Kyle Vahlenkamp: The 4H Life
The 4H Life is an ongoing series for the Runnels County Register. If you have a 4H'er that is interested in being spotlighted, email BHancock@Gannett.com
Kyle Vahlenkamp is a busy man. He's been a member of 4H since the 3rd grade and is in his 10th year in the programs. He's also the Texas 4H Health & Safety Officer; He is president of the Miles 4H chapter; He plays on the varsity basketball squad; He runs track and cross country. In 4H, Vahlenkamp shows sheep and goats. He's also part of the Public Speaking program and on the Texas 4H council. Saying that Vahlenkamp is "busy," might possibly be an understatement.
Vahlenkamp credits 4H for helping him become the person he is today, "4H has helped me become a better person and a better leader. Throughout 4H, I found a passion for leadership." Vahlenkamp views staying busy as a positive, "Being busy and staying busy help with your time management. It's important to work hard and utilize the time that you have."
The young man's day usually starts before sunrise, "I get up and then go feed my animals. After that, I go to school, then I have basketball practice after school and then I come home and work with my animals." His work has paid off with the 2019 and 2020 Grand Champion goat at the Runnels County Junior Livestock show. He also took home Reserve Grand Champion honors in 2020.
Vahlenkamp's father is Marty Vahlenkamp, the Texas A&M Agrilife Runnels County Extension agent, "Dad being an Extension Agent really helps. I'm not trying to say that he's old, but he has a lot of knowledge and experience, which have helped me a lot." Vahlenkamp spoke about his father's duties as head of the 4H, "He works hard and I know it's tough because at stock shows he has to not only help me, but help other 4H'errs. He helps everyone equally and is a great leader." As Vahlenkamp is giving the interview at the Runnels County Junior Livestock Show, his father is over by some goats talking to some of his other 4H'ers.
One aspect that Vahlenkamp says is crucial is helping younger 4h'ers, "When I was young, I started in 3rd grade. I looked up to the older 4H'ers who were successful. They helped me out and that, in turn, encouraged me to help the younger 4H'ers now. It's a continuous cycle." Vahlenkamp has been an instructor at sheep and goat camp.
Before starting his 4H career in 3rd grade, Vahlenkamp says that he didn't know the amount of work involved in raising animals, "It was a lot more labor intensive than I realized. But, I embrace that hard work as part of 4H and as I work with my livestock."
After graduation, Vahlenkamp wants to attend either Texas A&M or Texas Tech, "I want to study Animal Science. I think that being in 4H has helped me decide what I want to do with my life, with livestock."
Vahlenkamp's mother, Megan, is a teacher at Miles ISD. He also has a younger sister, Rylee, who is involved in athletics at Miles Junior High, as well as 4H.