Valley Avengers in search of new recruits

Photo Provided Top and Below: The Valley Avengers are looking for area teens interested in volunteering with the group.

BRIDGEPORT — The Valley Avengers, a group of local teens who aid in fundraising efforts and events, is looking to add more members to its team of superheroes and princesses.

Tom Wensyel, the group’s adult adviser who goes by “Mr. Stark,” said the Valley Avengers led by Spider-Man is looking to recruit area middle school and high school students ages 12-19 to fill openings on the squad.

Currently there are around 12 participants in the group with hopes of increasing that number to between 16 and 20.

“He (Spider-Man) wants to try and get members from every school district up and down the river,” Stark said, adding that they recently expanded to include middle school students, so long as they have parental permission to participate.

The group of superheroes is a charity organization that helps to raise money for a variety of programs and people in need. Members also participate in community events, where they work to spread cheer among youth. All the participants prefer to keep their identities a secret and strictly go by their portrayed characters’ names.

Costumes will be provided to volunteers; otherwise, the costume must be approved by the group, as members prefer to wear “movie quality” ensembles.

“You have to keep the illusion up for the kids,” he explained.

Characters portrayed include superheroes from both the Marvel and DC comics such as Batman, Batgirl and Ghost-Spider, as well as villains such as the Joker, Green Goblin and Mysterio.

Stark said they plan to purchase around six or more Spider-Man and Woman costumes from the upcoming movie “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” that is set to feature around 200 different Spider-Men and Women.

“We’re going to pick the most popular six or seven and buy those costumes, and we need people to fill the costumes. There may be a time when we have superheroes and princesses together — all of our princesses also do superheroes — so we’re definitely going to need more help,” he said.

Though the initial work is on a volunteer basis for community fundraisers and events, Stark said it could lead to paid work. He said the group receives requests for birthday parties and other paid functions where the character will be compensated for their appearance.

“Once you have so many volunteer hours, if a character you do for charity gets requested for a birthday party, the member actually gets paid for the party. It’s like a benefit or incentive for volunteer work,” he said.

Stark said the Valley Avengers is about to celebrate its fifth year in 2023 and members are planning to make a number of appearances. He said the group had its busiest year last year, and this year is looking just as busy.

“We are being inundated with requests to meet those with health challenges, terminally ill children and more,” he said, adding that is the group’s main goal, to help those in the community.

Anyone interested in joining the squad can contact the group through Spider-Man’s Facebook page at “Your Friendly Valley-Wide Spiderman” or by calling Stark at 740-219-0100.


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