This month’s volunteer spotlight features some of our youngest volunteers! Cooper (14) and his sister Rozalin (11) have volunteered several times in the last year with their mother, Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation (KFF) board member Anne Hjetland. Last year was their first year volunteering with KFF, while Anne has been on the Foundation board since 2021. She serves on the Fair Family of the Year Committee, Boots and Bling Committee, in addition to helping out with the T.A.G. Program committee.
Volunteering together is a family matter for the Hjetlands. Anne told us how it’s something that was instilled in her by her father, Craig Zwick, and something that she wants to pass on to her children. Cooper noted that volunteering with family is important because having more hands gets a job done easier. True to his beliefs, during the Kansas State Fair (KSF), he volunteered and acted as a floater. He went where needed to help get the jobs done easier. Scott Hjetland, Anne’s husband, is often the unsung hero, working behind the scenes so that Anne, Cooper and Rozalin can experience the satisfaction of volunteering and giving back to their community.
All three of the Hjetlands volunteered during both Boots and Bling, KFF’s largest fundraiser of the year, and the Kansas State Fair. During Boots and Bling they helped with setup and clean up, both of which are big jobs that have been getting bigger each year. For the Kansas State Fair they also worked in the Foundation’s official Kansas State Fair Merchandise Booth. Rozalin said how much she liked hanging out with all the people and learning all the things about the state fair during her time volunteering at the KSF.
During the Kansas State Fair, Cooper got the unique opportunity to ride on the KFF golf cart with Foundation employee, Patty Snyder, to help her hand out bison hats to children with disabilities. He said that was his favorite memory from volunteering during the fair last year.
Of course, like many fair-goers, the Hjetlands love the fair food. While Cooper said the BBQ nachos were his favorite, Rozalin had a list of favorites including (but likely not limited to) cheese curds, fried Oreos, pineapple whip and turkey legs, which both Anne and Cooper agreed with wholeheartedly.
In addition to their work with the Foundation, the Hjetlands are also avid livestock fans and participants. They are all involved in both 4-H and FFA. As such, they also love spending time in the livestock barns during the KSF. Rozalin said she likes all the people she gets to meet and interact with by being involved in 4-H, but sometimes the animals can be a pain in the rear!
When asked about the future of the Kansas State Fair, Cooper and Rozalin agreed that it would be cool if hover scooters became widely used. Anne is excited about the upcoming educational exhibits in the works and she hopes to see the 4-H and FFA exhibits grow with more entries as people get more involved.
The final message the Hjetland kids wanted to share is this: spend as much time at the fair as possible! See a concert, explore the fairgrounds and spend lots of time in the livestock barns. Anne emphasized the importance of the fair as a way to showcase Kansas and all the great things that go on in our state. It’s a great opportunity for kids to learn things they wouldn’t get at school or home and gain new experiences. She says it’s something that everyone should experience.
If you want to volunteer like Cooper, Rozalin, and Anne, sign up using the button below!