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NWTF Jakes event a success

By By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
Oct. 24, 2003
This past weekend the Okatibbee Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation sponsored a JAKES event in conjunction with the Choctaw Area Council's Fall Jamboree at Chunky. (JAKES stands for juniors achieving knowledge, education and sportsmanship.) According to event Director Gary Barber, and all those in attendance, the event was a resounding success.
Barber was quick to acknowledge the many sponsors and volunteers that helped make the event a success for the children. "Without the conservation officers, and other volunteers, we wouldn't have been able to put this event on," stated Barber. "For the conservation officers to come and give up their time for this event and then go back to their respective areas to check on the opening day squirrel hunters is just phenomenal. I just can't say enough about the sacrifices that Bobby Wilder and the other Conservation Officers went through to be a part of this event," continued Barber.
Although the Boy Scouts arrived at the farm Friday afternoon, the JAKES event started bright and early Saturday morning. This event brought together many different types of children of all races and backgrounds, with astounding results. In fact, during the seminars and events of the day, not a cross word or poor attitude was to be found. The jamboree was organized with the intent of teaching the boys leadership qualities as well as introducing many of them to the outdoors for the first time.
While the event will hopefully help light a spark that will eventually spur many of the scouts into becoming leaders in the community and outdoors, it was at the very least a showcase of how people can get along and what can be accomplished in the spirit of cooperation. "Although we hope to have a positive impact on many of the youngsters, if only one of those goes on to become a leader in our community, then it will all have been worth it," stated Barber emphatically.
Seminars
Seminars were held on duck, turkey and archery hunting. Local duck hunters and Delta Waterfowl members Greg Heblon, Paul James, Steve McRae and Steve Winstead held duck calling and informational seminars this year. James also directed duck retrieval demonstrations with the help of a top-notch dog. In addition to conducting the seminar, Delta Waterfowl also donated shotgun shells and rifle cartridges for the rifle and skeet shoots.
Tony Creel was on hand demonstrating archery basics while also giving the scouts a chance to shoot the bows. Bob Martin of Martin Game Calls was also on hand once again and demonstrated the different types of turkey calls and instructed students on the finer points of safety and calling. In fact, he also awarded Dakota Anderson a turkey slate call, due to his remembrance of general safety aspects taught during last years' seminar. Many of the scouts enjoyed calling on hand made turkey calls for the first time.
There were shooting events with the .22 rifle, 20 gauge shotgun and skeet shooting – as well as a casting for accuracy contest. Metro ambulance conducted an important firearms and hunter safety seminar dealing in safety and what to do to administer first aid to victims in the woods. John Williams and Shawn Ribbla were instrumental in developing these seminars, which gave advice on snakes, showed blown up shotgun barrels, and how to make splints out of sticks and whatever could be found in the woods.
Wrapping up
Once the seminars were over on Saturday, most of the scouts got together and played games and interacted with each other much like old friends. The day culminated in a campfire ceremony where everyone participated and a few were awarded prizes or recognition for their accomplishments during the day. After the ceremony was over it was truly a sight to behold as all of the scouts spread out under the star-studded skies and sat around glowing campfires.
Sunday morning broke anew with troop number 60, a troop comprised of Native American Choctaw scouts, touching hands and cleaning the campground. After a short devotional ceremony, all of the scouts packed up and left, with nary a sign that they had been on the grounds. What a testament to the future of our country, when young men and adults work together for the enjoyment and good of all concerned.
What a blessing it was for all involved to have participated in a truly magnificent and rewarding outdoors experience. Sincere thanks should go out to everyone who had a part in making the JAKES event and Camporee an even bigger success this year. And of course, without the use of Langdon Barber's farm, the whole event wouldn't have been possible. Thanks, Mr. Barber for providing your farm and helping the scouts make some lifetime memories.

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