By Brian Quirk, Flaming Arrow
The Native Sons and Daughters program is a parent/child program enhanced by a Native American theme and is designed to create lifelong memories between fathers and their children. Founded almost 100 years ago, children aged five to 12 are eligible to join and all activities are age appropriate.
The Jacksonville chapter, known as the Timucuan Longhouse of Jacksonville, is in the planning stages of which events to offer this upcoming season. Previous years have seen the group participate in camping, canoeing, archery, fishing, Frisbee golf, ice skating, nature hikes and community service.
This is a special year for the local organization as Timucuan Longhouse member Ray “Creaking Oak” Junk was elected as the club’s National Chief (president) at the recent National Board Meeting. Junk will oversee clubs from South Florida to Southern California. Both of his daughters, Silver Sky and Golden Meadow have enjoyed the program with their father.
Junk said, “I was amazed to watch my daughters grow in confidence and make lifelong friends.”
Once school is back in session, the club schedules events for just the dads/daughters and then just for the fathers/sons. This unique format allows a father to enjoy one-on-one time with each of his children and witness first hand the special qualities each child offers. Group events are scattered in during the program year as well.
Campouts are always a big hit with the group. Typically, the club hosts a fall, a spring and a family campout. The Longhouse also participates in the Sunshine State Pow Wow, which is a gathering of Native Sons and Daughters clubs throughout the state. This event is usually held in March. This year, leadership is discussing how to carry out social distancing while still enjoying each other’s camaraderie.
Future events such as Costume Bowling, the Monster Jam, and outings to Jacksonville Icemen and Jumbo Shrimp games are all contingent on executive orders.
The Timucuan Longhouse is a friendly group of fathers who seek to spend exceptional quality time with their children. As the program teaches, “You only have 18 summers to make a difference in your child’s life.” Native Sons and Daughters members accomplish this one outing at a time.
“Each of us has had to learn resilience, preparedness and about what and whom is truly important in our lives,” Junk said. “Capture these moments, learn from them and together we can continue on the long legacy of building positive parent/child relationships”.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nsdjax.org for more information.
Photo courtesy Brian Quirk
New National Chief Ray “Creaking Oak” Junk with his daughters, Silver Sky and Golden Meadow.