By NewsLine Staff

The Native Sons and Daughters boys’ Spring Longhouse (campout) was organized by Joe “Big Red” Woodlief and Ron “Spirit Bear” Smith and held at Blue Springs.

Upon arrival, the boys set up their tents and unloaded the firewood prior to donning their bathing suits and heading down to the main attraction — the spring. Being spring-fed from the Floridan aquifer, the water remains a constant temperature year round and provides relief on a hot, humid day. One after another, the boys jumped off the platform and were greeted by the tingle of 72 degree water.

The activities during the day included the egg toss and the critter race. A barbeque hosted by chefs Shawn “Big Bobcat” DeShazo and Justin “Big Tree” Ellenberger nourished young bodies at the end of the day.

This year’s event came to a close with a sacred fire ceremony and special recognition of Pathfinders, middle and high school aged children with more than 100 years of program experiences who graduated from the program on this evening.

Following the sacred fire ceremony, Bill “Kicking Buffalo” Valentino was recognized and honored for his tireless and passionate service for the past six years to the Pathfinders organization.

The National Chief of the Native Sons and Daughters program, Bryan “Big Wolf” Davis presented Brian “Flaming Arrow” Quirk the Joe Friday Award, which is the highest level of recognition within the national program. Quirk is the first member of the Timucuan Longhouse as well as the first Floridian to be so honored.

Upcoming events for the local organization include: Ray Potts Summer Bowling beginning on June 12, the Timucuan Longhouse night with the Jacksonville Sharks on June 18  and the August Back to School Canoe float down the Suwannee River.

Visit for more information about this unique parent/child program.

Photos courtesy Brian Quirk

Native Sons at their Spring Longhouse at Blue Springs.

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