The Red Clay Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation held its annual Jakes Day for area youth on Saturday. The event is a chance for children to enjoy the outdoors with various games and activities, as well as some educational opportunities.
The mission of the NWTF is the “conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of hunting heritage.” At Jakes Day, the Red Clay Longbeards Chapter gets kids in on this mission.
“I just want to thank Tammy and Gary Myers for all they’ve done. This event wouldn’t happen without them. They’re the heart of this committee of the Red Clay Longbeards and we want to thank them for putting it on,” said National Wild Turkey Federation Regional Director Shawn Jenkins.
This was the ninth annual Jakes Day hosted by the group. Bounce houses, a turkey train, a NASCAR simulator, and the Balloon Lady were just a few of the activities available at the event. The Myers said this year’s event was in memory of two loved ones who passed away this year, Ralph Neal, owner of the property where the event was held, as well as Katie Smith, Tammy Myers’ mother.
Among the organizations participating in the 2016 Jakes Day with some kids activities were Mountain Valley Hospice, the NC Wildlife Department with BB gun shooting, Cub Scout Troop 670 and the Lone Hickory Fire Department.
NC Wildlife Officer Trevor Lemon said the BB gun shooting, done in a controlled environment with special non-explosive charges, was a great way to teach young people about the importance of firearm safety.
Also teaching important safety tips at the event were local firefighters, including Lone Hickory Fire Chief Robbie Williams and Yadkin County Fire Marshal Ricky Leonard. The Lone Hickory Fire Department had a smoke house where children could learn and practice what to do to escape a home in case of fire. A special outdoor obstacle course, on loan from the city of Thomasville, was also available for children to learn what to do in case of a fire.
Jenkins said this was his first visit to the event. There are close to 60 chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation in the state. Jenkins said he was extremely impressed with Jakes Day in Yadkin County.
“This is amazing,” he said. “There are so many different things.” Jenkins said that while technology-driven fun such as iPhones and xBoxes are a way of life now, he hopes that events such as Jakes Day will have kids forgetting their screens for a bit in favor of enjoying the outdoors.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.