Spotlight on Miami Valley Bears & Leather Men Club

Miami-ValleyDAYTON, Ohio So we had the chance to sit down and talk with the leader of the Miami Valley Bears and Leather Men Club of Ohio, Dakota Valentine. This is one of the newest clubs but yet a very fast growing one in our state. So we wanted to know more about them. 

So thanks for agreeing to the interview, you started the Miami Valley Bears?

Yes myself, (Dakota Valentine) and my partner Dale Cox, but there has been many others have helped since then.

So tell everyone about how Miami Valley Bears and Leather Men got started.

Our group was founded last February of 2014. I was looking for a way to bring back social interaction to our area; I also wanted to unite the area not just Dayton but the region. I wanted to use our group to bring back integrity and respect and teach that we are not competitors but we should promote each other, to try to create a brotherhood of all groups in our region. Our motto is Growing together Strong; that means as we come together as brothers we are stronger, we promote each others groups, stand strong as a region.

We welcome all members and embrace diversity. We include leathermen bears, pups, cubs, and etc but we work with other groups in Cincinnati, Indy, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Lexington and Louisville. When we all see each other as brothers then we can stand strong as a region.

So what was the reason for starting such a club?

The leather community has suffered over the years, forgetting its roots, we are trying to remind every one what leather stands for.

My partner Dale and I have worked hard networking but had great feed back in fact other groups have adapted some of our ideas. I can’t tell you how great it feels to see shy quiet people become active to feel secure and a part of a group. Even our home bar Argos has changed since we started, people are more a family now. The stand and model or attitudes have dropped people talk to each other hug each other and talk to each other. To see that spread is such a great reward. Another aspect of our group is we listen to all ideas of members. We even suggest when people want to go out to eat or a movie just post on our wall that would like to meet.

Group photo of some of the members. (Photo via Ohio Leather & Bear News)

Group photo of some of the members. (Photo via Ohio Leather & Bear News)

Other than your bar nights and various parties, what other events have you done?

We did a great camp trip to Roseland resort in West Virginia last summer, we co-hosted some events that weekend with Three Rivers Leather club, and they are great guys. We do a lot of work with OLA (Ohio Leather Alliance) in Columbus and in February we are co-hosting an event with Scopius of Cincinnati. There is so much in this part of the country so many good people; it’s time we meet and make new friends. People are desperate for a place to belong. And if we can give them a home then it is worth all the work. We have had members of different groups come to our events we welcome that.

That sounds great, this is a great thing that you are doing.

Thank you, it’s a passion to me I see it changing the area and it excites me we can make a difference so many sit and say “I wish this would happen” or “I wish I could meet real friendly people”. We decided it was time some one tried to change things instead of just sitting and talking about it.

How many members do you have currently?

535

That is quite a bit, are they all from Ohio?

The majority is some are from across the US many lived here or come back on business and so its a way to keep in touch with home. We also have some members that are other groups and clubs.. We encourage them to post on our wall too to share events etc.

So how did you come up with the name? Most people hear Miami and think Florida, LOL.

This area is called the Miami Valley and we wanted to give bears and leather men both a home so we wanted to include both in the name the logo I designed to convey who and what we are. We didn’t want to say Dayton cause we wanted to include the region, which Miami Valley did.

So how can someone join?

All they have to do is ask. We do not ask for dues or anything like that to me its important any one can join. Its not about making money its giving people a home so they go to our page on face book or twitter and just ask to join its that simple.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MiamiValleyBears/ on twitter @ MVBLM and our group email is MiamiValleyBearsandLeatherMen@yahoo.com but our Facebook email can be used as well to contact us.

So what are the upcoming plans for the Group?

We are starting a ghost hunting group and are planning a elder rap session where older leather and gay members can rap with younger ones tell them there experiences etc. Currently we are trying to put together a regional pup night to help all the groups meet and also have a pup 101 to answer questions for those interested in learning.

Another thing we are trying to do is promote local events in our community; grass roots things. We are trying to get active in an area of town called Oregon District. It’s all local small business and craft beers places we want to be known. And to promote what makes our local area special.

Sounds like you have your hands full… or is it “paws” full?

Well my partner and I are leather men but we do have allot of pups and so we encourage that segment actually the whole pup culture is interesting and one that is growing fast.

Well was thinking of bear paws but…

Grin, that works too!

What else would you like to tell our readers?

That our group just wants our legacy to be we helped to bring the community together and hope to help other groups do the same and that we welcome anyone to our group and any group that would like to use us to network is welcome as well.

We would like to thank Dakota for his time and we wish him well with the club. Please take a moment to visit their website and join. They are doing a great thing in helping unite Ohio. Our paws are up and waving for you!

Article originally ran on Ohio Leather & Bear News