The Pledge - Spring 2024

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ade & d e u e Happens! Happens! Register for 4-H summer camp today! EXPLORE LEARN GROW ROCK SPRINGS RANCH Where Friends Are Where Friends Are Made Made & Adventure & Adventure Happens! Happens! Register for 4-H summer camp today!

Kansas 4-H began in 1905 when organized groups of youth came together to “learn by doing.” In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act established the Cooperative Extension System connected to Land Grant universities and nationalized 4-H as a positive youth development program. As Kansas 4-H grew, a national trend for 4-H camping was growing, and Kansas 4-H Clubs purchased Rock Springs Ranch in 1946.

In November 1952, a committee of Kansans convened to determine what entity should hold the title of Rock Springs. With a vision for providing educational opportunities for Kansas youth, this committee created the Kansas 4-H Foundation as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. In addition to holding the title for the property of Rock Springs, early Foundation goals included international programs, leader training and advancement of Rock Springs Ranch.

The Foundation continues to partner with the Kansas 4-H program to meet the evolving needs of Kansas youth and develop future leaders. We acknowledge and appreciate our longtime 4-H friends. Their lifetime of generosity creates new opportunities for the youth of Kansas.


Recognizing the 4-H




Nationally, 4-H reaches almost two times more youth than any other youth development organization in the U.S. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of loyal and dedicated volunteers.

Did you know K-State Research and Extension reported that volunteers gave 309,345 hours of their time to 4-H programs carried out across the state last year? That’s about 136 fulltime equivalent employees!

Each year, more than 8,000 4-H youth and adult volunteers model what it means to lead with a heart for service by supporting youth programs and providing expert guidance on such projects as sewing, shooting sports, livestock, rocketry, and nearly three dozen other pursuits. This month,

we celebrate National Volunteer Appreciation by honoring those who generously work alongside 4-H youth.

Volunteers strengthen the 4-H experience in countless ways. The impact can be felt when a 4-H’er is encouraged to explore a new project interest for the first time, when coaching a 4-H’er to problem solve through a challenge, and in the smile of a 4-H’er who finds their spark.

Many donors who generously support 4-H programs also volunteer their time. I often ask volunteers what drives them to continue contributing their time and energy. More often than not, I receive two responses. The first is the joy they feel when seeing a young person achieve their goal. The second is a story about how a mentor,

teacher, or coach made a difference in their life. They want to make the same impact.

Thank you to all 4-H volunteers, both past and present, for choosing to invest your time and talents in the lives of Kansas 4-H youth. Your impact is your legacy.


P.S. Within this issue, you will learn about generous gifts that enhance the 4-H experience through planned gifts and camperships. Plus a heartfelt story of a family’s generational connection to summer camp.


Modernize cabins while maintaining the rustic feel

Replace existing bunk beds

Add wall mounted air conditioner units

Enhance electrical and lighting

If you would like to join this effort by transforming a Stoneybrook cabin with a philanthropic gift, contact Lindsey Pannbacker, vice president of development, at the Kansas 4-H Foundation by calling 785-775-0123 or via email at


Real life practice


Kelsey Nordyke is an extension specialist for the State 4-H Staff. She provides support for projects in Agriculture & Natural Resources and Animal Science. Nordyke is heavily involved in 4-H Competition Teams, and believes that they have many benefits for the Kansas 4-H youth who participate in them.

I am very passionate about the state and national competitions (particularly judging competitions) that we offer Kansas 4-H members. The skills and opportunities they gain are immense and it opens so many doors for them as youth, then, potentially as college students.

We have 26 national competition teams. For Horse Judging, Livestock Quiz Bowl, Livestock Skillathon and Hippology, 4-H’ers advance to nationals only with their team. For livestock judging and meat judging, they can advance with their team and as individuals. We offer all-star teams for meat judging and livestock judging. The top 25 individuals in both of those contests try out for the all-star teams. We also take the top meat judging team as a team to Denver and the top three livestock judging teams represent Kansas as their local unit teams at three national contests. Kansas 4-H members advancing to nationals in Shooting Sports disciplines are selected based on their individual scores.

Participation at the national level allows youth to compete against the top youth in the country. Kansas has long been recognized as one of the elite states for livestock, horse and meat judging. The kids have the

At the National 4-H Meat Judging Contest, this Kansas 4-H Meat Judging Team was named champions in 2022 at the American Royal in Kansas City for the first-ever national title for a Kansas team.

opportunity to give oral reasons to some industry leaders. Of course, they are practicing for a higher level and working toward higher achievement, and preparing them to be high achievers. This helps to build technical skills in the particular area in which they are competing, time management, team work, responsibility, prioritization, and increases their capacity to think on their feet, helps them to become more skilled and polished in their public speaking skills.

