Building a Successful Budget

(Family Features) Whether you’re trying to pay off bills, save for a dream vacation or create a nest egg for retirement, having a sound budget is often the first step toward bringing your financial goals to fruition. While budgeting is often associated with finding places to curb your spending, creating and sticking to a budget can be a fairly painless process with the right plan in place.

These guidelines can help you build, manage and maintain a realistic budget that will set you on the path toward reaching your financial aspirations.

Set Goals
When setting your budget, you should also set goals you want to achieve by a certain deadline, even if that’s simply having your income and expenses balance out each month. Goals can be short-term, like saving for a weekend getaway within a month; medium-term, such as saving for a down payment on a house in a year or two; or long-term, like paying off your mortgage in 15 years.

Calculate Earnings
Your monthly budget should be based on your take-home pay, so make sure to know exactly how much income you bring in after taxes and other expenses that are automatically deducted from your check, such as health insurance and your retirement plan contribution.

Track Expenses
Once you know exactly how much money you bring in each month, track your spending – every purchase, no matter how small – for at least one month to clearly see where your money goes and what expenses are required and which ones are optional.

Categorize Spending
After a month of tracking your spending, you’ve probably learned something about your habits, but you also have enough data to begin categorizing your expenses based on what is required each month and what is extra. Required expenses can include rent, insurance, student loan payments, utilities, gasoline and food. While some of these bills may change month-to-month, you can use bank statements to find an average. Extra expenses are ones you can live without, such as cable, internet, dining out, movies and more.

Write It Down
Start with pen and paper if you have to, but writing out your monthly budget and being able to track spending month-to-month is often key to sticking to your plan. Include columns for income, each required expense, every extra expense and savings, and analyze monthly where you fell short or where you could improve in the coming months. There are also computer programs and smartphone apps available to help make budgeting easier.

Stick to It
Once you’ve set your budget, be wary of temptation that could drive you off-track. Always remind yourself of your goal and know that small sacrifices will pay dividends in the future. Make decisions before you make a purchase by asking yourself if you’ll use it often or if you can do without. If you’re afraid you might be tempted, use cash or leave your credit card at home.

Make Necessary Adjustments
There may come a point when your budget no longer meets your financial needs or expectations. Rather than scrap the budget altogether, revisit it and adjust accordingly to meet your needs. Know that along the way, new expenses may arise or problems may occur that require a shift in how you reach your goals.

Find more tips for reaching your financial goals at eLivingToday.com.

Take a Holistic Approach to Retirement Planning

Although retirement is a milestone for all working adults, decades of hard work may not pay off if you haven’t planned for your financial needs once a regular paycheck stops coming.

According to research by the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), millions of Baby Boomers stepping into their retirement years have unrealistic expectations and lack a full understanding of the danger of running out of money during retirement. However, the challenges do not stop with Baby Boomers. A recent study indicated 47 percent of Gen-Xers and more than half of Millennials believe a secure retirement is beyond their reach.

Experts generally concur that it’s never too early to begin planning for retirement, but depending on your stage of life, your approach may vary. Consider this advice from the experts at IRI to get on a path toward financially secure retirement.

Building a career
Once you have a solid budget, stick to it and set aside some money to save. Compound interest adds up over time and the earlier you start compounding, the better. Credit will also start to play more of a factor in your life, as major expenses like buying a house or car, or starting a business rely greatly on your credit.

Mid-career
This mid-career life stage is a good time to set a retirement savings goal, and now is also the time to consider hiring a financial advisor. A professional can help you explore less understood but worthwhile approaches to holistic retirement planning such as annuities. Annuities are essentially insurance contracts that come in different types and offer several options to meet a variety of financial objectives. They are a guarantee of income as you age.

Late career
At this stage, you probably have a better idea as to when you will be able to retire, but it’s important to review your savings on an annual basis and make adjustments, if needed, to stay on track.

Ready for retirement
This is the time to start making some choices, such as whether you will downsize your home and how to eliminate as much debt as possible. One of the more complex aspects surrounding retirement can be determining which of your accounts to tap and in what order, and a professional can help guide you.

Explore more resources and tools to aid your retirement planning at retireonyourterms.org.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
eLivingToday.com

4 Tips for Summer Tire Safety

(Family Features) As temperatures start to rise, checking your tires’ air pressure can help protect them from the heat when hitting the road this summer. Whether you’re trekking cross-country or simply to and from work, the more heat your tires are exposed to could mean potential trouble on the road.

The friction from your tires rolling, turning and braking combined with higher pavement temperatures and worn tires can lead to tire blowouts. Knowing the condition of your tires can help keep your vehicle well-maintained as well as you and your family safe on the road. When it comes to tire safety, it pays to know your numbers.

“Customer safety is our No. 1 priority,” said Mark Marrufo, vice president of brand marketing at Discount Tire. “Drivers should know how to maintain their tires and when to replace them when worn to ensure they don’t compromise safety when driving in summer temperatures.”

To help stay safe on the road this summer, know your numbers and follow these easy T.I.R.E. tips: tread depth, inflation pressure, rotation, education.

  1. Don’t forget to check your tire’s tread before hitting the road. Tread depth refers to the amount of tread on a tire, which can impact handling, traction and stopping distance, especially on wet roads. Most new car tires start with 11/32 inches of tread. If your tires don’t have at least 2/32 inches, it’s time to replace them. Use the “penny test” by sticking a penny upside-down in a tread groove. If Lincoln’s entire head is visible, your tread is worn beyond the legal minimum requirement and it’s time to replace your tires.
  1. Check your tire inflation pressure at least once a month to make sure they are at the appropriate inflation pressure. Low tire pressure leads to decreased steering and braking control, poor gas mileage, excessive tire wear and the possibility of tire failure. Temperature changes affect tire pressure. For every 10 degrees of temperature change, tire air pressure changes 1 PSI (pound per square inch).
  1. To increase tread life and smooth out your ride, rotate your tires every 6,000 miles or earlier if irregular or uneven wear develops.
  1. Stay educated on your tires and what you need to do to keep them safe. Inspect your spare and consider a roadside assistance plan. Some cars come with run-flat tires, which enable continued driving with no air pressure for up to 60 miles at speeds up to 55 mph, but most vehicles are equipped with either a space-saver spare or tire repair kit. Check your trunk to see what your vehicle contains. Drivers unsure of the condition of their tires should consult an expert, and visiting a Discount Tire location for a free safety inspection is a good place to start.

To locate a store near you, schedule tire service appointments or search tires and wheels by size, brand and style, or by vehicle year, make and model, visit discounttire.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
Discount Tire

Weather Through Unexpected Events

(Family Features) As temperatures heat up across the country, it’s a reminder that severe weather – thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes – can strike at any time.

When these unexpected situations occur, there are time-sensitive needs before and after them. A few simple steps and tips, such as tapping into local resources and businesses efficiently in an effort to regroup, can go a long way toward ensuring you and your family navigate these situations quickly, safely and deftly.

In preparation

  • Create an emergency plan. Talk through possible scenarios and how to respond with your entire family. For example, if a severe thunderstorm occurs, who is responsible for securing outdoor items like lawn chairs and who will grab flashlights in case the power fails? Or if there’s a tornado, where’s the safest place in the house to hunker down? Once you answer these important questions, practice and fine tune your plan.
  • Keep close tabs on emerging weather situations. This improves the likelihood that you are aware and able to take steps to protect your loved ones and possessions before a storm. There are numerous apps that provide emergency alerts, and adding these to your smartphone takes just a few minutes.
  • Consider special needs. If you have circumstances that would create an extreme hardship in a power outage or other storm-related incident, gather materials to minimize the impact. For example, a cooler may be necessary to keep medications chilled. Also remember to keep a supply of non-perishable food items available, and consider other necessities like access to toilets during an extended sheltering period.

Post-event checklist

  • Check for damage. Once the threat has passed, assessing the damage is a crucial next step. It’s important to know whether your home, vehicles or other property and belongings have been damaged or destroyed. Take photos and write down as much detail as possible, including when and how the damage occurred. It’s also a good idea to gather documentation related to damaged items, such as appraisals and insurance policies.
  • Contact friends and family. Don’t forget to let friends and family know you’re OK. If they’re local and may have also been impacted, it’s important to verify their safety once yours is ensured and work with them to clean up as best as you can.
  • Take advantage of local resources. Assessing the damage early allows you to quickly contact professionals who can help, whether it’s a roof repair company, water damage experts or anything in between. Knowing whom to trust and use as a service provider can be challenging, but to help consumers find businesses that meet their needs, YP, The Real Yellow Pages® works closely with local businesses to ensure their information is correct, complete and consistent online and in print. In addition, the information found in search results on yellowpages.com and via the YP app is tailored to help consumers find local businesses, saving precious time, which is critical following a storm.

