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Kansas 4-H Celebrates State Project Winners

By Annika Wiebers, K-State Research & Extension


MANHATTAN, Kan. – It takes more than just skill in a project area for a Kansas 4-H member to earn the title of ‘State Project Winner.’

Each year, 4-H youth of all ages submit Kansas Project Report forms, and one state winner is selected from the senior division (ages 14-18) for each project. In addition to learning new project skills, these youth must also demonstrate growth and strength in leadership, organization, civic engagement, and above all, communication.

The Kansas 4-H Youth Development celebrates the top achievers in each project area at the Emerald Circle Awards Banquet, hosted by the Kansas 4-H Foundation. Winners are selected based on their project report forms, which are records created by the 4-H members of their most significant accomplishments in a specific project area throughout the year.

Project report forms progress through county, regional and statewide screenings before the state winner in each project area is recognized at Emerald Circle.

In previous years, Emerald Circle was attended by state project winners, their families, extension agents, and some of Kansas 4-H’s biggest donors, but this year, organizers merged Kansas 4-H Discovery Days and Emerald Circle — which took place at the same time at K-State.

Approximately 200 additional 4-H youth attended the event, which included the recognition of state project winners, keynote speakers and Call Hall ice cream. The change, organizer said, was partially driven by the goal of increasing awareness of the state project awards and giving the younger members something to aspire to.

“We have an impressive set of young people who have accomplished so much in their 4-H project work,” said Beth Hinshaw, a 4-H Youth Development specialist in the southeast region. “Being named a project award winner is one of the highest individual achievements within Kansas 4-H. All it takes is one spark to ignite that passion in a 4-H project that can then create so many learning opportunities and even the possibility of a future career.”

Being a state project winner indicates prior excellence and points to future potential, Hinshaw said. Youth must display leadership skills and hearts for service by organizing events like community service projects, project meetings to share their expertise with younger 4-H members, and other unique efforts.

These project winners are also eligible to attend the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta in November.

The list of this year’s project winners, in alphabetical order by category, are:

Beef – Wyatt Fechter, Howard

Civic Engagement – Aleah Staggenborg, Marysville

Clothing and Textiles – Claire Mullen, Lawrence

Communications – Kyle Ruehle, Dodge City

Dairy – John Langill, Seneca

Dog Care and Training – Callie Jones, Abilene

Entomology – Maddix Small, Neodesha

Fiber Arts – Amy Crow, Wichita

Foods and Nutrition – Elizabeth Seeger, Moundridge

Health and Wellness – Sukesh Kamesh, Kingman

Horse – Natalee Bray, Scandia

Leadership – Claire Walker-Helsel, Wallace

Meat Goats – Adelle Higbie, Overbrook

Performing Arts – Alex Young, Marion

Photography – Eric Shapland, Scott City

Plant Science – Adam Snowball, Abilene

Poultry – Kaylen Langhofer, Plains

Rabbits – Clara Johnson, Nortonville

Reading – Acacia Pracht, Lindsborg

Sheep – Tyler Gillespie, Colony

Shooting Sports – Shelby Smith, Fredonia

STEM – Josiah Stockebrand, Yates Center

STEM: Energy Management – Ashton Bearly, Ludell

Swine – Jenna DeRouchey, Wamego

Visual Arts – Daegen DeGraff, Concordia

Wildlife – Lynnea Nelson, Carbondale

Wood Science – Morgan Vogts, Waverly