Kids Club - header
Share

Kids Club

Kansas City Irish Fest is fortunate to have an amazing group of young people to keep the Children’s Area on track. The Kansas City Irish Fest Kid’s Club is a group of creative and talented young people that not only act as an advisory board to things going on in the Children’s Area, but work there as well.  They start planning the next Children’s Area right after Irish Fest ends, and the look at it as an exercise to improve things each year.  If you see a group of bright, smiling, helpful young people in a Cow T-Shirt with a purpose in their gait at this year’s Irish Fest,  that would be the Kid’s Club.

Our Mission:

The Kansas City Irish Festival Kid’s Club is a youth leadership nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering and educating children ages 5 to 18 to become leaders and to develop their natural leadership abilities for service with the Kansas City Irish Festival and the greater Kansas City Community for the education of our Irish Heritage and Culture.

Become a New Member

  • If you are 10 and under, you must:
  • Get a recommendation from a teacher
  • Fill out the Member Application
  • Have your parents fill out the Parental Application
  • Have attended at least one Irish Fest and document the experience (write a short description)
  • If you are 11 and older, you must:
  • Get a recommendation from a teacher
  • Get a recommendation from an Irish Fest Committee Member who you worked for at an Irish Fest
  • Fill out the Member Application
  • Have your parents fill out the Parental Application
  • Write a short description about your Irish Fest volunteer experience

Meet the Members

Shawn

Tell us about yourself
Hi, my name is Shawn and I am the Sponsor of the Kid’s Club and one of the hosts in the Children’s Area.
Why do you love the Irish Fest?
I love the Irish Fest because it has something for everyone.  It is the Irish way of sharing all the fun things from the history, from the music, to the dancing and learning the wonderful myths and stories.  It is a time for family and fun; it is a time for kid fun and a time for adult fun. It is one of those weekends that has something for everyone to do, and should be planned to make sure everyone has their scheduled events, and a time for impromptu strolling to just find the fun and joys in a stroll. 
I love my kids in the Kid’s Club, they are my family as the Irish Fest Committee is my family.  And we keep growing, just like any family.  And I am amazed at the talent that Irish Fest and I have with the Kid’s Club Members and the amount of creativity and talent that exists with the Irish Fest Committee.
How long have you been involved? 
I moved home to KC from Denver, the year the Irish Fest washed down the river, and felt the pain of the loss and the sadness from the Irish Fest team, and I was involved that year as the tears matched the raindrops, and since that year as the tears have become smiles of joy and fun and merriment and singing and dancing.
Why you are in the Kid’s Club? 
I’m in the Kid’s Club because those kids are the continuation of our family and the hopes and dreams of future Irish Fests.
What do you do for the Children’s Area at Irish Fest? 
Anything and Everything our guests need or anything we have the privilege to do to make their time with us fun and memorable.
If you had one thing to say ‘don’t miss’ at the Festival, what would it be?
Don’t miss any of it.  What a wonderful two and half day vacation.
Name your favorite bands or activities through the years?
Solas, I am a huge Seamus Egan fan.  I am also a huge Eileen Ivers fan.  Do you know her history in contemporary Irish Music?  You would think this lovely woman has to be 200 years old to have done everything she has done. And how many careers she has launched and helped along the way.  But, I love all the music and every time I am introduced to a new group, I am amazed and have a delightful experience.  I have never seen a group at our Irish Fest, I have to go to another Irish Fest, but next time Seamus Egan is around, I will be there.  Thankfully, I usually get to catch Eileen somewhere around KC throughout the year.
As far as activities, I love it all. Everyone should find their favorites and let us know.
What are your hobbies?
Children and events with Children, they are light, they are Spring; they are our future.  They start out as wonderful people, they are interesting and insightful and creative and fun. I am involved in Irish Fest, because deep in my soul, Ireland is a home that was where my heritage started.  I still have family in Ireland to keep that heritage going, just as we have fun understanding, and remembering that heritage here and passing on what we know.  Going to Ireland is coming home for me, and I think that experience is one I am lucky to hold on to and to share. 
I am involved in a wonderful fest called Jiggle Jam, that is a Family -Kid’s Music Fest. One continuous song for two days, and so many wonderful smiling faces.
Believe it or not, we (the Kid’s Club) will start in 2010 right after Irish Fest, planning 2011, it takes a full year, and we are now having lots of fun, continuing Irish Fest throughout the year from the Parade to special events.

