• Kids on a rope course during 4-H camp.

One donor with a vision can make such a powerful difference in the lives of Missouri youth. A generous estate gift from Kathryn McKillip Thrift to the Missouri 4-H Foundation is one such example. Her gift will provide for the creation of two endowment funds: one to provide a permanent source of support for Missouri 4-H camp programs; the second to support the Lone Star 4-H Club and 4-H youth development program in Crawford County, Missouri.

"Kathryn's generosity will help ensure that future generations of youth have the same kinds of powerful, skill-building experiences that made such an impact on her life. It is so special to see that 4-H connection strengthened through the years and across generations," said Missouri 4-H Foundation Director Rachel Augustine.

The gifts stem from important childhood connections for Kathryn, then known as Dorothy McKillip. She is now an adjunct courtesy faculty member at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, with training in lymphedema management from schools in Austria, Australia and Germany.

Kathryn joined the Lone Star 4-H Club in Cuba, Missouri, around 1962, serving as a member until she left for college where she belonged to a college 4-H club for about a year. She and her sister Barbara both joined so they could show their registered Black Angus cattle. She was on livestock judging teams both in high school and college; participated in home economics events at the county fair; and came away with life-long skills and lessons from participating in public speaking, overnight camps and state 4-H conventions.

"I wanted to give back to an organization that had so much influence and meaning in my life as a girl and teenager," Kathryn shared in a recent email. "I would hope my gift can also bring a sense of pride and accomplishment, as well as camaraderie to other young people. Belonging to a national organization might also help draw young people together to help build a sense of community."

Giving to the 4-H Foundation helps to secure a lasting legacy for young people who are the future of our country by building character around the four Hs in the club's motto — pledging their heads, hearts, hands, health to better living for themselves, their club, their community and the world, Kathryn wrote.

"My hope in donating a legacy gift to the 4-H Foundation is for other young people to be able to develop their skills, their confidence and a greater understanding of the diversity of the world."