The Kansas 4-H Horse Bowl Team earned the title Reserve Champions at the Western National 4-H Roundup Horse Bowl in Denver in 2023.

Additionally, kids that compete on national level teams have the opportunity to see more of our country, meet and network with leaders in industry and evaluate future life goals. Some may choose to continue competing at the collegiate level which could lead to specific career opportunities or different opportunities within academia. The possibilities truly are endless.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that these kids, regardless of whether it is a judging team or a shooting sports opportunity, are working very closely with positive, caring adult mentors and those relationships last a lifetime.

I strongly believe in 4-H judging competitions for youth. They help inspire and hone an individuals’ critical thinking skills which are so beneficial to the next generation of leaders in agriculture.

Jan Lyons, Kansas 4-H Donor

For more information about how you can support Kansas 4-H Competition Teams contact: LINDSEY PANNBACKER 785-775-0123

Participating in Competition Teams allows Kansas youth to practice their critical thinking skills and work towards higher achievement

Leaving a Legacy Through


In the heartland of America, where the fields stretch wide and community values run deep, lies the essence of Kansas 4-H. For generations, this organization has been a beacon of opportunity for the youth of Kansas, offering a space for growth, learning, and unforgettable experiences. Among its cherished memories, one stands out: Rock Springs Ranch.

Rock Springs Ranch is not just a place; it’s a sanctuary of learning and adventure nestled within the Flint Hills of Kansas. It’s a haven where youth embark on journeys of selfdiscovery, away from the comforts of home and into the realms of new experiences.

For *Jose, Rock Springs is not only close to his heart, it was also very meaningful to his late wife. Their testimony echoes the sentiment of countless others whose lives have been touched by the magic of 4-H. Reflecting on his time spent at Rock Springs over 70 years ago, he fondly recalls the exhilarating rush of trying new activities like canoing and skeet shooting, the camaraderie fostered by nights spent under canvas tents, and the invaluable lessons learned around campfires.

“I decided to make a gift to memorialize my wife who was also in 4-H. I believe 4-H is a good youth development organization directed to Kansas kids,” Jose shared. “I especially like the Rock Springs activities. I believe it is good for youngsters to get away from ‘home,’ family and school friends in order

to see and learn new things in the world.”

His decision to contribute to Kansas 4-H’s legacy through a beneficiary designation speaks volumes about the enduring impact of this organization. By designating Kansas 4-H as a beneficiary of his investment accounts, Jose ensures that a portion of his retirement savings will support the programs and initiatives he holds dear, such as the Campership Fund to provide youth access to camp at Rock Springs Ranch.

A beneficiary designation with a retirement plan is a strategic financial decision that allows individuals to specify who will receive their funds upon their passing. In this case, Jose has chosen to allocate a portion of his IRA to support the continued success of Kansas 4-H and its vital programs.

Jose’s gift is a testament to his and his late wife’s commitment to investing in the next generation of leaders and thinkers through the transformative experiences offered by 4-H.

But Rock Springs Ranch is just one facet of the multifaceted gem that is Kansas 4-H. As Jose notes, his journey with 4-H transcends the boundaries of time and personal experiences. “I did learn through 4-H the importance of keeping records, especially as it pertains to livestock. It is also important for youth to learn about banking and associated accounts. So Rock Springs was not the only learning opportunity I had from 4-H.”

Indeed, the legacy of Kansas 4-H extends beyond individual

recollections; it’s woven into the fabric of families and communities across the state. With a nod to his wife’s involvement and his father-in-law’s dedicated service on the board, Jose underscores the interconnectedness that defines the 4-H experience.

Jose’s generosity, coupled with a deep-seated belief in the power of positive youth development, ensures that the legacy of Rock Springs Ranch and the values upheld by 4-H endure for generations to come.

The spirit of 4-H thrives — a testament to the enduring power of community, growth, and the boundless potential of our youth. Through thoughtful acts like beneficiary designations, individuals like Jose pave the way for a future where Kansas 4-H continues to flourish and inspire.

Scan this QR code to learn more about supporting Kansas 4-H through planned giving.

*The name of the alumnus featured in this story has been changed at his request to remain anonymous A Kansas 4-H alumnus details the meaningful connection he has to Rock Springs Ranch and the important role it plays in positive youth development in Kansas

Developing Leadership by


I have had the honor of being a 4-H member for 11 years. Over those years the opportunities I’ve taken advantage of have led me to where I am now: a confident leader.

