4-H Features




Dr. Kerri Day-Keller is a great example of a 4-H alumna who attributes much of her professional success to the life skills she gained as a 4-H member. Dr. Keller is the Executive Director of the Kansas State University Career Center. In this position, she provides leadership and management for Career Center employees as they facilitate career readiness for the entire K-State Community.

Dr. Keller was a 9-year 4-H member of the Neosho Valley 4-H Club in Morris County and a Key Award recipient. As a 4-H member, she enjoyed many projects including sewing and foods. One of her favorite projects was working with livestock. She fondly remembers the year she earned Grand Champion with her steer at the county fair. Dr. Keller used her cattle show earnings to help pay her way through college.

“The time and effort of getting up and doing chores in the morning, and taking care of my animals truly paid off,” said Keller.

One of the most valuable life skills she learned through 4-H was record keeping, which she believes strengthened her writing skills throughout her life. Dr. Keller still has her record books and holds them dearly as a reminder of all of her accomplishments in 4-H, the animals she showed, and the outfits she made.

She also valued learning Robert’s Rules of Order.

“Robert’s Rules of Order was never something I really thought about as a 4-H member, but as an adult, I use it frequently as a member of several nonprofit boards,” she said.

Dr. Keller has shown great leadership as a 4-H alumna and continues to use her 4-H skills to impact and mentor others.

“There were a lot of adult leaders, that really made a positive impression,” she said. “4-H really instilled in me a drive to achieve my goals. It helped me want to improve and be better in my pursuits.”

Now Kerri has a career helping others grow to achieve their dreams. The 4-H impact in her life has come full circle, from mentee to mentor.



Entrepreneurs and Lawyers

Hear how 4-H led to success in a former member's career.

Travis Lenker

Q: How has 4-H impacted your professional career?

A: 4-H has had a positive impact on my career in many ways. To pick a few: I'm a more effective leader thanks to my experience at the club level as well as various county and state opportunities. I'm a better speaker after years of 4-H training. And I'm more equipped to handle professional demands having learned the benefits of planning and organization from aspects of every 4-H project.

Q: What life skills did you learn from 4-H that you use to this day?

A: As an entrepreneur and practicing lawyer, I use all kinds of skills that I developed in the 4-H program, such as public speaking, budgeting, project planning and organization, and even parliamentary procedure. More important, though, are the principles that underlie the entire 4-H program, such as good character, teamwork, and service to others.

Q: What club and county did you belong to?

A: I was a member of the Southwest 4-H Club in Pratt County.

Q: What was your favorite 4-H Project?

A: My favorite 4-H project was market beef. That will come as a surprise to my parents, who probably remember only my annual complaints about the work of caring for two steers and preparing for the county fair. But every year, those complaints disappeared into a feeling of real accomplishment at having nurtured and trained two 1,200-pound animals. The project teaches so many valuable life lessons and skills; it's a study in hard work and perseverance, the importance of presentation, and the value of help from family and friends. (A check in the mail with the proceeds of the livestock sale doesn't hurt, either...)

Q: What was the most impactful learning experience you had during your years as a 4-H member?

A: The most significant experience for me was not one moment in time, but instead was seeing the example set by adults who had participated in 4-H as children and gone on to serve as leaders, volunteers, and generous donors. My 4-H experience was made possible by a dedicated group of generous people who took a personal interest in my growth and development. Just like me, all 4-H'ers benefit from healthy, supportive relationships with adults who invest in them and are committed to their well-being. It's an incredible lesson in the power of community.

Q: If you could speak to a current 4-H member, what would you say to them?

A: Life will take unexpected twists and turns. Your career path likely will be very different from the one you envision. But the skills and lessons you're learning in 4-H are important and will stick with you no matter where you go. Pick projects you enjoy, form meaningful friendships, and most importantly, have fun!

Q: As an alumnus of Kansas 4-H, how do you stay involved and support Kansas 4-H? Would you recommend that other alumni should also stay involved and support Kansas 4-H? Why?

A: My wife, Erin, and I live in Chicago, Illinois with our son, Jack. Although we are not able to assist with Kansas 4-H programs in person, we support the 4-H Foundation through philanthropic gifts. We also recently had the opportunity to have lunch at Rock Springs 4-H Ranch, and the meatloaf is just as good as I remembered.

