About Marisa Hills

Mid Ohio Atheists Inc. Vice President, Board Member, and Event Coordinator.

Announcing the 2015 Picnic & Fundraiser

Our group is proud to announce the 7th Annual Regional Atheist Picnic & Fundraiser 2015, sponsored by Mid Ohio Atheists Inc. We are inviting groups from all over Ohio and surrounding areas to our annual get together at South Park inMansfield, Ohio. The general public is also invited to come and meet us, as long as they are respectful and do not try to proselytize to us. This year the picnic will be held on Sunday, July 19th, 2015 starting at 12:00 pm.

This is a new location for the picnic, and we are happy to have this gathering in our home town! South Park is located at 100 Brinkerhoff Ave, Mansfield, Ohio.

Contest

We again are happy to help two local charities with our donation drive contest, Harmony House (a local homeless shelter) and the Humane Society of Richland County. The contest is slightly different this year based on the needs of each charity. All items donated for Harmony House and Humane Society will be included in the contest. Harmony House is in need of non-perishable/canned food items and all hygiene items (soap, shampoo, deodorant, razors, toilet paper, feminine items, toothpaste/toothbrushes, etc). Items for Humane Society most needed are Dry/Wet Dog or Cat Food, Clay (non clumping) Cat Litter), Canned Pure Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), Dog/Cat Treats, and Paper Towels. These items are what is most needed by these locations and what they run low on the most. Other items outside of these can be donated. Whoever donates the most of these items will win the Grand Prize. We will also have a second prize for the runner up. We encourage everyone to bring something to one or both of these great organizations! Even if you don’t want to participate in the contest, all donations are important to these organization. Please make sure you check in your donations if you want to enter the contest. GRAND PRIZE: Basic Family Pass to the Center of Science & Industry (COSI).

Fundraiser

This year we will once again have a Raffle for some great items. Gift cards, books signed by the authors, kids items, and a few special surprises. We are truly excited about the various items and look forward to announcing the winners. There will also be a 50/50 Drawing this year. We have new merchandise items for purchase. Newly designed t-shirts, pens, key chains, and a few new items to help support MOA. All money raised goes to Mid Ohio Atheists Inc general fund to help us to continue with our community involvement and to help us to educate about secular rights in our area. Membership forms will also be available so you can become more involved with MOA as a voting member and involvement in our future events. Cash & Credit Card will be accepted.

Speakers

Once again we have 2 special guest speakers:

Christina McDuffie- Co-chair for Secular Coalition for Ohio, Event coordinator for Columbus Coalition of Reason (COR) and co-organizer and steering committee member for Central Ohio United Non-Theists (COUNT), will discuss Community Volunteerism, COUNT’s upcoming award from Foundation Beyond Belief for their volunteer efforts, and giving groups ideas of how they can be more involved in the betterment of their communities through volunteer projects.

Jennifer Lovejoy- Affiliate Services Manager for Atheist Alliance of America and host of Atheist Avengers podcast, will share with us “Cinched in the Bible Belt: An Atheist Mom’s Journey”and will have a Q & A session afterwards.

Fantastic Food

This year MOA will be providing the food items for the picnic. In lieu of bringing items we are asking for a suggested $5.00 donation per adult. Menu will be posted on our website soon, and will include some vegetarian items as well. Other items anyone would like to share are welcome, but not required.

Conversation & Community

The main reason to attend the picnic is for the company. We hope to see all of our members and guests from all around the state and beyond. It’s great to talk and interact with the ever growing secular community. Share ideas, catch up with old friends, and make some new ones. This event is a showcase of like-minded individuals who care about their local community, as well as educating others about secular viewpoints. You can RSVP on our social media pages below. Please share the event with others and work out car pools to help others who would like to attend. Any questions, please feel free to email Marisa Hills at marisa@midohioatheists.org See you all in July!

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Meetup.com

 

Awesome August Events

MOA ended July on a great note with another successful regional picnic and a great event where we spoke with Dennis Penaluna, president of Nottingham Secular Society, via Skype. Visit Nottingham Secular Society for more information about Dennis and all his group’s hard work on separation of church and state issues in their area. We also received some great news to top off our July. Our letter from the IRS arrived, and we are now officially a 501(c)(3) charity organization. All donations given to Mid Ohio Atheists Inc. are tax deductible as allowed by law.

groupdiscussion1 2014picnics16

August is already shaping up to be a fun and busy month for us and we have some great events planned. We already started off on August 2nd with our Atheists in the Pub event. We tried out a new location, The Phoenix Brewing Company, to change up the venue a bit. Thanks to everyone who attended. Our next one is scheduled for September 6th. Click here for more details.

 

Upcoming Events:

 

 August 9th 8:00AM     Adopt A Highway Cleanup

 

August 9th 6:00PM      Atheists Around the Fire & Celebration

 

August 17th 11:00AM  Monthly Board Meeting & Recycling Drive

 

August 17th 2:00PM      Canoe/Rafting Trip to Mohican

 

August 28th 11:00AM Involvement & Community Fair(NC State/OSU Campus)

 

For other event info join us on Meetup.com and Facebook.