In 2023, I had the opportunity to serve as a Youth Philanthropy Ambassador in partnership with the Kansas 4-H Leadership Youth Council and the Kansas 4-H Foundation. As the current 4-H youth council president, I will continue to work toward building relationships with potential donors to raise funds to make it possible for all 4-H members to attend events through the Accessibility Fund. These partnerships emphasize or motto “To Make the Best Better”.

The 4-H motto to me is a quote I repeat to myself quite often to help myself continue on succeeding

in whatever I’m doing. This motto has helped many projects at the fair to be ready for the next year. I use this motto in school to not settle on my achievements but to continue to improve and gain countless amounts of knowledge through school.


As the current 4-H youth council president, I will continue toward building relationships with delegates at

every single state 4-H event and even outside of 4-H. As a council, we strive to always promote 4-H and how as an organization we are able to positively impact everything around us. That may be putting on state events, speaking to organizations about the benefits of being a member, or selling t-shirts at the state fair — we all want to give back to 4-H.

As my 4-H career is coming to an end I will cherish all the memories, accomplishments, and mostly the relationships that I have built within 4-H. Without 4-H I am certain I would not be the leader I am today and without 4-H I would not have discovered the career path I want.4-H showed me my passion for working with youth and made me want to pursue a degree in physical education in college.

Above, Carson Fouard speaks at the 2023 Emerald Circle banquet. “I love 4-H because it has taught me to be the best leader I can be,” Fouard said.

A gift from Dr. Joe Mauderly and his wife Cheryl has

Endowment Gift Paves the Way


The Kansas 4-H Foundation announces the establishment of the Rock Springs 4-H Campership Endowed Fund, aimed at providing Kansas youth with the opportunity to participate in enriching experiences at Rock Springs Ranch. This initiative has been made possible through a generous gift from Dr. Joe Mauderly and his wife Cheryl, both former Chase County 4-H’ers and graduates of Kansas State University.

Reflecting on his own journey, Dr. Mauderly credits Kansas 4-H for instilling in him values, skills, and experiences that have shaped his character and influenced his personal and professional life. He emphasizes the pivotal role that 4-H played alongside family, school, and church in nurturing his growth as a responsible citizen and effective leader.

“Kansas 4-H provided a range of examples, training, and opportunities that strongly influenced who I am, what I have done, and how I have dealt with the responsibilities of life and citizenship,” Dr. Mauderly stated. “My desire is that those positive influences be experienced by more youth.”

His fond memories of 4-H activities, including leadership development, public speaking, and project competitions, highlight the lasting impact of the organization throughout his career as a veterinarian.

Dr. Mauderly graduated from K-State with his doctorate of veterinary medicine in 1967. Through his extensive career, he pioneered the development of processes and equipment that led to advancing the understanding of animal lung biology.

As he reflects on his time in 4-H, Dr. Mauderly wants to share his dedication to supporting the next generation of 4-H campers, ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder youth from accessing the experiences offered by 4-H camp.

His commitment to philanthropy stems from his upbringing on a tenant farming and grazing operation in the Flint Hills, where despite facing financial setbacks, his parents prioritized and supported their children’s involvement in 4-H.

“Despite those difficulties, my parents strongly supported our 4-H projects and activities, and managed to send me to Rock Springs three times,” he said. “I know there are 4-H’ers whose families can’t manage that extra expense and thus won’t benefit from the Rock Springs experience without a boost from those of us able to help. I appreciate that the Foundation established

the Rock Springs Campership Endowment to provide that help and am glad to be a part of that program.”

The Mauderlys’ generous gift ensures that Kansas youth have equitable access to immersive learning experiences at Rock Springs Ranch. Their gift allows us to meet the immediate financial needs of youth and gives us the confidence to know we will have funds available to meet the future needs of youth eager for a camp experience. I cannot thank Dr. and Mrs. Mauderly enough for their leadership and for including Kansas 4-H youth in their philanthropic priorities.

Recognizing the importance of supportive parents, dedicated volunteers, and committed Extension staff in fostering the development of young leaders, Joe underscores the significance of financial contributions in enhancing the resources available to these essential stakeholders.

“For nearly 80 years Rock Springs Ranch has touched the lives of kids through hands-on learning, leadership opportunities, and community engagement,” said Mindy Weixelman, President/CEO of the Kansas 4-H Foundation.

