Kansas Educator Receives JAKES Volunteer of the Year Award
Photos and interviews for media available upon request through Josh Fleming.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —For more than three decades, Gib Rhodes educated Kansas school children as an elementary school teacher and high school coach. In retirement, he’s continued his work as a leader in the NWTF JAKES youth outreach program.
In recognition of his work in helping youth understand the importance of the outdoors and living an active lifestyle, Rhodes received the 2011 JAKES Volunteer of the Year Award Feb. 10 at the 36th annual NWTF National Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tenn.
Rhodes’ passion for educating youth about hunting and the outdoors can be seen in the many JAKES events he’s tirelessly planned and worked on for his NWTF Flint Hills Gobblers Chapter in Emporia, Kan.
With his state JAKES co-coordinator Brian Lewellen and other Flint Hills Gobblers volunteers, Rhodes also organized and operated the Kansas State Chapter’s two-day camp, which won the 2011 NWTF Best State Chapter Event Award.
“I got into the JAKES program because of the involvement with youth. I enjoy doing that.” said Rhodes, who lives in Madison, Kan. “My goal and the goal of my chapter is putting smiles on kids’ faces. That’s our real reward.”
As a coordinator of the Flint Hills Gobblers JAKES program, Rhodes helps oversee a fun and busy annual schedule that includes waterfowl and dove hunts, fishing days, numerous shooting events, an essay contest and a spring turkey hunting clinic. Plus, Rhodes and other chapter volunteers take JAKES members with them on spring turkey hunts.
In 2011, the Flint Hills Gobblers had 142 JAKES members. Rhodes and other NWTF volunteers take time to speak to various school groups and sponsor a shooting team at a local high school.
“We’re doing something all the time with our JAKES program,” Rhodes said. “We become friends and family of these kids.”
The NWTF’s JAKES program is dedicated to teaching youth the principles of wildlife management and the traditions of safe, ethical and responsible hunting.
“Gib donates countless hours to the JAKES program, traveling to events all over the state at his own expense,” said Mandy Harling, NWTF JAKES program coordinator. “He epitomizes the best in a volunteer, teacher and mentor while serving as an advocate for JAKES and the NWTF.”
Rhodes’ work for the NWTF hasn’t been limited to the JAKES program. He is also editor of the Kansas State Chapter’s newsletter and has served as Flint Hills Gobblers president and banquet chairman, and as a member of the NWTF’s Kansas State Board of Directors.
The NWTF, a national nonprofit organization, is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage.
Through dynamic partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members have helped restore wild turkey populations across the country, investing more than $372 million to conserve 17 million acres of essential habitat for all types of wildlife.
2012 Convention Sponsors
MidwayUSA — Official Sponsor
Academy Sports + Outdoors, Barronett Blinds, Bass Pro Shops, Benelli, Big Tex Trailers, Bird Dog and Whitetail Whiskey, Browning, Cabela’s, Chevrolet, Federal Premium Ammunition, Marlin Firearms, Mossy Oak, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nationwide, O.F. Mossberg, Remington Arms Company, Inc., Titan UTV, Winchester/Olin Corporation, U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance, Weatherby, Wild Turkey Bourbon