn’t believe how the students opened up in your class during one of the Empower Youth leadership classes.

Say how Empower Youth gave your child courage to work all summer and succeed.

Say how you came to tennis parking and you were blown away by the student volunteers.

Say, “I’d love you to talk with Scott and Lori Conley about what they are doing in southern Ohio. It will blow you away and I think we can do something meaningful for their organization.”

Who can you talk to?

Talk to your company. Because Pam and Scott believed in our program American Modern has sent groups to volunteer for parking, groups to pack food bags, groups to work on the farm– and American Modern is contributing this month to Empower Youth through their Women’s Day program.

Talk to your company. Because Scott talked to his company, for the second year in a row we will be giving all the kindergarten students in the schools we work with a brand new pillow, pillow case, and stuffed animal. Because he talked to his company, they sponsored a meal in the park for the second year in a row. Because he talked to his company, we have packing tables.

Talk to your company. Because John talked to his board, we have a 15.25 acre ranch. Because John talked to his board, we receive quarterly contributions from them personally towards our administrative budget. His team packs regularly and even created opportunities for us to talk about what we do!

Talk to your company. Because Jeff talked to his company, we have a monthly donation towards our administrative budget and they have sponsored a picnic two years in a row.

Talk to your company. Because Melanie talked to her company, they packed for us twice, helped sponsor a picnic, and painted the inside of our packing barn.

Talk to your company. Because Mike talked to his neighboring company store, Lowes in Beechmont and Milford both helped renovate our packing barn. And because Mike kept talking, they went above and beyond anyone could imagine.

Talk to your company. Because Steve talked to his company, we have a custom restaurant equipment for our packing barn as well as for the picnic in the park next year.

Talk to your neighbor. Because Ken talked to his neighbor, we are getting 26 tons of gravel.

Talk to your church family. Because Ivan talked to his church, we received a large one time gift to help us through this week.

Talk to your church family. Because Sharee talked to her church family, we now have a packing team that loves to help us when we are in a pinch…and for the second year in a row they helped with our picnics in the park.

Talk to your Momma. Because Dale talked to his Momma, she gave us the nearly new mower we needed to replace our broken one.

Talk to your sister-in-law. Because James talked to Maggie, we have the most perfect shade of peach you have ever seen on our packing barn!

Talk to your son. Because Ruth talked to her son, a bulldozer cleared our property.

Talk to your family. Because son talked to his Mom and then Mom talked to all the kids, we have a trailer that we take to the park with supplies all summer long.

Talk to your workout buddies. Now we can’t exactly, follow this one down to who talked to who but because someone talked to someone, Anchor Fitness is a collection zone for our weekend food bag food and they have been to pack for us.

Talk to your rotary club. Because Heather talked to someone in rotary, we have been able to speak at two clubs and we’ve heard rumor there is a project day coming.

What do you ask for?

If your company, church, or organization has the interest and has reached a success level that they want to do more, ask them to be a core $1000/month sponsor and contribute to our administrative budget. This budget is new this year because we now have a full time director that receives no pay til there is money in the admin fund.

Perhaps, they just love kids and they want to reach the poorest of the poor. Ask them to help us start up the bags in Lynchburg schools. Ask them to sponsor 10 students a month for $150/month. With a need of $9000 a month to feed 600 students, this program really needs a financial boost.

If your Momma gets all choked up when she hears you talk about the children of Appalachia Ohio, ask her to sponsor a child or to donate 5 cans of ravioli every time she goes shopping.

Ask them to come pack weekend food bags and bring some ravioli.

Ask them for a car. Seriously. If your uncle has a car that’s just sitting there, ask him to donate it to Empower Youth. We will either sell it or modify it to be used for teaching students driver’s education.

Ask for the moon. Ask for a meeting with the president of Community Relations. Ask for an offering. Ask for an audience with the outreach team. Ask them to come to the ribbon cutting on October 27 to see what we are doing.

But please, ask.


What do you do if they already sponsor Empower Youth?

Thank them! Cry a little. Let them know you love to be with people who love what you love. And please, tell them not to stop! 🙂

Empower Youth Ribbon Cutting

EY ribbon cutting

The EY Ranch Ribbon Cutting

Our ribbon cutting for the EY Ranch will be October 27 at 3:30pm! Mark it on your calendar to attend. In case you’ve missed our progress, check out a little about our property below and then come for a great celebration on October 27.

We have a real address! Due to the overwhelming gift from Community Savings Bank, in April 2017, Empower Youth Ranch came into being and our work found a home. The ranch is a work in progress and we are thrilled to say it is progressing FAST!