Dr. Joe Mauderly opened the doors for the newly established Rock Springs 4-H Campership Endowed Fund

Three Generations


4-H has been an important tradition to Cindy Walker and her family for generations. Walker’s children are the 3rd generation in a row to spend their summers at Rock Springs Ranch.


Rock Springs is a place where my children feel like they belong. It is a safe space for them to make new friends, try new things, and practice independent living skills. Returning from Rock Springs 4-H Camp in the summer, they always seem more confident and energized. They unplug and learn teamwork, leadership skills, and how to engage with nature in ways they would not get outside of camp. While campers do similar activities [each year], my daughters come back with unique takeaways every summer.


4-H Camp helped build my confidence as a 4-H’er. I couldn’t rely on my family or club members to help me make friends or get me to join in, I had to do it myself. Camp was the first state 4-H event I participated in. It introduced me to the idea that 4-H was much bigger than my club and county. It allowed me to spend time with other 4-H’ers from my county in a non-competitive environment helping to create connections and deepen friendships.


I have a child who was terrified of heights, but she voluntarily tried the ropes course at camp and learned that she could do hard things with the support of her new friends and counselors. It wasn’t as scary as she thought and was a huge confidence boost. Another daughter shared that she remembers a time when she wasn’t really excited about making the same crafts as everyone else, but she was allowed to use the supplies to create her own unique craft that turned out very well. She was encouraged and allowed to enjoy the creative process without fear of failure. Because of this experience at camp, she was inspired to continue this creative process in the Visual Arts project. This boldness resulted in a purple at the Kansas State Fair for a mixed media creation.



While there are some new things at Rock Springs as they continue to grow and bring in fresh ideas to stay relevant to today’s youth, the fundamentals of the things that have kept 4-H’ers coming back for generations are still the same. Kids today are incredibly busy and seem under more pressure than ever before, but not at Rock Springs. It truly allows youth to step away from everything, relax, and be kids. A few days each summer, they switch off their devices and connect with nature and other people. Text messages and emojis are replaced with eye contact, real conversation, and laughter. They are part of a team that learns, explores, and grows together. They get to experience fresh air, sunshine, and parts of childhood that are more like what my mother, my sister and I were able to experience as kids.

Former Rock Springs 4-H camper Cindy Walker now sends her own children to 4-H Camp to provide them the benefits she experienced TOP | Julia, Lydia, Izzy and Hannah Walker are pictured at the 2023 Dog Conference. Julia, Lydia, and Hannah have all been Rock Springs 4-H Campers. ABOVE Cindy Walker (back right) with her tug-of-war group at Rock Springs in the early 90s.



Growing up in Geary County, volunteerism was all Dr. Mary Kay Munson knew.

The teacher was the only paid staff member in her school, leaving everything else — including taking care of the school, the younger children, games and activities — to the students’ volunteer efforts.

Dr. Munson’s home life had similar effects as she watched her parents support their friends and neighbors and involve themselves in their community through various organizations. After receiving her doctorate from K-State, Dr. Munson became a volunteer specialist for 4-H in Illinois for 26 years.

“As a volunteer and leadership development specialist, I see great value in staffing and utilizing volunteers, partly because you get more done and partly because you get it done better,” Dr. Munson said.

Above all, Dr. Munson believes in 4-H and its benefits for communities. She has seen its benefits from the perspective of both a Kansas 4-H member and from the supervisory side of the 4-H organization.

“I believe 4-H is an excellent opportunity for kids everywhere and

I would hate to see Kansas [youth] not be offered the opportunities that are available throughout the country,” Dr. Munson said.

Among those opportunities is the chance to be a 4-H volunteer. Dr. Munson is adamant that Kansas 4-H can benefit from any level of volunteerism, and that everyone should look for ways to share their skills with the organization. However, Dr. Munson believes that 4-H isn’t the sole benefactor of volunteering efforts.

“When I retired back here to Kansas, I had family here, but I didn’t have much of anybody else except people I had known 30 years prior when I lived here,” Dr. Munson said.

“So by volunteering, I got to make a lot of new friends and restore friendships with people that I had contact with as a K-State student or as a 4-H’er here in Kansas.”

There’s nothing like the feeling you get [when you volunteer]. I would so much rather do for others than do for myself. Ann Sparke, 4-H Volunteer

In honor of National Volunteer Month, the Kansas 4-H Foundation would like to highlight three 4-H volunteers

Dr. Munson attributes much of her success in networking to her experience with 4-H.

“For me, getting to know new people across the state is one of the real pluses,” Dr. Munson said. “If you’re interested in broadening your social network, there’s no better place to do it than in 4-H.”

