Looking Back: Osage County 4-H honors 2023 family of the year – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Looking Back: Osage County 4-H honors 2023 family of the year

Jessica Flory, Frontier District 4-H youth development agent, presents the Osage County 4-H Family of the Year award to Cannon family members Gage and Melissa, during local 4-h clubs’ annual awards celebration. Frontier Extension photos.

Osage County 4-H recognizes members, leaders, volunteers, families and sponsors at its annual achievement celebration. The county’s 2023 4-H achievements were celebrated Nov. 7, 2023, at a gathering at Lyndon High School.

Among the many recognitions during the evening was the announcement of the 2023 4-H Family of the Year. The award was presented to the Cannon family – Melissa and Chad and children Chloe and Gage. As noted in the family’s nomination by the North Osage 4-H Club, the Cannon family consistently shows up, helps wherever help is needed, is always positive and volunteers a huge amount of time to 4-H. As the club’s sheep and goat leader, Melissa has hosted many vaccine informational meetings and helped members with showmanship, fitting, and nutritional needs for their animals. In addition, Melissa and Chad have become active on the Overbrook Fair Board and have donated time and money toward securing prizes and countless hours to the livestock auction. The Cannon children are helpful with any projects in which their parents get involved.


Kyle Stromgren, DVM, and Sharon Thielen were named as Osage County’s 4-H alumni of 2023. Stromgren was also recognized as the 2023 Osage County Friend of 4-H.

Osage County 4-H also selected two individuals to be recognized as 2023 4-H Alumni: Sharon Thielen and Kyle Stromgren, DVM.

Thielen was a nine-year member of Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club, in which she held an office every year. One of her photography entries was chosen to be displayed at Rock Springs Ranch 4-H Center and was subsequently printed in the state 4-H calendar. She had a rewarding experience attending Citizenship Washington Focus, and now supports 4-H through the Willing Workers club and by leading an annual Easter egg hunt, in Osage City. Recently, Thielen trained 82 4-H summer interns on how to present the Kansas Corn STEM program.

Stromgren was a 12-year 4-H member and has helped numerous Osage County 4-H members with their livestock projects through advice and treating animal health emergencies. In addition to donating time to the county fairs, Stromgren has been a role model to 4-H members by pursuing his doctor of veterinary medicine degree and then growing his mobile veterinary business into a success.


Stromgren was also selected as this year’s Osage County Friend of 4-H. According to the nominations received from the North Osage and Willing Workers 4-H Clubs, Stromgren has donated a time, money and energy to the county’s 4-H program by making a donation to each 4-Her involved in the livestock auction, even purchasing animals from the auction, and sponsoring many awards. On the fairgrounds, Stromgren supports youth by watching their shows and being the Osage County Fair veterinarian. He shares advice with 4-H members and works one-on-one with families to help members succeed in their projects. On visits to members’ farms, he is patient and takes time to ask about projects and what members’ goals are. He explains what he is doing and shares techniques 4-Hers can use to cause as little stress to livestock as possible.


Also presented during the celebration were record book award winners. The Osage City Lions Club has sponsored these awards for 72 years. Record book award winners were:

In the junior division, Ruby Stucky was selected as the winner for clothing and textiles and sheep awards; Mason Newman received awards for dairy goat, foods and nutrition, geology, pets, photography, plant science, poultry and rabbits; Leila Wilcoxson received awards for entomology and visual arts; and Hadley Bosse received an award for swine.

2023 junior record book winners are Mason Newman, Ruby Stucky, Leila Wilcoxson, and Hadley Bosse.

At the intermediate level, Braelyn McNally received the beef award; Lena Stucky received the clothing and textiles award; Claire Newman received awards for dairy goat, geology, photography, plant science, rabbits and visuals arts; Kevin Whitmer received awards for foods and nutrition, poultry and sheep; Reece Wilcoxson received awards for pets, reading and STEM; and Tyler Williams received the swine award.

Intermediate record book winners are Kevin Whitmer, Reece Wilcoxson, Claire Newman, Lena Stucky, Braelyn McNally, and not pictured, Tyler Williams.

Senior record book winners are Allie Kneisler and Jaiton Bosse, and not pictured, Ethan Kneisler.

Senior level winners were Ethan Kneisler with beef and sheep; Allie Kneisler, fiber arts, leadership and meat goat; and Jaiton Bosse, swine. Each of the senior level winning record books is eligible to compete against other winning record books in the southeast area. If a member’s record book is selected as first or second in the area, it will then be judged at the state level for a chance to win a trip to National 4-H Congress, in Atlanta, Ga.


Information and photos thanks to Carol Engle, Frontier Extension District communications and marketing manager.

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