Shank’s Take: The New Impact Award and the Power of “Thanks”

No long-term event is successful without the support of dedicated volunteers who serve with no expectations of monetary gain, letters of commendation or plaques of recognition.

Perhaps, no finer example of volunteerism exists than those who have stepped forward for more than a century to give of their time, talent, and resources on behalf of the Kansas State Fair. 

Now, the Impact Award, a new and annual designation award sponsored by the Kansas Fairgrounds Foundation (KFF) will recognize these volunteers. 

Anne Hjetland from Lyons, a Consulting Trustee for the KFF, chaired a committee which drew up the guidelines for the new award. 

To explain the mandate of the Impact Award, Anne used a quote from Margaret Mead, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world,” Mead said. “It is the only thing that ever has.” 

As Anne said, these words are true of the Kansas State Fair. “For the fair to be successful it takes individuals and families from across the state to make an impact on the fair’s success,” Anne said. “These individuals and families are involved in the fair’s programs and activities, entering and exhibiting at the fair, volunteering their time and expertise towards improving the fair, serving on committees, and boards associated with the fair, annual attendance, and financial support of the fair.” 

To nominate a candidate for the Impact Award, go to the Awards & Recognition page on the Kansas Fairgrounds website and complete an online form. Please complete all sections and answer each question on the form providing as much information as possible within the limitations of the form, all of which should take no more than 15 minutes. Deadline for submission is March 15. 

Impact Award winners will be announced each September during the Kansas State Fair. 

The power of a simple thank you can have lasting benefits to organizations and people. A 2019 study suggests that expressing thanks creates the possibility of bringing entire groups together in a special connection to achieve a greater good for all. 

We hope the Impact Award will accomplish that and more for the Kansas State Fair. 

-Richard Shank

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