While the Johnstown Community Sportsman's Club Inc. is best known for its Labor Day weekend Swappers meet, the group also offers educational opportunities and events throughout the year.

While the Johnstown Community Sportsman's Club Inc. is best known for its Labor Day weekend Swappers meet, the group also offers educational opportunities and events throughout the year.

Club President Dave Maynard told The Independent the club's purpose is to benefit the community.

"There are less and less sporting clubs," he said. "We try to put back into the community."

There are about 150 members of the Johnstown Community Sportsman's Club -- many of them life members, Maynard said. The group currently boasts about 50 to 60 active members, with most residing within the Johnstown and Northridge school districts and the Newark area.

After tomorrow's (Monday) conclusion of the 64th annual Swappers weekend, the Sportsman's Club will host the eighth annual Northridge Invitational, a cross country meet, on Wednesday, Sept. 3, on the club's grounds.

"There's 10 to 12 schools that participate, and every kid who runs gets a medal," Maynard said.

After that, the club's next big event will be its annual "Community Fishing Day" from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5, at the club pond.

"The club will provide rods and bait during the event," Maynard said. "A contest will be held for kids to win poles and tackle. It's a community thing. That's what we're here for."

Fishing day is open to children and senior citizens, with the club also providing hot dogs and drinks.

Club treasurer Judy Whitehead said anyone is welcome to Hunter Education classes that will be free of charge in October. Participants must attend all three sessions, which will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 27 and 28 and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 30. Free classes are also held at the club every spring.

Bill Earlewine, club trustee, has been a member since November 1946. He served eight-year and six-year stints as club president.

"I first went on a fox drive, and the guys in the club invited me to join," he said. "I enjoy the fellowship the most."

This year, he said, three $1,000 scholarships were awarded by the club to local students.

"We also host the Women in the Outdoors. That's real interesting," he said. "They come out and enjoy themselves. I think it's the second Saturday in June. One year we had 161 ladies. It was the biggest one in Ohio. Last year we had 85 to 90."

The club also hosts turkey shoots in November, when members shoot at targets and winners receive a gift card to Kroger.

"We also have coyote drives in the winter -- in Appleton, Croton, Johnstown and Fredericktown," Earlewine said.

Coyotes have become a nuisance, according to Maynard. Coyote drives garnered about 15 last year, he added.

Earlewine, who lives on the club grounds, said Johnstown runs "one of the cleanest shows around," referring to Swappers weekend.

"We're having chainsaw carving this year--two or three are coming," he added.

The event drew about 35,000 in paid attendance last year, Maynard said.

Swappers begins at 8 a.m. today, Aug. 31, and Monday, Sept. 1. Coon dog water races begin each day at 12 noon.

Swappers is located on the club grounds, 7357 Sportsman Club Road, four miles east of Johnstown, off U.S. Route 62. Donation is $4 for adults. Children 12 and under are admitted for free.

The Johnstown Community Sportsman's Club meets at 7:30 p.m. on the third Monday of the month at the club grounds. New members are welcome.

For more information, visit www.swappersday.org.