Mary Kay Munson

greets the

Academic Year Students, Naoto Joboji

and Anna Tsuno

right) at the Witchita airport on August 5 of last year. Dr. Munson coordinated the Academic Year Program from 2003-2023, and her main responsibility was to manage academic year-long hosting for the students that Kansas 4-H hosts.

I feel like I grew as an adult leading and being a volunteer. Shawn Delker, 4-H Volunteer
Dr. (left) 2023 Kansas 4-H (middle left) (middle


Shawn Delker could express her time volunteering for Kansas 4-H in one word: fun.

Memories flood Delker’s mind as she thinks back to times when she was able to use her creativity to have fun with her children and others in their local 4-H club.

“I had a bunch of cooking kids over here in my kitchen and we were experimenting with muffins trying to see that if you over-stirred the muffins that they would peak too much and some of the boys really got into the over-stirring,” Delker said as she laughed at the memory.

Delker recollects the year that she and her husband David created a skit for their children’s 4-H club about a demonstration on how not to do demonstrations. Delker wrote a script, and her husband made horrible posters. On the day of the demonstration, Delker’s husband, who she describes as “a real ham,” started pretending to make cookies with rocks they had painted to


Ann Sparke, who has been volunteering with Kansas 4-H for 50 years, reflects that her biggest extension program was Bread in a Bag, where a Topeka teacher asked if she’d be willing to teach her 3rd-grade students how to make bread in a bag. Sparke agreed to the teacher’s request but knew she’d need volunteers to help her.

Sparke was sure that Bread in a Bag would be a failure. A big mess. It was a total experiment, and Sparke had little confidence in its success. But her two volunteers insisted that they could persist and make this project successful.

They didn’t have a single failure.

“I’m pretty proud of that program, but there’s no way I could have done it without volunteers,” Sparke said.

Sparke continued the Bread in a Bag program for years, making around 200 loaves a year in Morris

resemble burnt cookies.

“The kids loved it so much that when we moved to [Salina], we did it in another club,” Delker said.

In recent years, Delker has traveled to five or six different counties to judge arts and crafts, clothing, crochet, and fiber arts among other competitions. She is also a judge at the State Fair. Judging is one of Delker’s favorite ways to get involved in Kansas 4-H.

“I get to see the kids and really talk to them about their craft and the direction they’re going and help them with questions that they might have about how to make a quilt and how to put on a binding and those kinds of things,” Delker said. “I’ve really enjoyed doing that, working directly with kids right on the county level.”

Delker expresses how impactful volunteering can be for a person. She realizes that in today’s world, finding spare time is more difficult than in the past. But despite this societal change, she believes that taking on even the smallest volunteering jobs can have positive outcomes.

“I watch my daughter struggle,” Delker said. “She has to make decisions about what can she do [to volunteer] and what can she not do and still work full time, and it’s hard, it’s really hard. But I’d say take on the tiniest little roles. Get your feet wet and you’ll have a blast.”

County, Marion County and local schools.

Growing up, Sparke’s parents exhibited the volunteerism that she mirrored later in life. Her mother was a foods leader whose talent was well-known in their local 4-H community. She took every chance she found to help others. Sparke continues to use the cooking and baking skills she learned from her mother in her volunteer work.

Through Kansas 4-H, Sparke has volunteered as an extension agent for eight years and for the Clovia 4-H Scholarship House as an alum. Now, Sparke is heavily involved in God’s Kids, an after-school program through her local Methodist Church. Through her experiences, Sparke recognizes the importance of volunteering and those who do it.

“Never underestimate a volunteer,” Sparke said. “I have so much to be thankful for the

wonderful volunteers in Morris County, and I just love hopping in and doing what needs to be done, probably as a result of their inspiration and my parents’ inspiration.”

Every August, Ann Sparke (pictured on the right) volunteers to set up a reception table for new Clovia members and their families. Shawn Delker judges this 4-H member’s constructed backpack for the clothing construction class at the Reno County fair.

Youth AdvancingGenerosity THE 4-H MISSION


Plains Livewires 4-H Club

Meade County

Meet the 2024 Youth Philanthropy Ambassadors who partner with the Kansas 4-H Foundation to advance youth philanthropy across the state

Langhofer has been a 4-H member for 12 years. She is passionate about agriculture and photography, which she has developed while enrolled in 4-H for 11 years. Langhofer hopes to use her role as a YPA to leave her mark.

