Youth Volunteer Award

Kathryn Kugel: Forming strong base for the future

Carol Wagner, Leader Correspondent

Photo by Curt Knoke Kathryn Kugel is the recipient of the Shawano Area Community Foundation’s Youth Volunteer Award.

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles profiling winners of the Celebration of Giving awards presented annually by Shawano Area Community Foundation Inc. for outstanding volunteerism. The winners will be honored at a gala Tuesday.

At 17 years old, Kathryn Kugel has a ton of poise, no doubt helped by her extensive volunteer activities, which earned her the Shawano Area Community Foundation’s Youth Volunteer of the Year Award.

Kugel puts most of her volunteer energy into 4-H, St. Martin Catholic Church in Cecil and Shawano Community High School, where she is a junior.

“Kathryn is a great volunteer, one who doesn’t have to get ‘chased down’ to volunteer,” wrote Terri Brunner, 4-H program assistant, in her nomination of Kugel for the award. “And she looks for more ways to contribute.”

She will split her $1,000 award between St. Martin to help update its music and Shawano County 4-H.

“I feel it’s an honor to receive such a prestigious award and be nominated for it,” Kugel said.

A member of the Waukechon Wildcats 4-H Club, Kugel two years ago was elected to serve on the Wisconsin State 4-H Youth Leader’s Council.

The council strengthens 4-H youth development programs by addressing youth issues, promoting 4-H and providing leadership at the Wisconsin 4-H and Youth Conference.

She is in her third year as secretary of the YLC, which includes members representing geographical districts throughout Wisconsin.

Kugel helps plan the state 4-H and Youth Conference held on the third week of June on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. She serves as tour guide to more than 600 delegates, introduces speakers and makes sure the event runs smoothly.

“I like doing everything and helping people grow in their lives through their 4-H projects,” Kugel said.

She is active with the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation, Wisconsin State Fair Youth Exhibits Committee, North Central Volunteer Leader Forum Steering Committee and other statewide committees and events.

When Wisconsin 4-H celebrated its centennial year last year, she spoke at 4-H Day at the Capitol in Madison, was instrumental in planning the days events in Shawano, and spoke at 4-H Day at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Kugel was on a committee that created the centennial Shawano County 4-H Celebration at the county fair.

Kugel has been a Shawano County 4-H camp counselor for four years, beginning as a counselor in training and now responsible for the campers in her group, with the help of one or two other counselors.

“There are many long hours and Kathryn always has a smile on her face and offers her help readily to her campers and co-staff,” Brunner said. “She has learned the art of teamwork very well, listening to others, yet is not afraid to speak her mind when asked.”

Kugel is president of the 4-H Older Youth Group in Shawano County. She leads the meetings, keeps the discussion on track and encourages members to participate in community service activities.

“4-H has helped me succeed in numerous situations throughout my life,” Kugel said. “I can apply my knowledge from 4-H to everything I do throughout everyday life.”

While a lot of her time is devoted to 4-H, Kugel also puts the same energy into her time at Shawano Community High School, where she is a top student and involved in TRI-M, National Honor Society, SADD, student council, Bridge to Success, FBLA, band council and math club.

“I find it important to be involved in as many different extracurricular activities as possible during high school to form a strong base for the future,” Kugel said.

She is a member of St. Martin Catholic Church in Cecil, where she plays music before Mass and sometimes during Mass.

“I like helping others and seeing them grow,” Kugel said.