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 2017 with over 13,000 Kansas youth and their parents/grandparents annually 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 2017 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 - Earth Day 2017, Cross Timbers State Park - (620)637-2213

22 - Tuttle Creek State Park O.K. Kids Day, Friends of Fancy Creek, Manhattan, Ks - (785)256-3614

29 - TimberRidge Adventure Center Open House, Olathe, Ks - (913)856-8849

29 - O.K. Kids Day at OJ Watson Park, Wichita, Ks - (316)516-5753

26 - Conservation Kids Roundup, Colby Community Building, Colby, Ks - (785)899-3070

May

6 - Camp Wood YMCA Centennial Celebration, Elmdale, Ks - (620)273-8641

6 - Cheney Lake Association's O.K. Kids Day, Cheney State Park, Ks - (316)299-8801 

6 - Webster State Park O.K. Kids Day, Stockton, Ks - (785)-425-6775

6 - O.K. Kids Day, Meade State Park - (620)873-2572

6 - O.K. Kids Day, Fall River State Park - (620)637-2213

6 - O.K. Kids Day, Lakeside Park, Pittsburg, Ks - (620)230-5652

7 - O.K. Kids Day, Lakeside Park, Pittsburg, Ks - (620)230-5652

14 - Winfield Fishing Derby, Island Park, Winfield, Ks  (620)221-2160

June 

3 - D.Y.I. Nature, Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Ks - (316)683-5499

3 - Sgt. Jerry Mills Jr. Fishing Derby, Arkansas City, Ks - (620)441-4301

3 - 11th Annual Fishing Derby, Melvin Murray Park, Spring Hill, Ks - (913)592-2214

3 - 12th Annual Glen Elder Youth Fishing Tournament, Glen Elder State Park - (785)545-3345

3 - Dillon Nature Center/Wal-mart O.K. Kids Day, Hutchinson, Ks - (620)663-7411

3 - Kids' Fishing Derby, Pomona State Park, Vasser, Ks - (785)969-3392

3 - 16th Annual Prairie Dog O.K. Kids Day, Prairie Dog State Park, Ks - (785)877-2953

4 - Kids Fishing Clinic, Milford Lake, Junction City, Ks - (785)238-5323

10 - O. K. Kids Day, Cedar Bluff State Park, Ellis, Ks - (785)726-3212

17 - Cops n Bobbers Casting Contest, Edgerton, Ks - (913)208-1920

17 - Wilson State Park O.K Kids Day - (785)658-2465 ext. 200

17 - Cops n Bobbers Olathe Fishing Camp, Cedar Lake, Olathe, Ks (913)208-1920

21 - Macksville City Library, Open House & Rock Hunting, Macksville, Ks  (620)348-3555

24 - Rose Hill O.K.Kids Day Out, School Street Pond, Rose Hill, Ks - (316)776-9880

July

4 - O.K. Kids Day Fishing Derby & Frog Races, Riggs Park Lake, Haysville, Ks - (316)529-5922

27 - Cops n Bobbers Casting Contest, Edgerton, Ks - (913)208-1920

August

12 - 13th Annual O.K. Kids Day, Clinton State Park, Lawrence, Ks - (785)842-8562

26 - Tuttle Creek State Park O.K. Kids Day, Friends of Tuttle Creek, Manhattan, Ks - (785)313-3067

September

2 - Cops n Bobbers Desoto Casting Contest, Desoto City Park, Desoto, Ks (913)208-1920

8 thru 10 - Coffee County O.K. Kids Day, John Redmond Reservior - (620)364-8484

9 - Fishing Derby, Gardner Lake, Gardner, Ks - (913)856-0936

23 - Cops n Bobbers Edgerton Fishing Derby, Edgerton Lake, Edgerton, Ks - (913)208-1920

23 - O.K. Kids Day at North Shawnee Community Park Shelter House, Topeka, Ks - (785)286-0676

24 - El Dorado State Park O.K. Kids Day - (316)321-7180

October

7 - O.K. Kids Day, El Dorado State Park - (316)321-7180

28 - Cops n Bobbers Fishing, Mildale Open Park, Edgerton, Ks - (913)208-1920