“Making an impact on others is important because it continues,” Langhofer said. “As I’m leaving this year, I will be able to hopefully leave an impact on my local community club


Morning Glory 4-H Club

Johnson County

As a 2024 YPA, Rietcheck hopes to be a friendly face that people find approachable. She has held many officer positions in her 10 years of Kansas 4-H. Reitcheck believes her experience in 4-H and her local FFA chapter have prepared her for her role as a YPA.

“Being a really good leader and a representative of 4-H is a big role,” Reitcheck said. “It takes multiple years to build up your leadership skills, so it doesn’t happen overnight.

to be able to continue into the next generation to make our club bigger.”

Langhofer hopes to inspire others and raise awareness about Kansas 4-H as a positive youth development organization. She also volunteers often at her local library and assists in their fundraising efforts. Langhofer finds that philanthropy is important in efforts to spread awareness and truth to the public, and hopes to do so as a YPA.

I know I’ve had plenty of bumps in the road and I think all those officer positions have helped me become that and learn different skills to make me the person I am today.”

Reitcheck has volunteer experience through National Honor Society (NHS) participation, including cleaning up after county fairs and working concessions for basketball games. She is excited to meet new people and make new connections in her role as a YPA.


The Accessibility Fund provides financial support to meet the needs of Kansas youth for both current and future 4-H members. Scan the QR Code to learn more about the Accessibility Fund!

Warren Prawl, 4-H Donor

I have truly been inspired by 4-H youth. Kansas 4-H opens doors for brighter futures. Be sure to
and support 4-H.
A RECENT SNAPSHOT OF 4-H YOUTH PHILANTHROPY 2013 Cool Pool 2015 Stack the Plates 2021 Leadership Adventure Course 2022 Accessibility Fund


Purple Heart 4-H Club

Butler County


Sunflower 4-H Club

Russell County

Barlett has been involved in Kansas 4-H for 10 years and has volunteered at the foodbank with her local 4-H club. She has also volunteered at the Ronald McDonald house and loves incorporating her passion for cooking and baking into volunteering.

“I’m always very high energy, so whenever people talk about 4-H, I’m always able to give some good answers,” Bartlett said. “I’m just always happy to talk about 4-H

Being involved in 4-H is a family tradition for Eck, who’s in the fourth generation of her family to participate in 4-H. She has been a member of her local club for 11 years. Eck emphasizes the importance of staying positive and hopes to spread this mindset to her local 4-H club.

“Anything you do, there’s gonna be something that’s hard,” Eck said. “I love to just try to keep people happy

because I see the little kids in our club and the older kids in our club and I just like watching them change so much, so it’s really just a great organization.”

As a YPA, Bartlett hopes to open doors for those who don’t know about 4-H and to highlight the aspects of 4-H that aren’t centered around agriculture. She emphasizes that everyone can find something they enjoy in 4-H.

and positive about what they’re doing and make sure that they can see the bright because through every tunnel there’s brightness.”

Eck is also adamant about the importance of proper nutrition and is passionate about sharing this knowledge with others. She has volunteered at local food pantries and hopes to keep up the volunteer work to ensure that children in Kansas have suitable meals.

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At Rock Springs Ranch, campers in the teen leadership program create friendships that can last a lifetime.



When Anthony Pearson — or Mr. Pearson, as the students in an Eisenhower Middle School 8th grade classroom call him — is asked to share his math expertise, he’s prepared to use his skill set to help these students succeed.

Anthony Pearson, a current K-State freshman majoring in secondary education, spends two days a week in this classroom helping students finish homework and stay on task. These responsibilities require leadership skills that Pearson says he acquired as a Counselor in Training (CIT) at Rock Springs Ranch in the summer of 2022.

The Rock Springs Ranch teen leadership program is for rising high school sophomores through seniors and is split into two sections — Leaders in Training (LITs) and Counselors in Training (CITs).

While these campers still get to experience the excitement of camp activities like horses and archery, they also spend their days learning leadership skills including giving and receiving feedback, teambuilding, and conflict

resolution, among others.

“We get put with our counselor who we’re paired with and then we just get to work with them and it’s honestly a direct application of what we learned in the morning, so that’s really cool,” Pearson said. “You learn something in the morning and then you get to test how it works in the afternoon.”

It’s like if you were given instruction on how to play guitar, and then you never actually played the guitar, you’re not going to learn. Like you actually have to practice leadership to become good at leadership.

Current Creighton University freshman Elizabeth Anderson, a CIT in the summer of 2022, believes that the teen leadership program at Rock

Springs is one of the best ways for youth to learn leadership skills because the program focuses on practice and implementation.