To find more information about what local businesses are near you and ready to help, visit yellowpages.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
YP, The Real Yellow Pages

5 Things to Consider When Buying a Mattress

(Family Features) When it comes to buying a mattress, individual needs and preferences vary across the board. Just like there is no “one size fits all” for jeans, there is not one mattress for everyone. What might be comfortable and supportive for one person may not be the best fit for someone else.

Having a wide variety of options is key to picking out your new mattress because you can mix and match different levels of comfort with size and adjust your pick based on your sleeping position and surrounding factors. When choosing the mattress that’s best for you, consider these factors.

Size
The basic mattress sizes include twin, full, queen, king and California king. Choosing a size depends on the amount of space you have available, whether or not you share your bed with a significant other and personal preference. Think about your current sleeping situation and if you’re happy with the amount of space you have to sleep. If you’re fighting for space with your partner, it might be time to think about upgrading to a larger size. If your room is small and your bed is taking over the space, downsizing might be a good option.

Comfort Level
Mattresses come in all different levels of comfort ranging from firm to plush to pillow top as well as contoured and personalized. To provide a variety of comfort levels for mattress shoppers, Mattress Firm offers a Comfort by Color system that categorizes levels of comfort to help customers shop in their comfort zone.

“The Comfort by Color system makes it easy for customers to come into a store and immediately see which mattresses fall into the category they’re looking for,” Mattress Firm CEO Ken Murphy said. “Whether they’re looking for a pillow top or a firm mattress, the variety of options helps customers pick a bed that’s specifically tailored to their needs.”

Sleeping Position
Another important factor to consider when choosing a mattress is your sleep position. Knowing whether you are a front, back, stomach or side sleeper, or move around frequently throughout the night, will help you narrow down your options and choose a mattress that accommodates your needs. For example, side sleepers might get better sleep with a plush or pillow top mattress that supports the spine’s natural curve versus a mattress with a firmer comfort level.

Temperature
Temperature plays a role in how you sleep, and it’s not limited to hot summer temperatures. Heavy comforters, heat settings and even your mattress can affect the quality of your sleep. While pillow tops and traditional memory foam can make for a warmer night’s sleep, Serta’s iComfort mattresses contain cooling technology to help you sleep at a comfortable temperature all night long. If you naturally heat up in your sleep, cooling technology may be something to consider.

Pain
If you experience any sort of pain – especially while you sleep – your mattress can either help or hurt that pain. For example, if you have lower back pain, you may need a firmer mattress to help keep your back aligned. By identifying any pain you have and being transparent when shopping, you can find the right mattress to help alleviate discomfort and improve your sleep.

For more information, visit MattressFirm.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
Mattress Firm

5 Time-Savers for Busy Teens

(Family Features) A break from the regular school routine may be a welcome change, but for many teens, summer is just as busy as the school year. Jobs, athletic activities and social events can keep that so-called “break” jam-packed with action.

Time management is essential, but there are some other easy steps teens can take to save time and make sure there’s at least a little room left to kick back and enjoy all that summer has to offer.

  1. Get organized. Precious minutes tick away while searching for lost keys or phones, or finding the perfect shirt for a night out with friends. Taking a little time to get organized will pay off in the long run. Create a specific place, such as a shelf or basket, to hold items that get used every day so you always know where to look. Also take time to put away laundry and hang clothes, and skip the wasteful rummaging that results from an untidy room and closet.
  1. Be prepared. Even when you’re on the go, taking care of yourself is important. Create a portable pack, whether you’re headed out for a day at the beach or an impromptu camping trip, because pimples are unpredictable and can appear at a moment’s notice. Make sure your skin stays clean and clear by including an easy-to-use, mess-free OXY On-The-Go Acne Stick, which is conveniently packaged in a slim, solid form and clinically proven to kill acne-causing bacteria so you can spot-treat acne at any time. Learn more at oxyskincare.com.
  1. Use screen time wisely. It’s easy to get sucked into hours of catching up on social media or pulled into a game where you’re trying to conquer just one more achievement. Avoid getting yourself into a time crunch by simply setting down your phone or controller when you have other obligations. Save the screen time for a break or treat it as a reward for accomplishing a task.
  1. Keep a schedule. Flitting from one spot to the next all summer long can make it tough to keep track of where you’re supposed to be and when. Writing down details like your work schedule and game times can help ensure you never miss a beat. You can also use your schedule to keep track of to-dos like registering for fall classes or chores around the house.
  1. Make time for meals. Skipping meals isn’t only unhealthy, it’s likely to slow you down when you get hungry and have to stop for a snack at an inconvenient time. Look for healthy on-the-go foods that you can eat in transit, or dedicate a little time one day a week to prepare snacks and meals for the week ahead so you can still stay nourished when you’re in a time crunch.

