By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Theresa Horinek has dedicated many years of her life in service to the Newkirk Go-Getters 4-H Club, both as a member and club leader, and has seen three children graduate the program, with one more almost finished. She is now taking her 4-H activity in a new direction, as she is stepping down as Club leader, but pledges to continue volunteering and aid new club leader Lori Evans as Evans takes over the reins of the program.
The Go-Getters Club celebrated Horinek at their May 18 meeting.
“I’m sad to not be doing the leadership activities, yet it is a good thing to get new ideas and have new people coming in,” Horinek said.
Horinek has been the Go-Getters 4-H leader since 2009, and prior to that, she was an assistant leader under Nyla Brandis. During that time, she coached her four children through the program. Matthew, Michael and Anthony have all graduated, while daughter Mariana is still an active member.
She became a volunteer due to her own experience in 4-H.
“I was a 4-H (member) for 10 years, and I fully thought the program was good to be involved in,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed the program. I enjoy kids, and I enjoy learning things along with them.”
Her career as a leader began about 19 years ago, starting as a Cloverbuds assistant for four years. She worked her way up through the program, becoming the leader when Brandis stepped down in 2009.
Horinek has helped steer the program in a variety of directions, especially wildlife studies.
“There was fishing and trapping one year. Kay County Game Warden Spencer Grace brought out a shotgun trailer, and families and kids came out and shot the guns,” she said.
They also did research at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, in Osage County, and learned aquatic research as well.
“Bill Winthrop brought out a special boat to do fishing research, and the nets that allowed them to do it, along with other equipment,” she said.
Wildlife education was far from the only spectrum gleaned under Horinek’s leadership. Other disciplines include robotics, as well as numerous food-based contests.
“We had 11 kids in robotics, and there were five that went on to some form of engineering,” she said.
Horinek has been a big influence on her students, many of whom feel her influence has made their lives better.
“Theresa Horinek has taught me so much, from being a Cloverbud, to (when I was) a freshman in high school,” Go-Getters member Logan Rhea said. “She encourages us all by exemplifying in not only 4-H, but in her life, to make the best better. Not just in our 4-H project areas, but in every area of our life. From friendships, church, school, work and community involvement.”
Kay County 4-H Educator Liz Nicholson has only worked with Horinek for a year but has already seen the impact she has had on the Go-Getters Club.
“Within the last year, she’s been great to work with, she always does what she can for the kids,” Nicholson said. “She loves to see the kids and see their smiles, and she’s going to continue to be a part of 4-H.”
Assistant Leader Evans will take over for the 2021-2022 year, and is also is happy for the leadership Horinek provided.
“I think she’s done an absolutely wonderful job keeping the students active,” Evans said. “She goes above and beyond what anyone would.”
As the new leader, Evans has her own plans to keep the Go-Getters active. She wants to keep the monthly meetings much the same, but do more education at the same time.
“I am going to keep the business meeting the same, but I am (also) going to apply other educational concepts so they can learn more than just the animals,” Evans said. “There are hundreds of different ways we can go, and I want to open new opportunities open to anyone that wants to participate.”
Horinek may be stepping down, but she isn’t leaving, and will spend much time volunteering for the organization.
“I’ll still be doing 4-H project work, I just won’t be the club leader,” Horinek said. “I’ll miss all the kids. I love it when the kids learn something new about 4-H.”