Meet the Interns – 6/29/17

Ben Yarnell
Junior in Journalism and Digital Media
Southwind District – Erie

1. What inspired you to apply for an internship with the Kansas 4-H Foundation?
I applied to be an intern because, as iron sharpens iron, I wanted to sharpen the Kansas 4-H Foundation while being sharpened myself. I was looking for the opportunity to give back to an organization that means something to me, while also being able to develop and learn new skills I can carry on into a future career. I found the opportunity to do both here at the Foundation, and as they say, the rest is history.

2. Fill in the blank. _____ Grows Here.
Communication Grows Here

3. What skills did you gain during your time as a 4-H member that you continue to use today?
If I had all the time in the world, I still wouldn’t be able to list all the things 4-H has taught me in my life. However, I would say that the most important thing I still use today is interpersonal communication. No matter what you do or where you go in life, you will always have to interact with someone else, and it isn’t always easy. 4-H taught me about working with personalities different from my own, and how to deal with those personalities if the situation gets a little sticky.

4. What does philanthropy mean to you?
Philanthropy is the act of bettering the community you reside in, no matter where you may happen to be. From cleaning up Neosho County roads as a young 4-Her to raising over seven thousand dollars worth of toys for the Manhattan Salvation Army with my fraternity in the past couple years, I have felt that making an effort to benefit my community should always be a priority in my life. In a world where selfishness and greed can abound, we need more people learning about the importance of philanthropy from a program like 4-H.

5. In what ways has this internship allowed you to give back to the 4-H program?
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, one of the basic human psychological needs is recognition. In our work at the Emerald Circle Awards Banquet and Friends of 4-H Day, I have seen that need fulfilled for hard working 4-Hers receiving state awards as well as donors being recognized for their generosity to the 4-H program. I can tell it’s something they won’t soon forget, and being able to help provide that experience to 4-Hers and donors alike is something I am happy to give back to the 4-H program.

6. What message would you like to share with Kansas 4-H donors?
Every donation made to the Kansas 4-H Foundation makes a difference, no matter the amount. Some people think that because they only have $5 to spare, they shouldn’t even bother because the Foundation handles donations hundreds of times bigger than that, but they’re wrong. Even the smallest donations can pool together with other donations to provide scholarships, opportunities, and benefits to 4-H’ers all over Kansas. Never let your capacity to give make you hesitate, in the end, every dollar is highly appreciated.

Mikey Hughes
Sophomore in Ag Communications
Local 4-H Program: Barton County

1. What inspired you to apply for an internship with the Kansas 4-H Foundation?
I know a few of the previous interns, and they all really enjoyed working with the Foundation. I wanted the opportunity to impact Kansas 4-H on a state level. The Foundation does amazing things for Kansas 4-H, and I’m overjoyed to help with that.

2. Fill in the blank. _____ Grows Here.
Persistence Grows Here.

3. What skills did you gain during your time as a 4-H member that you continue to use today?

I did a wide range of projects. The beef project taught me about responsibility and commitment. I had to work with my steer every day and make sure he was well taken care of. Forestry helped me gain knowledge about Kansas and the environment. Leadership helped me grow my comfort zone and become comfortable in front of people.

4. What does philanthropy mean to you?
Philanthropy is the desire to help others through your actions. 4-H has given me multiple opportunities to make a difference. I am currently a co-chair of the state 48 Hours of 4-H committee and I love helping people create plans that positively impact the lives of others.

5. In what ways has this internship allowed you to give back to the 4-H program?
This internship has helped me learn why it is important to give back to 4-H. Without the amazing donors and alumni, Kansas 4-H would not be nearly as impactful. It also taught me about the fast-paced world of event planning.

6. What message would you like to share with Kansas 4-H donors?
Thank you for donating. You have made a major difference in the lives of every Kansas 4-H’er. I can feel the impact whenever I visit Rock Springs, come home to Clovia after a long day of classes, or receive a scholarship that allows me to attend Kansas State. Everyone deserves the opportunities 4-H has given me, and you, as a donor, help give those opportunities to everyone.

Janae McKinney
Sophomore in Ag Communications
Local 4-H Program: McPherson County

1. What inspired you to apply for an internship with the Kansas 4-H Foundation?

I love to work with anything involving 4-H and had heard wonderful things from previous Kansas 4-H Foundation Interns. I was thrilled when I found out I would be able to intern and make my own memories here at the Foundation. I want to connect with past and present 4-H members to help grow Kansas 4-H as a program and make a difference on the state-level.

