Outdoor Kansas for Kids (O.K. Kids)

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There was a time when Kansas kids took the outdoors for granted. They just seemed to grow up outside. That time was spent working on the family farm, chasing frogs down by the ponds, wandering along the creeks and rivers, and scaring up rabbits along the fence rows. Kansas kids were no strangers to sunrises and sunsets, nor to the feel of wind, rain, or snow on their faces. Values learned from these times—responsibility, self-reliance, hard work and sharing—carried over into the lives they led.

 

O.K. Kids Mission

To provide multiple outdoor recreation opportunities for Kansas youth with adult partnering and mentoring to encourage outdoor recreational opportunities, and promote and provide an active lifestyle as an alternative to sedentary activities.

 

Program Scope

O.K. Kids covers the entire state of Kansas. Primary sites are at the Kansas State Parks, but other organizations and venues such as City and County Parks and Recreation Departments and private sites also hold O.K. Kids events. 

 

O.K. Kids Program

Across the state of Kansas each year, over 40 sites sign up to host the O.K. Kids Program. Participation has steadily grown through 2014 with over 13,000 Kansas youth and their parents/grandparents enjoying their day outdoors at different sites throughout Kansas. Events are free to all participants and open to all.

The O.K. Kids Program offers the opportunity for participants to experience the outdoor beauty of Kansas and to learn a little about its natural resources and wildlife through games and activities.

 

Each site determines the specific activities it will offer participants based on the site’s resources and perceived community interests and needs.  Kansas Wildscape provides the operating manuals, event signage, free participant caps or t-shirts, gifts, prizes and overall organizational, promotional and marketing support.

 

Kids participate in outdoor games and activities including:

·       fishing derbies

·       fishing clinics

·       horseshoes

·       scavenger hunts

·       sack races

·       archery

·       bird watching

·       birdhouse building

·       hiking

·       outdoor cooking contests

All events are free and provide a great way for families to spend time together outdoors. For many of these Kansas kids, this O.K. Kids Day will be an introduction to the beauty and enjoyment of the outdoors, for others a reawakening or reinforcing of their outdoor interests.

 

O.K. Kids Program Impact & Involvement

The first year of the program was 2001, and was limited to a single day of activities at every Kansas State Park.  Between 4,000 and 5,000 attended the first O.K. Kids Day.  As the program has grown, it has become an annual program with most events held between May and September with over 14,000 youth and their families in attendance. To date, Kansas Wildscape has invested over $150,000 in our O.K.Kids program to help sites get started, promoted, and growing rapidly for years to come. 

Kansas Wildscape understands that this is a generation of children full of technology, constant activities and expectations, with strict boundaries set by parents and society to protect, and a shrinking sensory world. Today’s children are not “missing” nature, because they cannot miss something they have never truly had. It is our goal to help show our Kansas children the beauty of nature, an appreciation for nature, and a desire to seek out more nature in their life. By making this impact, we hope to help a child find a place of imagination, a place of fantasy, a place of peace, a place of discovery, a place of freedom, a place of privacy, and a place of transformation.

Below you will find 2014 O.K. Kids Day events throughout the state. Included is the name of the event as well as a contact number for more information (time, location, activities, age group, etc.). If the name of the city involved is not part of the event name, it is included after the event name.

April:

22 - Cross Timbers State Park Earth Day, Toronto Lake - (620) 637-2213

26 - Cheney State Park OKkids Day - (316) 299-8801

26 - Timber Ridge Adventure Center, Olathe - (913) 856-8849

30 - NW KS Conservation Alliance Kids’ Conservation Roundup, Thomas Co. - (785) 899-3070 ext. 3

