Conservation News

Inaugural JAKES Event Makes an Impact on Minnesota Youth

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The NWTF Aitkin Gobblers Chapter kicked off its first JAKES Day with over 70 kids attending for a day of learning all the joys of the outdoors.

“We are beyond excited about how much fun the kids had at our first event,” said Jason Wold, Aitkin Gobblers Chapter president. “We sent the kids home with many great prizes and provided them with educational activities designed to make hunting and the outdoors a perennial activity in their lives.”

Across the country, NWTF JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) Days engage youth in outdoor pursuits and instill lifelong traditions. The Aitkin Gobblers JAKES Day event included numerous learning stations where kids spoke with experts and engaged with the activities at each station, including hunter and shooting safety led by a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer, .22 shooting, fishing, BB gun shooting, trapping, turkey calling and more.

Quaker Boy Calls provided all the kids with a turkey call package that included slate, mouth and push-button calls. NWTF Minnesota members set up a station to help the kids learn how to use turkey calls ahead of the upcoming spring season. 

The Aitkin Gobblers and local businesses donated money for additional prizes for the kids, including 14 guns, dog-proof traps, compound bows and more.

NWTF volunteers are the driving force that brings together the different experts from the community to make such events successful.

“This event was a reminder that there are kids in our community that are excited and ready to learn about the outdoors; we just need to deliver,” Wold said. “We plan on growing this event and its impact year after year. We are already looking forward to next year.”

Established in 1981, the NWTF’s JAKES program is dedicated to informing, educating and involving youth 17 and younger in wildlife conservation and the wise stewardship of our natural resources. JAKES events help pass on the traditions of responsible hunting, teach the principles of habitat management, hunting ethics and safety.

For $10 a year, JAKES receive a year subscription to JAKES Country magazine (four issues), a chance to win a hunt of a lifetime and a membership card.

In addition to JAKES Day events, NWTF chapters across the country host various events that engage youth in the outdoors, including mentored hunts for a variety of game species. Learn how you can get involved as a volunteer with the NWTF, or look for an upcoming JAKES event in your area.

About the National Wild Turkey Federation

Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale.

2023 is the NWTF’s 50th anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50th anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and NWTF’s people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.

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