2. Fill in the blank. _____ Grows Here.
Passion Grows Here.

3. What skills did you gain during your time as a 4-H member that you continue to use today?

I grew up in the Dog Project in 4-H and I credit many of my achievements to my time spent training my dogs. I didn’t just learn how to make a dog sit or stay but how to be responsible and a leader among my peers. 4-H does a great job of teaching you practical skills while laying the foundation for life skills along the way.

4. What does philanthropy mean to you?
Philanthropy means giving back and helping those who may not be able to help themselves. At Alpha of Clovia, we host several philanthropy events promoting the American Cancer Society and raising money for a great cause.

5. In what ways has this internship allowed you to give back to the 4-H program?
This internship has allowed me to see a different perspective of the 4-H program. I can now see where donors fit in and why it is so important to grow Kansas 4-H. Donors who had great 4-H careers, want to keep a legacy of 4-H going, even if it means still donating when they are not here. To me that is an incredible donation for which we could not thank them enough and what allows the Foundation to make more opportunities for 4-H youth everyday.

6. What message would you like to share with Kansas 4-H donors?
Thank you to all the Kansas 4-H Donors. Kansas 4-H thrives because of your generous support. I have benefited from two scholarships because of your donation. I hope you continue to help keep our state 4-H program growing if you are able to. I take pride in knowing we have one of the best 4-H programs in the nation and it is because of alumni who are always giving back whether in time or monetary donation.

Clovia Welcomes New House Mom – 8/27/16

Moving into a house full of 61 college girls seemed a little less nerve-racking for new Clovia Scholarship House Mom, Nancy Little, after her previous occupation as owner of a daycare in Rossville, KS for the past 13 years.

Applications to apply for house mom were released in April and Clovia resident, MaKayla Crow, thought of Little.

“When I was growing up, Nancy was a part of my 4-H club, and when the house mother position opened, I was trying to think of people who would be great for the job and she popped into my mind,” Crow said. “I knew that with her go-getter attitude she would be very helpful around the house and would always be thinking of great new ideas.”

Over the next few months, Crow said she continually brought up the house mom application to Little. Crow’s persistency prevailed.

“MaKayla would constantly tell me to apply and say I would be a great addition to the house. With my youngest leaving for college and husband being on the road a lot for work, I decided this would be a great way to continue to make a difference and live in an active household,” Little said.

Clovia accepted applications through July and interviewed applicants in August when Little was offered the position. After accepting her new role, Little moved into the house shortly before the semester began and as the Clovia residents were arriving.

“Clovia will benefit from her drive and passion to get things done and her desire to learn more about the ladies she lives with,” Karen Schneck, Clovia President, said. “This is something totally new for her, but she is taking everything in stride and doing wonderful at it.”

Even though living in a scholarship house is a new experience for Little, 4-H and its values have always been part of her life. She grew up in Hoyt, KS with her two older brothers and all were active members of the Hoyt Livewires 4-H Club.

In addition to her time as a 4-H member, she served on the Jackson County Extension Council and spent 25 years as a 4-H parent with her four children, as well as served as assistant county 4-H ambassador leader and project leader for fiber arts foods, clothing construction and buymanship.

As Little settles into her new home in Clovia, she has optimistic views for the year.

“I’m excited to see what the semester holds for Clovia,” Little said. “It is a great group of ladies. They all have a goal in mind for their future. I hope to be here for the girls when they need motherly advice or just someone to laugh with.”

The Kansas 4-H Foundation serves as the landlord for the Clovia Scholarship House, located one-block from the K-State campus. Through Clovia, the Foundation is able to provide an educational opportunity at a reduced cost for students, as well as personal growth, through cooperative living as an extended benefit of 4-H participation.

Through the generosity of Clovia alumni and Foundation donors, the Kansas 4-H Foundation has been able to coordinate significant improvements and upgrades to the house. Most recent projects include the complete renovation of the bathroom and kitchen areas and a remodeling facelift for the large study area.

For more information about the Clovia Scholarship House, visit http://www.alphaofclovia.org/.

