AMERICAN ROYAL UTILIZES LESSONS TO TEACH YOUNG PEOPLE ABOUT AGRARIAN VALUES
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The lives of countless children have been positively affected over the year through the American Royal.
From facility tours to historical lessons, Kristie Larson and her crew work to spread the word about the charitable organization’s legacy, which is celebrating its 115th year. It’s a process she holds dearly with each project, with each young life.
“Our mission is to educate young people about agriculture and where their food comes from,” said Larson, the American Royal’s director of education. “As kids are becoming further removed from the farm and from production agriculture, I think it’s important that we show them that we are blessed to live in the United States where we have a safe, healthy food source.”
That’s the purpose of the American Royal’s education philosophy, and it’s something the staff works toward all year. It’s especially poignant during the association’s fall festival, which takes place from early September through mid-November.
“We focus on agrarian values, too,” Larson said. “That’s where those competitive events come in. Not only does the American Royal offer all those, but all of the things we do are still relevant today. Although we have a long, proud history, we are still doing things that are relevant that kids and adults learn from.”
The Royal conducts museum tours all year and will have outreach programs through YMCA groups and charter schools. Throughout the school year, there are opportunities for educators to take advantage of American Royal material.
“We invite students to come through, and we try to focus our approach on what they are learning about at that time,” Larson said. “We are establishing partnerships with PREP-KC, which is a high school program focusing on urban youth.”
The biggest educational opportunity during the fall festival will be school tours during the final week of September to coincide with the Invitational Youth Rodeo.
“The kids love coming not only because of the educational opportunity with it, but they get to see kids their age in the rodeo,” Larson said. “You get learning and the fun rodeo atmosphere. The teachers like it. It is a very unique programming to what else is offered out there for school trips and field trips.”
The process not only serves as great training but also plays a vital role of passing along the core values that serve as the foundation for the American Royal. Each year, the association raises more than $1 million to youth and education.
“Whenever I take people through the museum tour and we walk through the horse stalls or the livestock shows or something else here at the complex, they tell me that they didn’t know we had all these programs,” Larson said. “The more people that learn about that, the more people we have that will understand the true mission of the American Royal.”