Michael

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.—George Bernard Shaw

Michael is my different drummer of the team.  His concern for Irish Fest Children is that we provide for them a very safe fun event.  When talking all the fun jobs that we have, Michael has spent the last three years choosing one of the most difficult jobs that we have.  He helps run the Moonwalks, Bounce House and Rock Climbing and he keeps adding to the time he spends doing it, like last year close to 20 hours.  He always checks in, he has a good eye for things that are not going quite right, and makes great mental notes to fix something in the next year.  He also has a candid way of saying things.  Last year, he said it was very difficult for the teenage girls when he had to ask their weight for the bungee jump, so this year he asked for a sign to help them prepare for the question.  It is something he had to know to make the right adjustments, and he hated that he might be embarrassing any one.  I was very proud of him.

He is one of those kids that are able to sit and be comfortable with any age group.  And he always has some nugget to share in any setting.  And if you look at him, you can see behind his eyes a thousand thoughts formatting.

Michael doesn’t talk about himself much. I know he speaks fluent French.  I know he has a great love for his large family, most of which are also involved with the Fest.  And I know he has a special affinity for Barry Fitzgerald, Paranormal Investigator, Photographer, Author, and Scriptwriter.  Many of us have had the great honor to work with Barry as he has been a very special guest and storyteller at the Fest. 

If I were Michael, I think my special moment at Irish Fest would be when Barry presented Michael with an autographed book.  I wasn’t sure that Michael would recover from that, but he pulled himself together and went right on helping us out at the Fest.  He only asked if he could attend all of Barry’s shows and then introduced Barry on the Children’s Stage.  It was a special Fest for Michael.

Michael

Kelsey

I have known Kelsey forever or for at least 13 years.  Like the other Irish Fest Kids, she is growing up quickly.  Kelsey is an Irish Dancer and she is an aggressive Basketball player and she always has a warm smile.  Kelsey is one of those people who just make other people feel good.  She pitches in at Irish Fest all she is able while she is performing on the side.  But, she is at every meeting before and after Irish Fest, and as with our entire team; is putting her ideas out there on how to make the Fest better for all of our guests. 

She started out handing out balloons with Colleen several years ago.  I told them not to leave each other, to make every attendee under 13 happy to be here with us and to stay in a defined area.  They achieved that goal and now they have graduated to going out in costumes, and head all over the Fest.

Kelsey is a fierce competitor, but remembers to keep everything fun.  That is where I heard her called Quinn (she answers to both)  She is another one of my kids who have been caught Irish Dancing off the swimming pool diving board, but I know when I challenge her at horse for basketball, she will seriously calculate how to beat me. 

Kelsey’s family is long standing members of the Irish Fest Committee and Board, and I have to know that when they look at Kelsey, their pride must be close to bursting.  I know when I lobby for a change in the Children’s, if it makes sense, and I have gained Kelsey’s vote, she will be a strong advocate for me.  Remember, it is always good to have her on your side. 

One of her more serious moments is after the fest.  We all get together to decide what went really well and what we need to throw out and try again.  Kelsey is serious about making constructive criticisms; that is why we are the best Kids area at any Fest!

In Kelsey’s words:
The thing I love about Irish Fest is that the music is so good, and there is always something to do and enjoy.

Kelsey

Erin

One day, two years ago, this incredibly cute freckled faced fairy showed up with Kelsey at a meeting.  I knew Erin through her Grandparents, and I knew we were lucky to get her.  She has been enthusiastic but a little shy in voicing her ideas.  But put her in charge of Bingo and the shyness is gone, and the fun begins.  Erin has her sister’s fleet feet as she is an Irish Dance too.  She has a wonderful work ethic, and has helped me with things like cleaning up trash in the tents.  She smiles, tells me sure and jumps in to any task.

But her charm is helping out in a visual way with the Children’s Area like doing Bingo or the Wack-a-laylee.  Her smile is disarming and her laugh is infectious.  And she does a great job with our more mundane jobs like inventory and pricing.  If Erin is over at the merchandise/prize booth in the Children’s Area; take her advice on the merchandise, she always knows the best stuff to get.

