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, dozens of sites sign up to host the O.K. Kids Program. Participation has steadily grown 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.

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 April and October with thousands of youth and their families in attendance. To date, Kansas Wildscape has invested over $200,000 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 2021 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.

2021 OK Kids Events
Date Hosting Organization Contact Phone #
April      
4/21/2021 Cross Timbers SP Kimberly Jones 620-637-2213
4/24/2021 TimberRidge Advenutre Center Lysa Holladay Dvorak 913-856-8849
May      
5/1/2021 Fall River SP Kimberly Jones 620-637-2213
5/1/2021 Pittsburg Park and Rec-Pitt State U Ashten Clark 620-231-8310
5/1/2021 Webster SP Jana Slansky 785-425-6775
5/8/2021 Meade SP Tiffany Turley 620-873-2572
June      
6/4,25 7/16 Newton Recreation Commission Bart Peace 316-772-2597
6/5/2021 Great Plains Nature Center Erika Gurnsey 316-683-5499,x105
6/5/2021 Glen Elder SP Scott Waters 785-545-3345
6/5/2021 Prairie Dog SP Luke VanSkike 785-877-2953
6/12/2021 Historic Lake Scott SP Sara Kay Carrell 620-872-2061
6/12/2021 Cedar Bluff SP Amber Mclaughlin 785-726-3212
6/12/2021 Dillon Nature Center Stephanie Carlson 620-663-7411
6/26/2021 Rose Hill Recreation Center Jason Steadman 316-776-9880
July      
7/11,31/2021 City of Shawnee Parks and Recreation Matt Mann 913-742-6405
7/24/2021 Milford SP Kyle Hoover 785-238-3014
August      
8/14/2021 Clinton SP Kate Weber 785-842-8562
8/28/2021 Tuttle Creek SP Levi Gantenbein 785-539-7941
September    
9/11/2021 Shawnee County Parks and Recreation Matthew Shirhall 785-251-6961
October      
10/2/2021 El Dorado SP Justin Lauppe 316-321-7180
SP = State Park, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism