It’s hot summer-time in Bainbridge, but a number of kids are having fun this month at the Jack Wingate Outdoor Summer Camp put on by the City of Bainbridge government.
City employees and younger camp counselors help keep the camp a smoothly-run, safe experience for dozens of kids each summer.
The Wingate Summer Outdoors Camp is a spirtual successor to a similar camp run by Jack Wingate, who helped make Lake Seminole a popular hunting and fishing destination over the years, at his Lunker Lodge in the Faceville community of Decatur County.
Activities during the first two days of this week’s camp included team building exercises, water safety, fire safety, canoeing, water games, archery, and fishing 101. Other activities include CPR, canoeing, camping, fish cleaning, gun safety and hunter’s safety, water safety, outdoor cooking, navigation, game calling, tracking and much more.
The campers will also take a tour of Jack Wingate’s former home in Faceville, Ga., which has been preserved by his family as a museum of his lifelong involvement in fishing and the outdoors. To see more pictures from this week’s camp, keep reading this post and also visit the Bainbridge, Georgia official Facebook page.
4-H students instruct archery
Three students from Decatur and Grady County 4-H programs, as well as their coaches, helped teach the campers archery using beginner’s compound bows and aluminum arrows. The campers shot at balloons pinned to archery targets, bursting the balloon with an accurate aim. The 4-H students were Cameron Landeen and Savannah Padgett from Decatur County and Carson Sapp from Grady County, as well as their coaches, Rick Landeen, Dorislynn White-Padgett and Stephanie Landeen. Each of the three students have been competing in 4-H archery programs for 5-6 years.
Experienced anglers teach kids the basics of fishing
Also on Tuesday, the Wingate summer campers were taught the basics of fishing by a handful of folks with lots of experience with a fishing pole. The campers were taught how to attach their lure to a fishing line, how to safely cast a fishing line, and how to cast with accuracy. They also learned the importance of always wearing their life jackets while out on the water, as the experienced anglers took the kids out on the Flint River, just outside the mouth of the Earle May Boat Basin.
Fishing instructors included Lady Bass Angler Hall of Famer Pam Martin-Wells, her husband Stephen Wells who is a professional Lake Seminole hunting and fishing guide, pro fishermen Andy Koundourakis and Paul Tyre and Matt Palmer, a local business who is an avid outdoorsman. Before they went out on the water, the kids learned how to cast their fishing line safely and accurately. Martin-Wells explained to some of the campers that tying a knot in a fishing line to attach a lure is “a lot like tying your shoe.” Husband Stephen Wells told the boys, who were eager to go fishing, that they must always know what or who is behind them before they cast a fishing line, to avoid embedding a hook in someone.
Matt Palmer showed his campers how to cast their lines with the goal of landing their lures inside a plastic bucket located a few feet away. I asked Matt what the object of landing a lure within a target space was. He said that if you are out on the water, oftentimes a good fishing spot involves a log or other natural feature that fish like to hang out around for shade and shelter. Being able to land a lure next to a log makes the cast seem more natural as the lure enters the water, Palmer said.
The Jack Wingate Summer Camp continues the week of June 16, with all spots currently full. A third week of camp was added to accommodate additional campers. It will be held July 7-11. For more information, visit www.bainbridgecity.com