One year before Erin started with us, she helped her Grandmother make a Fairy House; it was beautiful, any Fairy would have been lucky to have it.  And I know she has other talents like she bakes wonderful cookies. 

Watch for Erin at the Fest, she is one of our best smiles in the Club.

Erin

Jake

What can I say about our last President, Jake?  Well as with all of our members, Jake is an overachiever.  He came to us while he was still working very hard on helping with the FEIS.  He would help set up the Feis and then run over and help us set up at Irish Fest, and then he would work at Irish Fest until he would run up and say I have to go.  Typically, this was very late and I think he was about to drop.  He would show up next morning ready to go another 14 hours.Jake has been one of our most thought provoking members helping get all the wonderful ideas turned into reality. Jake was also mentored by Mackenzie and they developed a love/hate relationship like they were siblings, this grew to include Mikayla.  Let me say this, nobody would want to be around water and around any of them, throw in Mark (one of our adult members) and you have a rowdy group, no you have The Rowdy group! The fun never dampers the work, and Jake always does a great job. Jake’s sport is baseball, and I have been lucky enough see him play at the T-Bones field.  He also plays Football and Golf.  Finally, Jake is a Longhorns Fan which is good for talk of Basketball between my school and his.  Which made me chuckle over this picture of Jake with my favorite coach!

Jake

Molly

Last year another smile came to help and become a member of our team.  Molly, who was recruited by fellow Irish Dancers and members of our club,  ecame a welcome member of the team.  She is another one of our members who is very busy at Irish Fest with the Feis, performing, and helping in the Children’s area. Molly always has a smile and a helping hand.  She comes to every meeting and helps with every aspect of getting ready for the Fest and then spends her spare time with us.  If I could bottle her enthusiasm, it would sell for a million dollars an ounce. And she has proven to be yet another diving board dancer.  Molly begins High School this year and as with all of our members, she will be a joy in her High School, a strong leader, and a wonderful young woman.

Molly, when you read this, thanks for becoming a member of our club.  Molly had been to the Fest as a guest, we all appreciate that insight she brings.

From Molly:
I love Irish Fest because I feel that the Irish Heritage is being brought to life and will live with everyone of all ages.  It’s just a weekend of Family Fun and Awesome Music!

Molly

MacKenzie

Yes, we ousted Mack out of the Kid’s Club now that she’s in college, but she still is an active mentor and went right up the ranks to the adult Children’s Committee of Irish Fest. Mack has done it all and was there when the Children’s Area was a 10 x 30 tent.  Mikayla followed Mack around for those first years, as Mack was the grown up at all of 9 years.  And since that time, MacKenzie has taken several of the Kids under her wing as mentor. MacKenzie used to work and work and help shut down and then disappear.  She was so shy those first few years and I always had a fear she was working too hard.  The disappearance was shyness and at about 13 she blossomed.  No more disappearing, she used to sit with all the adults and talk about things that happened at the Fest until her -Mom (another great Irish Fest Director) or Dad would come to get her, just to force her to get her food and rest. Nothing has changed.  MacKenzie is still working very hard and right there for the kids. Through all this time she has only ever asked for one thing, that is to see the Elders.  It makes me smile because every year I hear the same thing, I am going to run to the stage to see the Elders and I’ll be back for clean-up.  And every year she is. So the future for MacKenzie; I keep telling her she is allowed to experience other Irish Fest Areas, but I think her love for kids will always outweigh that.  I do know next year, I want to be the first to buy her her first Irish Fest Beer with a little green token,  I’ll will probably cry, I know I did when she went to College.  Having my Kid’s Club kids grow-up is just what it should be, but nothing will stop me from the fantastic memories, and the accomplished, gifted, lovely adults they are all becoming!

Mack’s own words will be for me.  She would say get something to drink and is there anything I can do?