A busy summer may not feel like much of a vacation, but if you work to manage and save time where you can, you’ll be able to carve out some much needed rest and relaxation.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
OXY Skincare

More than 500 student athletes to participate in 2017 Kansas State High School Clay Target League State Tournament June 3-4

The Kansas State High School Clay Target League (KSSHSCTL) is proud to announce that 503 student athletes are scheduled to participate in the 2017 State Tournament, June 3rd and 4th at the Ark Valley Gun Club outside of Wichita, KS.

Student athletes representing 38 Kansas high school teams will compete for individual and team achievements at the tournament, which is held each year following the completion of the League’s spring season.

“This League is the fastest-growing activity in Kansas schools.” said Jim Sable, Executive Director of the KSSHSCTL, “Participation for the State Tournament has more than doubled since last year. It’s very exciting to see Kansas embrace the clay target league as it has.”

Generous supporters for the State Tournament include:  Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, HybridLight, Sportsman’s Guide, and Walker’s.

This year more than 700 student athletes representing 39 high school teams participated in the 2017 spring season. They were coached and supported by over 300 volunteers.

The Kansas State High School Clay Target League is an affiliate of  the USA High School Clay Target League, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The League is an independent provider of shooting sports as an extracurricular co-ed and adaptive activity for high schools and students in grades six through 12. The organization’s priorities are safety, fun, and marksmanship – in that order. Each student is required to pass a comprehensive firearm safety education course prior to participation.

Nationwide, over 20,000 student athletes representing over 600 school-approved teams participated in the League during the 2016-17 school year.

For more information visit http://ksclaytarget.com | http://usaclaytarget.com

On Memorial Day, Haysville native has unique assignment as member of elite Navy Honor Guard

By Dusty Good, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Airman Bryce Shipe

As the nation pauses to remember those who have died in service to America, a 2016 Campus High School and Haysville, Kansas native has special responsibilities on Memorial Day, serving with the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard in Washington D.C.

Airman Bryce Shipe, is participating as part of the Navy drill team for the Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He is a member of the seven-person Navy Ceremonial Guard firing party that renders the 21 Gun Salute, the signature honor of military funerals, during every Navy Funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

“I look forward to having the opportunity to honor our fallen heroes who have served this great nation,” said Shipe.

Established in 1931, the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard is the official Ceremonial Unit of the U.S. Navy and is based at Naval District Washington Anacostia Annex in Washington, D.C.

According to Navy officials, the Ceremonial Guard’s primary mission is to represent the Navy in Presidential, Joint Armed Forces, Navy and public ceremonies in the Nation’s Capital under the scrutiny of the highest-ranking officials of the United States and foreign nations, including royalty.

Sailors of the Ceremonial Guard are hand selected while they are attending boot camp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois. Strict military order and discipline, combined with teamwork, allow the Ceremonial Guard to fulfill their responsibilities with pride and determination. They are experts in the art of close order drill, coordination, and timing.

The Ceremonial Guard is comprised of the drill team, color guard, casket bearers, and firing party.

Casket bearers carry the Navy’s past to their resting ground. Whether it is in Arlington National Cemetery, or another veteran’s cemetery.

The firing party renders the 21 Gun Salute, the signature honor of military funerals, during every Navy Funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

“The Sailors here are true ambassadors of the U.S. Navy,” said Rear Admiral Charles Rock, Commandant, Naval District Washington. “They are part of a legacy that promote the mission, protect the standards, perfect the image and preserve the heritage. This elite team are “guardians of the colors,” displaying and escorting our nation flag with an impeccable exhibition of skill and determination.”

Shipe and other sailors know they are part of a legacy honoring service and sacrifice of men and women on this historic occasion.

Serving in the Navy, Shipe is learning about being a more responsible leader, sailor and person through handling numerous responsibilities.

“The Navy has helped me become more open and outgoing and I am able to accept more responsibility,” said Shipe.

His father and mother, Raymond and Carla Shipe, both reside in Wichita, Kansas.

