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Smiles and sunshine at the Scioto County DD Summer Cookout
Scioto County Developmental Disabilities kicked off the start of summer with its annual SCDD Summer Cookout, which was held this year at Earl Thomas Conley Park in West Portsmouth, on June 21, 2023.

The cookout was divided into two parts beginning with the adult day and summer school programs in the morning, and families and providers invited in the afternoon. Families, providers, and employees gathered throughout the day to enjoy good music, good food, lots of fun inflatable activities, and plenty of good company.

“School ended about a month ago, so this is our kickoff to summer for all of our departments. It’s a nice break for everyone to get together and have a nice time,” said Erica Wallace, director of Early Childhood Services at SCDD. “This is actually larger than last year. We’ve added our Early Intervention families this year, and we’re very excited to see them coming out and having a good time together. The Summer Cookout also allows our staff to mingle, because we have two buildings and we don’t get to mingle with each other very often.”

While hot dogs were grilled in the sun, Ollie’s Burgers and BBQ provided additional catering and Sunset Slush of Portsmouth, Ohio helped keep people cool with their famous Italian shaved ice. Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Franklin Furnace donated sodas and juice and the staff of SCDD provided buns, chips, desserts, and tableware. “Everybody who is associated with Scioto DD is welcome today. We have our 3 largest day program agencies here such as SRS Our Place, STAR, Inc., and Easter Seals; and our VRS summer program students are here,” said SCDD Outreach Coordinator Theresa Rowland.

Kelly Johnson brought her son Brendon out to enjoy the event. She said she loved having an opportunity to get together with all of the individuals from SCDD. Brendon was enjoying the music and food, Kelly said.

“SCDD has assisted us a lot throughout the years. It’s a really good program,” Johnson said.

Linda Frazier, a caregiver for individuals with developmental disabilities attended the Summer Cookout and said she was happy to see old friends again.

“I can’t believe what our county board has done for our population. It always amazes me. The thought and work that goes into this is unbelievable. When you’ve got people with good intentions, it all works out,” Frazier said.

Last year’s cookout was held on the hot parking lot of the Vern Riffe School, so this year’s event was moved to the comfortable shade of the big shelter house at Earl Thomas Conley Park. Rain had fallen all week before the event and was predicted to continue and wash out the cookout, but the clouds parted and the sun came out to play and give everyone a bright and happy time.

“We love to see those we serve interacting with each other and enjoying the summer season,” Rowland said.

For more information about the programs and services at Scioto County Developmental Disabilities, call 740-353-0636 or visit online at, and like and follow them on Facebook and TikTok.