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J.A.K.E.S. Day takes youth into nature

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Melissa Wade holds her son Micah Wade, 2, as they watch Max Wade, 7, left, climb to the top of the rock climbing wall Saturday at the Tar River Chapter 16th Annual Jakes Day at Rose Hill Farm in Nashville.

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BY PHILIP SAYBLACK
Staff Writer

Sunday, September 24, 2017

NASHVILLE — A nationally known event aimed at getting young people active and raising awareness about wildlife conservation returned to Nash County Saturday at a well-known local farm.

Rose Hill Farm at 3881 Rose Hill Lane hosted the Tar River Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 16th annual J.A.K.E.S. Day celebration. Formally known as the Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship Program, it started nationally in 1981 as a way to encourage young people to be outdoors and active, as well as to raise awareness about wildlife conservation. 

J.A.K.E.S. Day has served that purpose from its inception nationwide. Nash County’s event additionally became a means to raise money for local Boy Scouts of America troops “in its eighth or ninth year,” said Bill Collart, who is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Tar River Chapter. Collart stressed that even with that fundraising effort as part of the event, the primary emphasis still is on getting young people outside and active.

“The aim is to get kids outside and to expose them to an active lifestyle,” Collart said.

Saturday’s event offered plenty of ways for young people to be active across the expansive multi-acre farm. There were BB gun demonstrations, a rope bridge, zip line, rock climbing wall and even archery demonstrations among many other attractions. 

Frank Newell, who was one of the event’s biggest draws last year with his wolves and other live animals, did not attend this year’s event. Collart said Newell did not attend due to personal health concerns.

Collart stressed while little has changed in regard to what the annual event offers throughout the years, that has not hurt its draw. He said even with that general lack of changes, J.A.K.E.S. Day has continued to attract hundreds of guests every year in Nash County. Those guests have come from as close as Rocky Mount and from as far away as Elizabeth City, Collart said.

He said seeing that continued support for the effort was encouraging.

“Having so much continued support makes us as an organization feel like we’re doing something that the community likes,” Collart said. “If you can get the crowd, then you must be doing something right.”

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