NWTF offers youth sporting education opportunities

Date Published: 
May 9, 2014

The Lower Delaware Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) will be holding a youth event next weekend to help acclimate kids to outdoor sporting activities, allowing them to learn about and shoot BB guns, air rifles and more.

“This is a yearly event that we have,” explained Stacie Street, secretary and treasurer of the Lower Delaware Chapter of NWTF.

According to its website, NWTF members “are sportsmen, women and children who care deeply about our natural resources and the wild places we love to hunt… Collectively, we come from all walks of life to engage in conservation and preserve the hunting heritage we all hold dear.”

The event is part of Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics & Sportsmanship, also known as JAKES, which is dedicated to informing, educating and involving youth in wildlife conservation and the wise stewardship of natural resources.

Registration for the event begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, with the event running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Owens Station in Greenwood. Participants pay $15 per child, which includes supplies, JAKES membership and lunch for the day.

During the day, participating youth, ages 5 to 15, may enjoy learning about BB guns and air rifles, fishing, sporting clays and much more.

“When the children get there that day, we’ll split them up into groups. We’ll go over gun safety with them, and we have BB guns for them. We’ll have a blowup BB gun range. We also do air rifles and fishing in the back of the pond,” explained Street. “Also, some of the older kids last year had a good time shooting sporting clays, so we’ll be doing that again this year.”

Street said some kids who participated in last year’s event will be returning for another day of fun and education.

“The kids take a lot away from it. They really do thoroughly enjoy it. I do an evaluation at the end of the event, and last year all the kids said they really had fun,” she said. “They all take something out of it. A lot of them have never been able to shoot a gun before, and they don’t know anything about it. With their parents bringing them, they’re able to do things they weren’t able to do.”

Street said that Jim Kemble of Delaware 4-H helps out with the event, and other JAKES events, “tremendously.”

“We partner with 4-H, and Jim is always so wonderful with the kids,” she said. “With our JAKES day, it’s just very important for us to teach and educate the kids. It’s the reason we have the event every year. That’s just a big part of it.”

Street said that, last year, 23 kids participated in the event. She noted that it’s part of the NWTF’s mission to reach out and educate today’s youth about sportsmanship.

“We like to get the youth more involved in outdoor sports and more interested in hunting. A lot of parents around here don’t have the time to show the kids or have access to it. We like to give the kids the opportunity to experience that.”

Other outreach programs includes the NWTF Women in the Outdoors event, offering educational opportunities for woman of all skill levels regarding fishing, hunting, outdoor cooking, crafts and more.

“That’s my biggest event that I love doing. I believe we’re going to have a lot of women interested in that class this year,” said Street, noting the event will be held in October this year.

Currently, the NWTF Lower Delaware Chapter has 15 active members. The chapter has monthly meetings in Millsboro. Street said she’s so thankful to be a member of a great organization and hopes others will consider joining.

“We’re a nonprofit organization. It’s not just all about the turkeys. It’s about educating the community and the hunters about what we do. We’re based on hunting conservation and help conserve the hunting tradition,” she said. “It’s just an awesome organization.”

For more information, or to preregister for the event, call Stacie Street, at (302) 381-9354. Owens Station is located at Road 602 in Greenwood. For more information about the Lower Delaware Chapter of NWTF, visit www.lowerdelawarenwtf.com or www.facebook.com/pages/NWTF-Lower-Delaware/485577614841513.