Turkey federation celebrates youth during viewing of film

LEWISBURG – Some of Pennsylvania’s youth hunters will make their big-screen debut as part of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s PA Jakes Movie Night at 7 p.m. June 24 at the Campus Theatre, 13 Market St.

The evening will feature a few short films concentrating on youth hunters and conservation, with the main headliner featuring four Pennsylvania youths taking down their first Pennsylvania turkey harvests.

These young hunters were part of this past year’s NWTF-Pennsylvania’s Jakes Hunt of a Lifetime.

Some footage will include 16-year-old four-time turkey-calling champion Hunter Wallis, of Newton Lake, Lackawanna County.

Wallis, who also is a NWTF Jake Member, will attend the event and share his experiences in calling and turkey hunting and to encourage youth not only to hunt but to learn to call.

A short question-and-answer period will allow Wallis to connect with the audience.

Walt Bingaman, regional director for NWTF-Pennsylvania and event organizer, said this is the third year for the film event, and it has become somewhat of a tradition. He said the event plays a very important role in the outreach of youth hunters and their parents and families.

“I was thinking how cool would it be if we would do this as an outreach to get kids to come to the Campus Theatre to see other Pennsylvania kids on the big screen,” he said.

Throughout the evening a slideshow will feature photos of PA youth hunters and their first turkey and – for the first time this year – their first deer harvest.

“The kids really like seeing themselves on the big screen. Their smiles are that much bigger,” Bingaman said.

He encourages anyone to send digital copies of youth to him so they can be included in future films. Anyone can send photos; they do not have to be NWTF members to celebrate youth hunters and their harvests.

Youth attending the event who have had their first turkey harvest will be presented with a NWTF “First Turkey Pin” by Wallis himself.

“We call them up front onto the stage and Hunter will shake their hand and congratulate them,” Bingaman said.

The evening is devoted to kids, he said, but everyone is welcome.

“Anyone that enjoys taking a youth hunting – whether turkey or not – will find great enjoyment from this evening (especially) anyone that has a youth that just started hunting or currently (is) hunting. It is upbeat, with some serious segments, but we keep it upbeat and have a few laughs. It’s lighthearted and entertaining,” he said.

Other short films featured will be “Save The Habitat – Save The Hunt,” a new NWTF program.

“So many of our members that have heard the phrase and really do not understand what the goal is,” Bingaman said.

The film helps to illustrate the goals of the program.

NWTF’s “Imagine a World,” a short-film focusing on conservation and the fate of future of the outdoors also will be shown.

“I get goosebumps just talking about it. If we do not continue our outreach and continue to involve the youth in the things we are passionate about … unfortunately it may become part of history class,” Bingaman said.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and there will be door prizes and a raffle.

Admission will be $10 for adults and $5 for children.

For more information, to purchase tickets or to submit a digital photo for the first harvest slideshow, call 570-274-1633 or email wbingaman @nwtf.net.