Three New Scholarships. Three Unique Stories. – 8/10/16

Last year, The Kansas 4-H Foundation announced three new scholarships available for Kansas 4-H members and alumni to further their education. These new scholarships include the Evelyn N. Nelson Educational Scholarship, the Lorane Havely Minis Scholarship and the Glen and Marge Neely Family Scholarship. Each of these scholarships has their own stories and reasons why they were established. All, of which, show how important the 4-H program was to either themselves, or their families.

Evelyn Nelson was an active 4-H member in Sedgwick County and excelled in the clothing and construction project. She graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics. While attending K-State, Evelyn was a Clovia member. Clovia and 4-H gave her lifelong friends, leadership and communication skills that have greatly helped her throughout life’s journeys.

“This scholarship will help 4-H and Clovia members further their education because I know how difficult it is to afford college,” Nelson said as she explained that her parents couldn’t afford to send her to college, so she spent five years working at a bank to earn money.

The recipient of the Evelyn N. Nelson Educational Scholarship is Brianna Zweimiller. Brianna was a 12-year 4-H member of the Busy Beavers 4-H Club from Lyon County. In her family, it was a tradition to be involved with 4-H; so when she was able to join, she didn’t hesitate to get as much out of her 4-H experience as possible. During her time at Kansas State University, Brianna has stayed active with Collegiate 4-H and Alpha of Clovia. She came to K-State with her heart set on a degree in Human Resource Management, but after her first year, she realized that wasn’t the right career path for her.

“I realized that I simply could never give up my passion for 4-H and learning. That’s part of what made me change my major and pursue my other dream – teaching,” Zweimiller said. “Every time I gave a project talk or demonstration, I had been practicing for my future classroom. I am so glad 4-H gave me those experiences and helped me find my calling.”

Lorane Havely Minis began her 4-H career at an early age and lead to an ambitious career. When she was young, her family moved to Kansas and became an active participant in the foundation of a 4-H club. Lorane attended Kansas State University on scholarships, one of which was from the Kansas 4-H Foundation. She later established her role as a pioneering woman executive in corporate America. Then, she became the top-ranking woman executive at two Fortune 500 companies when women were often denied these opportunities. The Lorane Havely Minis Scholarship was established to provide support to a Kansas 4-H member or alumnus.

Rogan Tokach was selected to receive the Lorane Havely Minis Scholarship for the 2016-2017 academic year. He was involved in several different projects during his 11 years in his Dickinson County 4-H club. Some of those projects included forestry, cat, dog, rocketry, foods, photography, leadership, self-determined and meat goats. In the meat goat project, he would buy and breed the animals and then show the offspring. He even helped younger 4-H members by selling them bucks to show at spring shows and county fairs. In self-determined, he received two beehives from his sister and then his project took off.

“I established a service project called Honey for Heifer, where I sold the honey I collected, then used that money to buy hives through Heifer International for those in need,” Tokach said. So far, he has contributed over 150 hives to the cause.

Family has always been important to Glen and Marge Neely, which is why Marge established the Glen and Marge Neely Family Scholarship. The Neely’s believe in the 4-H program’s value in developing young men and women, promoting good citizenship and strengthening family bonds. Their six children were all 4-H members in Neosho County where they all judged livestock and participated in several other projects including foods and nutrition, clothing and home decorating.

“My neighbor had established a scholarship of his own so I wanted to start one, too, since 4-H runs so deep in our family,” Neely said.

Ty Nienke, from the Elkhorn 4-H Club in Ellsworth County, is the recipient of the Glen and Marge Neely Family Scholarship. He is currently a junior at Kansas State University pursuing a degree in Agriculture Education. He is serving as the treasurer for the Agriculture Education Club at K-State, where their goal is to support groups and organizations including FFA, 4-H and K-State Research and Extension.

“The 4-H program means the world to us all. By investing in 4-Hers, we invest in ourselves. Those members will be our future doctors, teachers, and everything in-between. Thank you for investing in today’s young people,” Zweimiller exclaimed.

The Kansas 4-H Foundation was established in 1952 to provide services and private sector support to Kansas 4-H. The Foundation owns and operates the Rock Springs 4-H Center, owns the Clovia Scholarship House at Kansas State University and provides private 4-H funding for grants, awards, trips, internships and scholarships. If you would like more information regarding how to establish your own scholarship, please contact the Kansas 4-H Foundation at (785) 532-5881 or mschrader@kansas4hfoundation.org.