Job-Hunting Students Unaware of a Top Hiring Sector


(Family Features) A national survey reports that students getting ready to enter the workforce are often overlooking one of the top hiring sectors – agriculture.

The research, sponsored by the America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program, found that agriculture is not being considered by many high school and college students, despite it being one of the country’s major industries. In fact, only 3 percent of students recognize the agriculture industry as a top hiring sector.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, employers have nearly 60,000 job openings in agriculture annually, but only approximately 35,000 students with the proper training and education to fill these jobs each year.

Part of the awareness gap may be attributed to a lack of understanding of the varied job prospects and technology focus in the agriculture industry. Fewer than one in five students (19 percent) students surveyed felt they understood the career opportunities in agriculture, and only one in three students (35 percent) described agriculture as a technology-driven industry.

However, today’s agriculture industry offers a wide array of career paths for individuals with interest in technology, science, education, agronomy and business – among other fields. From agriculture economists and agronomists, to crop consultants, food scientists and engineers, experts in multiple fields – especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas are needed to drive innovations growers need to feed the world’s growing population.

To help close this gap, the America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, awards scholarships to help develop the next generation of agriculture leaders. Students looking to pursue higher education in an agriculture-related field of study from a two- or four-year program or trade school are eligible to apply for a $1,500 scholarship until Feb. 1, 2017.

“The field of agriculture provides many exciting and important career opportunities for today’s students, and we feel it’s important to support youth who are pursuing their studies in this growing and dynamic industry,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president.

To find more information or to apply for the program, visit www.GrowAgLeaders.com, or learn more about the program at Facebook.com/AmericasFarmers.

SOURCE:
Monsanto Fund

Students Prosper from STEM Education

(Family Features) Education is particularly critical for today’s students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, as the number of jobs with an emphasis in STEM is expected to grow significantly over the next 10 years, according to the National Science and Math Initiative.

With the right funding, schools across the country are putting an emphasis on STEM education and looking for new ways to make a difference in the lives of their students and their communities. For Rochelle Middle School in Rochelle, Illinois, a $25,000 grant from the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, enabled the school to enhance its science curriculum by exposing students to STEM-related career opportunities and preparing students for the workforce. The program included the purchase of a 3D printer to introduce students to the technology and bring their designs and ideas to life.

Shortly after the program began, the students learned about a local farmer who lost his arm in an accident while working in the field and they began working on a program to use the 3D printer to build a fully-functioning prosthesis for him.   

Other Americas Farmers Grow Rural Education grants have helped schools expand their science curriculum by building greenhouses, continuing a remote-operated-vehicle science program, developing a livestock learning laboratory on a high school campus and others.

“STEM education is a vital foundation for the future of students and communities,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund president. “With the support of local farmers, we are proud to provide resources to engage and excite students in their STEM educations, and help them understand practical applications of their studies.”

Since starting the program, Rochelle Middle School’s parents and teachers have noticed a change in students, as they seem more engaged and excited to learn. Many even stay after school for an independent study course with their science teacher.

“The grant helped enhance our STEM offering to students and show them what their futures could hold,” said Vic Worthington, Rochelle Middle School science instructor. “In middle school, it’s easy for these students to go to school each day, but not understand the full picture of possibilities of their futures. Through this program, schools are able to put possibilities in front of students they couldn’t have previously dreamed of.”

The Grow Rural Education program is seeking nominations from farmers through April 1, 2017, to help provide rural public schools with funding for STEM projects. Since the program began partnering with farmers in 2011, more than $11 million has been awarded to help rural schools in need. To learn more about the program or how farmers can nominate a school near them, visit GrowRuralEducation.com.

SOURCE:
Monsanto Fund

7 Ways to Include Everyone In the Holiday Cheer

(Family Features) Holidays bring get-togethers filled with music, food and conversation. However, for those who experience hearing loss, the season often takes on a whole different sound. Those with hearing loss often end up feeling isolated from the festivities, but there are ways you can make sure they feel comfortable joining the fun.

A survey* by Rayovac, which was conducted online by Harris Poll, found that 56 percent of Americans say talking and catching up with family members is their favorite part of family gatherings, but nearly one out of every five (19 percent) say they have experienced difficulty communicating with someone who is hard of hearing.

If you’ll be escorting a family member with hearing loss to a holiday event, be sure their hearing devices are in good operating condition with batteries that are able to power all of the device’s features, like Rayovac. The hearing aid battery company has also introduced the Gift of Hearing this holiday season, a campaign in which a portion of proceeds from its battery sales benefit the Starkey Hearing Foundation.