May

3 - Webster State Park OKKids Day and Leo Bird Memorial Event - (785) 425-6775

3 – Pittsburg’s OKKids Day, Lakeside Park (620) 231-8310

4 – Winfield’s O.K. Kids Fishing Derby - (620) 221-2160

10 - OKKids Day at OJ Watson Park, Wichita – (316) 529-9940

10 – Meade State Park OKKids Day – (620) 873-2572

24 - Great Plains Nature Center "Blast from the Past", Wichita (316) 683-5499

30 – Baldwin City OKKids Day, Baldwin City Lake – (785) 764-0200

June

2-5 Johnson Co. Parks & Recreation Fishing Camp with Cops n Bobbers – (913) 208-1920

6 - Girls Scouts of the Kansas Heartland “Smores ‘n More”, King Lake of Emporia – (620)794-3789

7 – Annual Memorial Fishing Kids’ Fishing Derby, Pomona State Park – (785)448-4439

7 – Spring Hill Family Fishing Day, Melvin Murry Park – (913) 592-2214

7 - Fall River State Park Earth Day - (620) 637-2213

7 – Earth Day at Fall River State Park – (620) 637-2213

7 – Sgt. Jerry Mills Jr. Fishing Derby, Veteran’s Memorial Lake at Arkansas City – (620) 441-4300

7 - Turner Rec Commission O.K.Kids Day Fishing Derby, Pierson Park - (913) 287-2111

7 - 10th Annual Glenn Elder State Park Youth Fishing Tournament - (785) 545-3345

7 - Milford Nature Center Kids Fishing Clinic - (785) 238-5323

7 - Dillon Nature Center/Wal-Mart O.K. Kids Fishing Derby, Hutchinson - (620) 663-7411

7 - Prairie Dog State Park OKKids Day - (785) 877 - 2953

14 - C.A.S.T. (Catch a Special Thrill) Cops n Bobbers/Harvey Co. Lake - (913) 208-1920

14 - Wilson State Park O.K. Kids Day - (785) 658-2465

14 - Cops n Bobbers, Cedar Lake, Olathe - (913)208-1920

14 - Cedar Bluff State Park OKKids Outdoor Adventure, Ellis - (785) 726-3212

16 -19 Johnson Co. Parks & Recreation Fishing Camp with Cops n Bobbers, Ernie Miller Park, Olathe – (913) 208-1920

17 - Animal Camp, Macksville Public Library - (620) 348-3555

20 - Cops n Bobbers Edgerton Casting Contest, Edgerton Downtown - (913) 208-1920

22 – Olathe Community Sportsman’s Club Kids Fishing with Cops n Bobbers – (913) 208-1920

28 - Rose Hill Recreation Commission’s O.K. Kids Day, Street Park Pond - (316) 776-9880

28 - Colwich Fishing Day, Colwich Park - (316) 796-0416

July

 4 - Haysville O.K. Kids Fishing Derby, Riggs Park Pond - (316) 529-5922

August

10 - Clinton State Park O.K. Kids Day, Clinton Lake & Lake Henry - (785) 842-8562

13 – Gardner Fishing Derby with Cops n Bobbers, Gardner Lake - (913) 208-1920

23 - Tuttle Creek State Park O.K.Kids Day - (785) 313-3067

27 – Edgerton Fishing Derby with Cops n Bobbers, Edgerton Lake – (913) 208-1920

30 – Cops n Bobbers Desoto Casting Contest, Desoto City Park – (913) 208-1920

September

5 -7 Coffey County O.K. Kids Event, New Strawn City Lake & John Redmond Reservoir - (620) 364 – 8484

6 – Gardner Parks & Recreation Fishing Derby, Gardner Lake – (913) 856-0936

27 - Anderson Co. Corn Festival “Youth Gone Wild!” North Lake Park, Garnett - (785) 448-2941

October

4 - El Dorado State Park O.K. Kids Day and Higgins Family Fishing Derby - (316) 321-7180

11 – City of Shawnee Neighborwood Event, West Flanders Park, Shawnee – (913) 742-6403

25 – Mildale Open Park with Cops n Bobbers, Mildale Park, Edgerton – (913) 208-1920