Outdoor Kansas for Kids (O.K. Kids)
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.
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 50 sites sign up to host the O.K. Kids Program. Participation has steadily grown through 2010 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 Foundation 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
· mini triathlons
· scavenger hunts
· sack races
· bird watching
· birdhouse building
· bike safety clinics
· 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.
The Kansas Wildscape Foundation and the O.K. Kids Program understands that this is a generation of children full of technology, constant activities and expectations, 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, a place of transformation.
Below you will find 2013 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.
22 - Cross Timbers State Park Earth Day, Toronto - (620) 637-2213
24 - NW KS Conservation Alliance Kids’ Conservation Roundup, Thomas Co. - (785) 899-3070 ext. 3
27 - Ernie Miller Nature Center/Timber Ridge Adventure Day, Olathe/De Soto - (913) 856-8849 or (913) 826-2802
4 - Fall River State Park Earth Day - (620) 637-2213
4 - Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita (316) 683-5499
5 - O.K. Kids Fishing Derby, Winfield - (620) 221-2160
5 - Fish 4 Fun, Lawrence - (785) 832-7949
11 - Cheney Lake Association O.K. Kids Day - (316) 204-5108
11 - Lansing Fishing Derby - (913) 727-2960
11 - Elk City State Park O.K.Kids Day - (620) 331-6295
18 - Eisenhower State Park O.K.Kids Family Day - (785) 528-4102
25 - Watson Park O.K. Kids Day, Wichita - (316) 529-9940
31 & 1 - Sgt. Jerry Mills Jr. Fishing Derby - (620) 441-4300
1 - Meade State Park O.K. Kids Day - (620) 873-2572
1 - Turner Rec Commision O.K.Kids Day Fishing Derby - (913) 287-2111
1 - 9th Annual Glenn Elder State Park Youth Fishing Tournament - (785) 545-3345
1 - Prairie Dog State Park Annual OKKids Day, (785) 877-2953
1 - Milford Nature Center Kids Fishing Clinic - (785) 238-5323
1 - Spring Hill 8th Annual Fishing Derby - (913) 592-2214
3-6, Johnson County Fish Camp - (913) 208-1920
7 -Flint Hill Region Girl Scout O.K. Kids Day, Emporia - (620) 794-3789
8 - C.A.S.T. (Catch a Special Thrill) Cops n Bobbers/Harvey Co. Lake - (913) 208-1920
9 - Cedar Bluff State Park Kids Outdoor Adventure, Ellis - (785) 726-3212
13 - Cops n Bobbers, Edgerton - (913) 208-1920
14 & 15 - Mulvane Family Camp Out, (316) 777-0858
15 - Dillon Nature Center/Wal-Mart O.K. Kids Fishing Derby, Hutchinson - (620) 663-7411
15 - Wilson State Park O.K. Kids Day, Sylvan Grove/Wilson - (785) 658-2465
15 - Cops n Bobbers, Olathe - (913)208-1920
15 - Cedar Bluff State Park Kids Outdoor Adventure - (785) 726-3212
17-20, Johnson County Fish Camp - (913) 208-1920
29 - Rose Hill Recreation’s O.K. Kids Day - (316) 776-9880
4 - Haysville O.K. Kids Fishing Derby - (316) 529-5922
13 - Green Recreational Trail O.K. Kids Day, Pratt - (620) 770-9579
10 - Clinton State Park O.K. Kids Day, Lawrence - (785) 842-8562
24 - Tuttle Creek O.K.Kids Day - (785) 539-7941
24 - Baldwin City O.K.Kids day - (785) 594-3670
6 -8, Coffey County O.K. Kids Event - (620) 364 - 8484
28 - Anderson Co. Corn Festival Youth Gone Wild - (785) 448-2941
28 - Cops n Bobbers, Edgerton - (913) 208-1920
5 - El Dorado State Park O.K. Kids Day - (316) 321-7180
5 - North Shawnee County O.K. Kids Day on the Trail, Topeka - (785) 286-0676
12 - NeighborWood at Garrett Park, Shawnee, Ks - (913) 742-6403
12 - Pittsburg O.K. Kids Day - (620) 230-5652
TBA - Macksville City Park (620) 348-2078