“To actually go into action and put those skills into motion, it’s a whole different experience because you get to see that these techniques work,” Anderson said. “It’s like if you were given instruction on how to play guitar, and then you never actually played the guitar, you’re not going to learn. Like you actually have to practice leadership to become good at leadership.”

LITs and CITs work on these skills the entire week they attend Rock Springs, allowing ample time to practice leadership and grow with fellow campers. K-State junior Emily Lanie, who was the teen leadership counselor in 2023 and will be returning to Rock Springs as the Staff Support Leader in summer 2024, had the opportunity to watch this growth in her teen campers.

“In the camp setting, I think it takes away the school aspect, the grown-up aspect, and allows them to be their more authentic self and really understand

The teen leadership program at Rock Springs Ranch allows teens to practice leadership, teamwork and generosity while creating strong friendships

RIGHT | In the summer of 2023, this group of Rock Springs Leaders in Training (LITs) volunteered at the Flint Hills Breadbasket in Manhattan, a food bank that they helped clean, stock products and made “to-go” bags for families.

their strengths,” Lanie said. “I feel like when you can be really yourself and learn things you’re good at, it gives you a lot more confidence, and as leaders, you need to have confidence in yourself.”

While individual growth is a major topic in the teen leadership program, the value of teamwork is not overlooked.

We really just helped each other try to become the best versions of ourselves and try to become the best leaders that we could while we were doing community service or when we were with our kids or whenever we worked together.

Samantha Johnson, a 2023 Rock Springs CIT, recalls that she was nervous before her camp session because she feared she’d be left to fend for herself watching younger campers. But when Johnson finally experienced the teen leadership

program at Rock Springs, she found that she had ample support not just from the Rock Springs staff, but also from her fellow CITs.

“We really just helped each other try to become the best versions of ourselves and try to become the best leaders that we could while we were doing community service or when we were with our kids or whenever we worked together,” Johnson said.

While Pearson, Anderson and Johnson have continued to use the leadership skills they learned at Rock Springs in varying career paths, each former CIT stated that the friendships they made during their week in the teen leadership program were unlike others they experienced in their separate lives.

“There’s this idea that friendships are built on shared interest, but they’re more built on shared experiences,” Anderson said. “And this, you’re going through the normal camp experiences, but there’s another level of intensity to them because you play a larger role in it, you’re helping lead other kids. So I feel that you go through that shared experience, and it makes people who would probably not talk very much in real life close.”

For more information about how you can provide youth access to camp,

Lindsey Pannbacker Vice President of Development 785-775-0123 Register for summer camp and leadership camp by scanning the QR code!

SAMANTHA JOHNSON ABOVE | As part of the Counselor in Training (CIT) Program, CITs spend their afternoons at Rock Springs Ranch practicing leadership skills with the younger campers.

TO KANSAS 4-H stay connected

The Kansas 4-H family wants to celebrate when Kansas 4-H alumni and friends accomplish great things. Stay connected by sharing your updates and achievements with us at


After nearly 18 years of service to the Kansas 4-H Foundation, Administrative Assistant Rhonda Baer retired from her position at the Kansas 4-H Foundation in January. Rhonda is looking forward to continuing her music ministry and participating in church and community volunteer efforts. However, her most significant retirement reward is more Grandma time!


After working at Rock Springs Ranch since she was 14 years old, Allen County 4-H alumna Jennie Coup retired from her position as the business manager in December. She started part time in the kitchen and after completing business school, she became the first secretary Rock Springs ever had. Coup was no stranger to Rock Springs when she started full time. She attended 4-H camp as a young girl. In retirement, she is enjoying spending time with her husband, Guy, and her children and grandchildren.


David and Shawn Delker celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in September 2023. They met as summer staff at Rock Springs Ranch in 1973 and later, got engaged near the water wheel at Simons Spring Plaza. Through the years, David and Shawn have held many 4-H roles including community club leaders, project leader, parent, donor, grandparent, fair judge and many more. They have three children and three grandchildren.

David currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Kansas 4-H Foundation.


Galen & Lori Fink were named the 2024 Stockman of the Year in February. The award is presented annually by the Livestock & Meat Industry Council (LMIC). Galen and Lori (Hagenbuch) grew up on eastern Kansas farms, learning the importance of sound decisions in cattle judging, business and leadership. Lori was a member of the Reno Bobwhite 4-H Club in Leavenworth County and Galen was a member of the Hiattville 4-H Club in Bourbon County. The Kansas 4-H Foundation will start recognizing 4-H members who have recently passed away in a new “In Memoriam” section published in our Fall issue each year. If you would like your loved one listed please let us know by:

Scan QR code: Mail in: 1680 Charles Pl • Suite 100 • Manhattan, KS 66502

Call: 785.775.0123


*Please include their first and last name, most recent community, and 4-H involvement.

