When Karen Buck talks about her late parents, Walter and Isobel Knoepfli, is it apparent they were passionate supporters of not only her and her sister, Karla Knoepfli, but also supporters of the countless 4-H members they loved like their own.
Knoepfli and Buck both said their parents were incredibly supportive throughout their 4-H careers. Although Mr. and Mrs. Knoepfli were not 4-H members themselves, they eventually became active volunteers within the program.
“Our parents did not become enrolled volunteers until Karen and I graduated from the 4-H program,” Knoepfli said. “Their reasoning was, ‘we want all members to be our kids.’ Some of my best memories were with my parents serving as volunteers once I had become a county educator.”
Knoepfli said she remembers visiting with her mother about ways the program could improve and how to implement new trends in ongoing 4-H events and activities.
“We would get excited about the soft skills that a member could be learning through a new project or experience,” Knoepfli said. “Those conversations often became a workshop she or I taught.”
When Mr. and Mrs. Knoepfli passed, their daughters decided to continue the 4-H legacy of their parents with an endowment from which Oklahoma 4-H members would benefit for years to come.
Beginning in 2019, the Logan-Knoepfli Endowed Scholarship through the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation will be awarded annually to 4-H members who attend National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C.
4-H members who attend the week-long conference are arranged into groups. The groups choose an important societal topic and prepare a briefing. During the conference, 4-H’ers present their briefing to federal officials in Washington, D.C.
“Mom chaperoned more than one delegation to National 4-H Conference,” Knoepfli said. “Her experience and the experience of the delegation was exemplary.
“The 4-H scholarship was our way to say thank you for our parents’ volunteer efforts and their support of countless 4-H member for more than 30 years,” she continued.
Buck said she has high expectations for future recipients of the scholarship.
“I would like to see students who exhibit integrity, honesty and citizenship to receive this scholarship,” Buck said.
Knoepfli explained her parents believed in challenging the potential of any student or 4-H member.
“My parents encouraged 4-H members to stretch outside their comfort zone to gain confidence in succeeding or working with obstacles presented,” she said. “National 4-H Conference provides unique opportunities not experienced through any other 4-H venue.”
Photo provided by Karla Knoepfli