It may not have crossed Emma Littich’s mind when she first enrolled in the Kansas 4-H program at age 7, but the world was about to open up to her.
More than 10 years later, there she was: Leading Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on a tour of the Kansas State Fair and advocating for the Kansas 4-H program.
And a few months after that, standing before a Kansas House of Representatives committee explaining the virtues of the state’s largest youth organization to the government’s lawmakers.
Kansas 4-H “has taught me things that I wouldn’t have otherwise learned from any other organization,” said Littich, who was recently elected president of the Kansas 4-H Youth Leadership Council.
Beth Hinshaw, a Kansas 4-H youth development specialist, said the council is made up of a group of young leaders who work to “improve their leadership skills and inspire all youth through project work, state events and relationships.”
“They believe in sharing their passion (for 4-H) with other Kansas youth by helping them find their spark and overcoming hard challenges that will enhance their growth and develop life skills,” Hinshaw said.
Littich, from Lindsborg, Kansas, is currently a freshman at Kansas State University majoring in elementary education with a minor in leadership studies.
Now 18 years old, she first enrolled in the Smoky View 4-H Club at age 7, and over the years participated in numerous 4-H projects: citizenship, clothing construction and buymanship, foods and nutrition, foods preservation, health and wellness, leadership, performing arts, poultry, visual arts, shooting sports, home environment, and wildlife.
“As a future educator, the Kansas 4-H Youth Leadership Council has provided me with opportunities to work with youth in several different capacities,” Littich said. “Throughout these experiences, I have learned that everyone is different, but together – with all our different strengths – we can achieve anything.”
In addition to Littich, the Kansas 4-H Youth Leadership Council’s newly elected officers include vice president Jaden Huehl of Sylvan Grove; secretary Channing Dillinger of Hugoton, and public relations chair Claire Helsel of Sharon Springs. Each was elected for a one-year term.
In addition, 12 other Kansas youth were selected to serve as members of the Kansas 4-H Youth Leadership Council for 2023. By hometown, they include:
- El Dorado — Kylee Barlett.
- Hays — Grace Schmeidler.
- Independence — Gabe Schenk.
- Kingman — Sukesh Kamesh.
- Moundridge — Ellie Seeger.
- Ness City — Eve Rider.
- Netawaka — Brooke Slipke.
- Plains — Kaylen Langhofer.
- Russell — Kierra Eck.
- Salina — Carson Fouard.
- John — Ian Dunn.
- Wamego — Emilia Wilkerson.
“Our goal is to provide opportunities for the youth of Kansas to grow in their project work and develop and enhance life skills,” Littich said. “Through state events, regional events, social media and many other forms of outreach, we hope to reach as many youth as possible.”
Hinshaw noted that some of the events in which the council will be directly involved include Citizenship in Action (held in mid-February), 48 Hours of 4-H Community Service, the Kansas Youth Leadership Forum, and the Kansas State Fair.
More information on the Kansas 4-H Youth Leadership Council and numerous 4-H activities is available online from the Kansas 4-H office. Interested persons can also contact their local K-State Research and Extension office.
“I have been a 4-Her since I was 7, and I would not be the person I am today without it,” Littich said. “4-H has taught me so many skills and provided me with countless opportunities that I would not have otherwise had. I am forever grateful for every moment I have spent in 4-H.”
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KSU Photo: The 2023 Kansas 4-H Youth Leadership Council includes (front row, l to r) Brooke Slipke, Sukesh Kamesh, Carson Fouard, Ian Dunn, Gabe Schenk and president Emma Littich; (back row, l to r) Eve Rider, Kierra Eck, Ellie Seeger, Kaylen Langhofer, vice president Jaden Huehl, secretary Channing Dillinger, public relations chair Claire Helsel, Grace Schmeidler, Emilia Wilkerson and Kylee Barlett.