Picnic Perfection: Mid Ohio brought their “A” game in 2014.

2014MOAgroup

On Sunday, July 20, 2014, we once again gathered for our annual Regional Atheist Picnic. We met at the beautiful Mohican State Forest North Park Shelter, where festivities kicked off at noon. The weather was perfect for us once again this year, with no rain and sun all day for everyone to enjoy all the day’s planned events.

We had 55 attendees this year, plus a German Shepard and an African Grey parrot! Our friends traveled from as near as the Mansfield and Ashland area to as far as the Cleveland and Columbus areas. We are always thankful for such support that everyone comes back year after year.

Once again, our charity drive was another success! This year we had two great charities that people could donate to, Harmony House, a local homeless shelter, and The Humane Society of Richland County. Overall, we collected over $400 in donations between the two charities! Each location was very appreciative of the donations received, so “Thank You” to everyone who donated to such worthy causes. Grand prize this year for the donation drive contest was a $30 gift certificate to the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, OH and a $20 gas card.

Since it was so successful last year, we again invited a few guest speakers to join us and talk about life in atheism. Mark and Marni Tiborsky and Sam Salerno, from the Cleveland area based Northern Ohio Freethought Society, a Freedom From Religion Foundation chapter, spoke first. They filled us in about the recent billboard campaign in the Cleveland/Akron area their organization was able to do with the help of their FFRF affiliation, their member’s donations, and a lot of hard work. They also went on to tell us about the media coverage and public reaction both in person and on social media outlets. Was it worth it? Yes, according to them. They were able to convey to the public at large positive messages and most importantly show people in everyday neighborhoods in their community that freethinkers are there, they are positive, wonderful people, and are just normal everyday folks, just like everyone else. They put up 11 billboards in all during this month long campaign.

Our second speaker this year was JT Eberhard.  JT is a writer, gay rights activist, and co-founder of Skepticon.  JT wanted to share with us his take on how to debate common religious arguments against atheism,  using plain English. He had some very insightful views about how we as atheists can get our views across without having to have a doctorate of some type or to constantly be trying to remember stats and numbers. Using logical and reasonable arguments, a few jokes, and a tad bit of slight of hand magic, JT really got his point across. He really had the crowd engaged with his talk and laughing with his Ken Ham jokes and his ongoing fight with technology during his speech. We all really enjoyed our speakers and thank them for taking the time to spend the day with us and share their experiences with everyone this year.

As an added bonus, our friend Frank Zindler  had a special treat in store for us. He brought a comical video to share of an interview he had worked on that will be showing on the upcoming launch of the Atheist TV channel, set to start on July 29, 2014 on Roku. The crowd really seemed to enjoy the sneak peek offering and hearing from Frank.

This year, as a way to thank all of our friends, who attended, we had a ton of raffle prizes to give out throughout the day. Numerous atheist related books, gift cards to restaurants, t-shirts, and a 19” LCD flat screen TV were handed out this year to the lucky winners. We appreciate everyone who donated items to us to be able to do this, and hope that we can do it again next year.

This event takes a lot of hard work from a lot of dedicated people to be so successful year after year. Why do we do it? We do it for our community. We want to show people that we are here. If people are either questioning their beliefs or are non-believers already and feel stuck thinking nobody around is like them, they are not alone. Those are the people we are trying to reach out to, and get the word out to, to know that there is a haven (not heaven) and they are accepted for what they think, feel, and see as reasonable knowledge in front of them to be true. Atheism really is about promoting a personal relationship with reality and not being afraid to think. Whatever you call it, atheism, humanism, freethought, skepticism, or all of the above, its all around us and people will slowly start coming out of their closets, standing up from the church pews, and finally start looking for a places were they can talk about science and reason instead of fairy tales. When they are ready, Mid Ohio Atheists Inc, will be there. Until then , you will see us on I-71 picking up trash for Adopt A Highway, collecting food and supplies for Harmony House and The Humane Society of Richland County, having a beer at a local pub and discussing separation of church and state issues, and meeting once a year in a forest with awesome people from all over Ohio for some great food and even better conversations.

~ Marisa Hills, MOA Vice President

 

2014 Picnic Food List

Our annual picnic will be held on July 20, 2014 starting at 12:00 PM at the Mohican State Forest.  We will be meeting at the North Park Shelter.

We ask that everyone bring a dish to share. Below is a suggested food list. Please let us know what you can bring. We anticipate 70 to 80 people will attend throughout the day. You DO NOT have to bring enough to feed this number, just please let us know an approx number (i.e. 2 bags of chips, 4 packs of buns, 1 large watermelon, etc.) so we can update our numbers and we have enough food for everyone.

The list below is just suggested for those unsure of what might be needed, but we welcome anything you would like to share.

Please email us at picnic2014@midohioatheists.org with your items you intend to bring. It’s a picnic! Have fun and enjoy and we look forward to seeing you there! 🙂

  • Hamburger Patties
  • Hot Dogs
  • Bratwursts
  • Veggie Patties
  • Hamburger Buns
  • Hot Dog Buns
  • Potato Salad
  • Pasta Salad
  • Cole Slaw
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Baked Beans
  • Watermelon
  • Fruit Salad
  • Garden Salad
  • Potato Chips
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Pies/Desserts
  • Dips
  • Hummus
  • Cheese Slices
  • Sliced Onion (for burgers)
  • Sliced Tomatoes (for burgers)
  • Veggie Platter
  • Pickles
  • Condiments (Mustard, Ketchup, Mayo, Relish)
  • Bottled Water
  • Pop
  • Tea/Sweet Tea
  • Lemonade/Punch
  • Juice
  • Ice
  • Charcoal/Lighter Fluid

We hope to see you there!

2014 Mid Ohio Atheists Regional Picnic Announced

Our group is proud to announce the Mid Ohio Atheists Regional Picnic 2014, sponsored by Mid Ohio Atheists Inc. We are inviting groups from all over Ohio and surrounding areas to our annual get together at the Mohican State Forest. The general public is also invited to come out and meet us, as long as they are respectful and do not try to proselytize to us.

This year the picnic will be held on Sunday, July 20th, starting at 12:00 pm.  We have met at the Mohican State Forest before and had a great experience each time. This year we will meet at the North Park Shelter once again. Once you are in the forest, follow the signs to the shelter. There will also be a map available soon as well. You will want to use the St. Rt. 97 entrance to access the park for the event. Detailed directions will be available, as GPS is not always accurate in forest locations. The accurate coordinates for the location are (40.614548N 82.312439W), if you put that in GPS you will find it without much issue. The physical address always gives GPS issues due to county numbering of roads.

The picnic will be held rain or shine since we have a nice covered shelter, so please don’t let that stop you from attending.

Contest
This year we are happy to announce 2 charities we are involved with for our donation drive contest. Harmony House(a local homeless shelter) and the Humane Society of Richland County. The items that qualify for the contest for each charity are as follows: Harmony House: Toilet Paper, Trash Bags, Paper Towels, and Laundry Detergent and the Humane Society: Dry/Wet Dog or Cat Food, Clay (non clumping) Cat Litter, Canned Pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), and Paper Towels. These items are what is most needed by these charities or what they run low on the most. Other items outside of these can be donated, but these item only count towards the contest. A full list will be available of items they accept. Whoever donates the most of these items will win the Grand Prize. We will also have a second prize for the runner up. We encourage everyone to bring items to one or both of these great organizations! Please make sure you check in your donations when you arrive (there will be signs). GRAND PRIZE: 2 Tickets to Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio and $20 Gas Card.

Prizes
To say “Thanks!” this year we will have some fun raffle prizes. Please make sure you check in when you get to the event and get your raffle ticket for the random prize drawings. We will also have a kids “prize pack” as well so they will have their own chance at some kid type goodies to take home with them. This is just small way for us to show our appreciation to our friends who support us by coming to visit us each year, volunteer at our events, or support our many different educational and social endeavors we undertake.

Games & Activities
This year we have made an effort to make this event more kid friendly. We hope everyone brings their children so we have plenty of kids for the activities Meri and Tiffany have planned for the event. There are plans for a Scavenger Hunt, Marshmallow Toss (who’s not up for that?) and a Watermelon Eating Contest…(who wouldn’t want to take some photos of that!? We will have goodies and prizes for the kids so its a fun day for them to meet new people and have a fun day as well. :)

Speakers
This year we are happy to invite a few speakers to join us for some entertaining and educational insight on life as an atheist:

Mark & Marni Tiborsky– from Northern Ohio Freethought Society, a chapter of Freedom From Religion Foundation, will speak about their groups recent experience with the billboard campaign in Northern Ohio, pros and cons of media coverage, and being “out” as an atheist in the community.

JT EberhardWriter and public speaker on atheism, gay rights, and other topics, over 2 yrs with Student Secular Alliance as the first high school organizer, and co-founder of Skepticon. JT will give us his insight on “How to beat the most popular arguments for god’s existence in plain English.”

Fantastic Food
What would a picnic be without good food? We estimate we will have about 80 people in attendance this year. We will have a suggested food list posted on the website, but any items are welcome that you would like to share. The list of items will be updated as we receive emails and commitments from people volunteering items. Please send a quick email to picnic2014@midohioatheists.org to let us know what you intend to bring. You don’t have to bring enough to feed the total number we anticipate, just let us know the amount you can bring so we can update our numbers. Visit our website for a list of ideas of what to bring.

Good Conversation
The main reason to go to the picnic is for the company. We hope to see all of our members there and people from all around the state and beyond. It’s great to talk with like minded people and so refreshing to have conversations that aren’t stuck at the ‘does god exist’ level.

Public Invited
We also invite the members of the general public who wish to meet atheists. This is not an invitation to have people come out and proselytize to us but rather a chance to meet with atheists and learn more about our beliefs and see that we are normal people too.

We hope to see everyone make it out this year again. We had a great time last year and really look forward to seeing our friends each year and meeting new people every year as well. Please share the event with others and work out car pools if possible to get those to the event that would like to attend. Any questions, please feel free to email Marisa Hills at marisa@midohioatheists.org

We will see everyone soon!