Here are some of the plans for the ranch:



The beginning clean out of the packing barn… May 2017

Peachie’s Place, a packing barn for all our weekend food bags and an area to store frozen food for our Summer picnics. This project has had many hands to bring it to useability: Lowe’s, Sardinia Concrete, KangaRoof, RiverHills Church, Connect Church, and Loveland Christian Church are just few of the heavy hitters involved in this project.


The first packing in the almost completed barn!- September 2017



The packing barn gets her name– Peachie’s Place. This is named after a long time advocate for students in Clermont County, Peachie Glassmeyer who passed away in February  2017.









Long Barn… not even started… but getting the supplies on hand!

The Long Barn, not an official name but definitely a place that has potential. Our goals include changing barn abused as a garage into a grand hall to host community groups, receptions, poverty education and service learning workshops, as well as a few “Pay-What-You-Feel” cafe nights.  Thanks to very benevolent couple in Clermont County we already have half of the insulation for this remodel as well as knotty pine ordered for the interior.




The Art Barn, as it is called today, is the home of our current art program. We were blessed with addition of Master Artists from the Parsons School of Design in New York coming to take residence in Bethel specifically to pour their talent into the culture and children of Bethel. Their goal is to not do art for art’s sake but to do art as a way to connect students to the history and culture of our once farming town. It really is a perfect match. Our artists will be working with us for one year. You can read more about their work on their blog Soil Series.





Long Barn Project Manager: Natalie Powers

The Horse barn, is our last standing structure in the barn yard and along with the Long Barn has much potential. Our project manager, Natalie Powers, is a junior at Bethel High School and is in charge of bringing life into these neglected bones. Our biggest goal was just cleaning it up and repairing from years of abuse. The newest structure built in 2010, has definitely seen better days but with the help from many different work teams it is coming together. We hope to board a couple of goats, some chickens, and some 4-H projects, but there is still much dreaming to do for this structure.


The tearing down of the old barn… When we arrived on the ranch for the first time, we loved this old barn because of her character. But it wasn’t too long until we realized she was just too old and dangerous to leave standing and unfortunately the work to keep her going would have been to costly for our group. We are thankful to the many groups that came in to help tear her down piece by piece. Her first lean-to went to scrap when the Miami Valley Christian Academy showed up on a work day and the rest of her was laid to rest after a week of Junior High Discipleship Camp from Woodland Lakes made us their work project.


This article will be updated often! Check back 🙂

EY site update coming…

We have so much to share, please check back for an update to all we are doing this Fall.

Here are just a few things to nibble on:

  • Lori Conley is now full time with Empower Youth. She and her husband Scott will be concentrating on building relationships with those we serve as well as those who serve with us. Please help us raise an admin budget to support them. Currently they are making this leap with only Scott’s income.
  • Our first weekend food bags roll out next week! Our first packing for the season is Sunday.
  • The ranch doesn’t even look like the same place and it’s less than 6 months since we received it as a donation from Community Savings Bank.
  • Lowe’s has nearly finished Peachie’s Place, our packing barn. It’s beautiful!
  • Over 1199 volunteer hours were sacrificially given to park cars at the ATP Western Southern Open to help us send more than 100 students to camp!
  • Our Soil Series art classes for the Fall start this Saturday. They will run every Saturday from 10a-1p with guided art projects and continue til 6p with open art hours in our newly renovated art barn.



Help us put smiles on children’s faces this fall. Donate at  https://empoweryouth.me/donate-now/ or volunteer with us! Sign your group up to volunteer at volunteer.empoweryouth.gmail.com


Community Studio

ey artistsCommunity Studio

When Francesca, Hillary, and Matt, contacted EY earlier this year, we truly had no idea what it would look like to host these amazing artists at the ranch.  Boy, have we been blown away by their work ethic, their amazing talent, and their spirit! They are offering studio labs starting this week for all ages. Stop by for one of the experiences below.

This is a snippet from their web page. You can find out more about them and their goals by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.


Community Studio is a free art program for all ages held in our Studio/Lab at the Empower Youth Ranch.

As part of SOIL SERIES: A Social Drawing, we wanted to build a safe space for new ideas in the heart of Bethel, and our Community Studios offer a dedicated time and place for creativity. Led by the artists of SOIL SERIES together with a team of Empower Youth interns, Community Studios invite participants to broaden their definition of art and follow new pathways toward creating.