David and Shawn Delker Jennie Coup Rhonda Baer
Lori and Galen Fink


Allen County 4-H alumnus Dr. Teresa L. Clounch has been recognized as a 2024 “Pillars of the Profession” by the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) Foundation. This is one of the foundation’s highest honors and recognizes Clounch’s outstanding contributions to student affairs, higher education and NASPA over her career.

Clounch currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Kansas 4-H Foundation.


Kansas 4-H Foundation Trustee and Douglas County 4-H alumnus, Dr. Kent Bradley, was recently recognized in the Wichita Business Journal as an extraordinary healthcare professional in the Wichita area. In the article, he discusses some of his greatest professional achievements, challenges, and more. Our organization is grateful to have leaders in the healthcare industry OR leaders of healthcare like Dr. Bradley serving our 4-H community.

Zyanya Bravo, 2023 Kansas delegate to South Korea, won first place in both of States’ 4-H’s Contests for Outbound Delegates — a photo contest and an essay contest. Zyanya is a 4-H member in Logan County, Golden Prairie Extension District, and the first Kansan to go to South Korea on a States’ 4-H Exchange. At only 13-yearsold, she is currently speaking to groups in the Golden Prairie District area, sharing her experience and promoting exchange programs.


Harper County 4-H Alumna Brenda Austenfeld was named the Insurance Woman of the Year by the Association of Professional Insurance Women (APIW). She will be recognized in May in New York City. She has been in the insurance industry for more than 30 years as a broker. She is currently a member of the executive team for RT Specialty and serves as the CEO & President of National Property.

“I felt lots of gratitude, excitement, and accomplishment winning these awards, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the 4-H Exchange Program staff and amazing delegates, who are now some of my best friends,” Zyanya said. “Without any of them I don’t think the experience would have been as fun!”


This year, 24 Kansas 4-H members represent the sunflower state at the 2023 National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, GA. This educational experience made a big impact, with an agenda full of workshops, speakers, community service, sight seeing and fun.

Will you support National 4-H Congress delegates by providing sponsorship dollars to Kansas youth this year?

Brenda attributes the years she spent in Kansas 4-H to teaching her much about leadership. Brenda served on the Kansas 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees and she is also a former member of the Hill Toppers 4-H club in Harper County.


Rock Springs Ranch received the 2023 Kansas Bankers Association Award at the Geary County Conservation District annual meeting in January. This award recognized the work to preserve natural resources through conservation projects as well as provide conservation education to youth and adults across the state.

Projects have often been planned and use the technical support and resources of agencies such as the Conservation District, Natural Resource Conservation Service, K-State Research and Extension, the Kansas Forest Service and Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

Jared Causby, Director of Operations at Rock Springs Ranch receives The Geary County Conservation Award. Dr. Kent Bradley 4-H youth decorate posters to cheer on the ‘Cats during 4-H Day at the K-State Women’s Basketball game on January 13, 2024. Brenda Austenfeld Dr. Teresa Clounch WILDCAT WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POSTERS MEET OUR NEW TRUSTEES! Lisa Pfannenstiel-Garrison David Delker PHOTO AWARD FOR DELEGATE ZYANYA “Z” BRAVO Zyanya Bravo
Contact Callie Lehman at or call 785-775-0123 to sponsor a National 4-H Congress delegate today!

UPDATE Clovia House

On behalf of the Kansas 4-H Board of Trustees, thank you to all Clovia alumnae who supported the recent fundraising effort to purchase the Clovia house.

It is our sincere hope that the undergraduate members and alumnae feel excited and empowered to own the house and chart a new course for the future.

The mission of Kansas 4-H is to design and deliver programming for youth beginning at age 7 and concluding at age 18. We made this decision to ensure the philanthropic work of the Foundation aligns with the focus and needs outlined by the State 4-H program.

We plan to continue to accept

gifts on Clovia’s behalf, manage their alumnae database, receipt charitable gifts, and send gift acknowledgments as long as these services are needed.

We are so pleased that the Women of Clovia will continue to call 1200 Pioneer Lane home and appreciate the generous support for the collegiate student organization.

18 THE PLEDGE KANSAS 4-H FOUNDATION OFFICE architecture | landscape architecture | urban planning | interiors

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