MacKenzie

Mikayla

Mikayla is one of the founding members of the Kid’s Club.  She has been attending Irish Fest since she was 4.  That first year, she helped in the Children’s area.  She handed out Coloring Pages and then hung the finished ones up.  She was a keeper.  Mikayla is fun, loves Basketball, and is on the Honor Roll at school.  One of her finest points is that she love children and is concerned about making sure they have a great time while staying very safe.  Yes, she is a parent’s dream.  She is quick to smile, and is an avid reader.  She is creative and one of her finest points is creating something out of nothing.  She works with what we have to get something right from a decoration to solving a situation. 

Mikayla is the president of the Kid’s Club this year. 

Here are Mikayla’s words on the Fest:
I like Irish Fest because it is one of my favorite childhood memories. I have worked Irish Fest every year, even when I was too small to be much help, and loved it. I love the music and all the activities there are to do. Now that I’m older I also really like the shopping! I have always felt safe at Irish Fest and have really enjoyed the atmosphere that can only be found at the Kansas City Irish Fest. Lastly, I love my job in the kid’s area at the fest. I love kids, and love getting to work with them. Our kid’s area has new surprises each year and I love thinking of those surprises. KCIF is the best Fest around and the best Irish Fest in the US.

Mikayla

Andrea

Let me introduce you to Andrea.  Although she is new member of the club, she has been attending Irish Fest since she was very young.

Tell us about yourself.
I am 9 years old and I attend elementary school in Lees Summit.

Why do you love Irish Fest?
I love Irish Fest because there is so many fun things to do like doing crafts.

How long have you been involved?
This is my first year as part of Kids Club. I am excited to help choose the stuff that we get to do. I have been coming to Irish Fest every year to see my mom, who is a face painter and now I get to work with Kids Club.

Why you are in the Kid’s Club?
Because I thought it would be fun to help plan what kids do at Irish Fest.

What do you do for the Children’s Area at Irish Fest?
This is my first year so I will follow a more senior member and learn what to do this year.

If you had one thing to ‘don’t miss’ at the Festival, what would it be?
Everybody has to hear the bands!

Name your favorite bands or activities through the years?
Red Hot Chili Pipers

What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are Tae Kwon Do and swimming and making crafts. I was recently ranked District Campion in Sparring for ATA Tae kwon do.

Andrea

Cassie

Cassie is another one our kids who is no longer a kid, but a young woman of heart, and soul, of strength and determination, of creativity and brilliance.  She is like her wonderful 1973 Super Beetle she is making payments on, and she fits the car and the car fits her.  I have watched Cassie sit and take in all of us making suggestions and being excited, Cassie jumps in the fray quietly and thoughtfully with one single idea at a time, and we typically agree it is stunning.  We watched her try out and make the boys football team, and during that time she was gravitating to running the crafts for the Children’s Area.  She now does. She is the liaison between Irish Fest and Artrageous and works with our super wonderfully talented Julie Flannigan of Artrageous to deliver a craft like no other at every single Irish Fest.  But don’t think she stops there; she always has great feedback and help deliver wonderful ideas for all areas of the Children’s Village and Park.  And her love of music is vast and totally includes all things Irish.  But don’t be fooled, she can easily sing her favorite Gaelic Storm song and next jump into a song from Rent.  Our Cassie is diversity at its best.

Cassie

Q

I could say the obvious things about Q, that he does life with a vengeance.  He plays hard, eats very well, has so much energy that he can’t sit still; and he does his thinking on his feet.  I always wonder what they do for him in his Junior High as he paces and comes up with those great ideas for Irish Fest.  Not so super conducive to schools, but they would benefit by letting him up, I could tell them!  He is one of our kids that has grown up in front of my eyes.  He sees needs like nobody else, for instance two years ago I gave a group of volunteers my caution about drinking water and staying hydrated.  Q saw more than I did, he grabbed a wagon and started delivering water.  He knew the importance for us, for the volunteers and wanted our priceless volunteers to be able to work and to stay safe.  Last year he spent his time at the rock wall, and managed a smile after the hours and hours in the sun.  This picture is the side I never see of Q, but after living his life the way he does every day getting and giving the most, I am very sure he sleeps like he’ll never wake up, thankfully he does, and starts the day anew.

Q
Kids Blog? Festival Map Kids Guide
2012 International Festivals & Events Association Silver Pinnacle Award Winner for Best Event Website