We are very excited to announce our summer schedule! If you or your child would like to participate, please contact us at soilseriesbethel@gmail.com.


COMMUNITY STUDIO: DRAWING – Led by Francesca Fiore and Hillary Wagner

Mondays starting July 17th from 10 am – 12 pm

  • What is a drawing? In COMMUNITY STUDIO: DRAWING we will consider this question as we discover new materials and methods for making drawings. All ages are welcome! No experience required!


COMMUNITY STUDIO: “A Million Ways to Make a Poem” – Led by Matthew Kosinski

Tuesdays starting July 18th from 6 pm – 7:30 pm (no workshop July 25th)

  • Explore the many possibilities for poetry with poet Matthew Kosinski! Each session will focus on a new way of thinking about poetry. *Ages 13 and up* No experience required!



Wednesdays starting July 19th 10 am – 12 pm

  • Do you love to make things with your hands? Experience the physical side of artmaking with sculptor Hillary Wagner. All ages are welcome! No experience required! 


COMMUNITY STUDIO: OPEN STUDIOS – Thursdays starting July 20th 10 am – 6 pm

  • Bring your ideas and your imagination with you to the EY Ranch on Thursdays. Francesca and Hillary will be there every Thursday to help bring your projects to life. Just want to chat about art? That’s fine too! All are welcome! 


Want the full scoop check out: https://soilseriesbethel.wordpress.com

Big News!

We’ve come a long way!!! In 2015, our first picnic in the park had more volunteers than we had “pick-nickers”! We served 3000 meals that summer. Last year, we served 4000 summer meals. 1 meal = 1 connection. 4000 meals = 4000 connections = community!

We believe in community! We believe community changes lives. Our hearts cannot contain the news– our executive directors, Lori and Scott Conley are now raising an administrative budget to become our full-time leadership! Lori recently resigned from her position as Children’s Minister at Community Christian Church in order to devote all her focus to EY and her family. The money for this endeavor is not in our current budget. We have always prided ourselves on a low to no overhead cost; however, we are growing and in order to expand our weekend food bag program and be more present in our locals schools through leadership training, we are now raising funds specifically for Scott and Lori’s salary in addition to our regular programming funds. As Lori and Scott raise the funds for their salary and prepare to move on our EY Ranch campus, we ask that you continue to share their story with new folks. They would love to come to your company, organization, church, or group and share their vision. Send Lori an email at toempoweryouth@gmail.com to schedule a time with her and Scott.

If you have never heard them speak, check out the video below to just get a taste of their passion for the work. Right now Lori and Scott are both running between camps and college visits and wrapping up a beautiful ministry at Community Christian Church but when they get a breather, you will hear more from them.



It’s Picnic Time!

logo for picnicsAll of our picnics are sponsored!

All the entertainment is booked!

We are ready to connect with our community!

Empower Youth began in a very simple way… June, July, and August of 2015 we just wanted to get to know our friends a little better. We hosted picnics every Wednesday and we met so many wonderful folks. Now in our third year, this will be the best yet.

Our Entertainment this year is leaning towards a younger side: In June we have hometown girl Anna Weigand and the Joe Tellman Band. We will also have Santorelli Dance Studios and Universal Karate Academy doing live demonstrations. Of course, the young at heart, Mark and Kami Owen will round out this incredible month. In July, our bands will be Over The Years with Kyle Henline, the B-Sides, Brent Hensley, and the dynamic girls group Meridian. In August, we are proud to bring back the Santorelli Dance team again. We are thrilled to have local artists The Patricks and Steve and Dona Fultz join us.  Throughout the summer we will have craft tables for kids, Girl Scouts will be in full force, the library will be coming up with surprises– and much more!

We couldn’t do this without amazing picnic sponsors. We’ve come a long way from 2015 when we made most of the food ourselves in a little church kitchen. We fed 3000 meals that year. Last year we topped off around 4000 meals and we are sure to beat that this year.

Our food sponsors this year include: Elite Biomedical, Community Savings Bank, Community Christian Church, The Coming Storm, Bethel Business Association, Hydro Systems, Multi-Color Corporation, The Bethel Lion’s Club, and The Bethel United Methodist Church.

There’s always room for more folks to join us– we would love to add funnel cakes and moonbounces… and throw in some really crazy stuff like the flying pancake man.  If your organization would like to sponsor a little something special above what we already have on the books– please contact Lori Conley at 614-506-3694 or email at toempoweryouth@gmail.com.

Want to check out our June line up?

june picnic poster

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