This holiday season, make the most of the opportunity to share quality conversations with loved ones who have trouble hearing by following these simple tips from Shari Eberts of livingwithhearingloss.com:

  • Get their attention before speaking by saying their name or tapping them on the shoulder.
  • Give some context as to the topic of the conversation to help them infer.
  • Make sure they can see your lips. Stand in a well-lit area and be sure you are facing them directly, with your hand away from your face while talking.
  • Know that background noise can provide difficult distractions. If you’re hoping for more than a passing greeting, find a quiet place where you can visit comfortably.
  • Enunciate as you talk, but avoid the temptation to speak overly slowly. Instead, speak at a moderate but steady rate.
  • Be patient and be prepared to repeat or rephrase your comments.
  • Remember that if you are feeling frustrated, your partner in conversation may be, too. Keep your sense of humor so you can enjoy the holiday together.

Learn more about The Gift of Hearing campaign, and find hearing aid batteries designed with the latest technology in mind, at Rayovac.com.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

*All References: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Rayovac from Aug. 26-30, 2016 among 2,025 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, contact kflehmer@lsb.com.

SOURCE:
Rayovac



Cleaning Hacks to Tackle Each Room of Your Home

(Family Features) From fighting fuzz on the living room sofa to removing grime from kitchen appliances, these quick and easy tips can help you prep your home for summertime entertaining.

For more cleaning tips and hacks around the home, visit Scotch-Brite.com.

SOURCE:
Scotch-Brite



Youth Entrepreneurs Students Claim Top Recognition in Business Plan Competition Finals

Final Flyers judges Dave Coyle, Stephanie Galichia, Matt Michaelis and Chuck Mackey, reviewed student presentations and business plans at Final Flyers in Wichita. Several students, including Michele Valadez, claimed top recognition in the competition.
Final Flyers judges Dave Coyle, Stephanie Galichia, Matt Michaelis and Chuck Mackey, reviewed student presentations and business plans at Final Flyers in Wichita. Several students, including Michele Valadez, claimed top recognition in the competition.

Youth Entrepreneurs (YE) held the final round of its annual business plan competition, Final Flyers, on June 2 at Emprise Bank in Wichita. The organization awarded a total of $7,500 in capital grants to winning students from Kansas and Missouri.

Sixteen out of 1,100 students from greater Wichita/Southcentral Kansas, Kansas City metro, Topeka and Southwest Kansas high schools participated in Final Flyers. Each participant had eight minutes to present his or her business plan to a group of judges, followed by eight minutes of questions and answers. The judges awarded five students $1,500 in capital grants, including Michele Valadez, East High School, for Catch My Bus.

“The Final Flyers serve as the capstone of the yearlong Youth Entrepreneurs program. It’s inspiring to see Youth Entrepreneurs students put their learning from in and out of the classroom into action and see real, tangible results,” said Phoebe Bachura, Youth Entrepreneurs executive director. “The lessons students learn from this course not only help them integrate into the business world following graduation, but also help them solve problems, and provide them hope and tools to pursue higher education, entrepreneurism and more.”

Additionally, Jon Bachura, YE national outreach director, delivered the keynote presentation at Final Flyers.

Sixteen students from Kansas and Missouri high schools competed in the final round of Youth Entrepreneurs business plan competition, Final Flyers. The organization awarded a total of $7,500 in capital grants to the winning students to go toward higher education or business capital.
Sixteen students from Kansas and Missouri high schools competed in the final round of Youth Entrepreneurs business plan competition, Final Flyers. The organization awarded a total of $7,500 in capital grants to the winning students to go toward higher education or business capital.

“In any market, most people are of the opinion they are buying goods. In reality, they are buying knowledge. The logistics and ideas it took to get that product to the point of sale is more powerful than the dollars it took for the end user to purchase it,” said Jon Bachura. “It represents a shift in mindset, which is something we focus on in our classes. Knowledge is more than just power; it is capital.”

Final Flyers was sponsored by Emprise Bank. Students participating in Final Flyers placed first and second in regional business plan competitions where they received up to $1,000 for higher education or business capital.

Youth Entrepreneurs students soar to victory in Regional Flyers Competition

YE-4wYouth Entrepreneurs (YE) held The Flyers, a business plan competition serving as the capstone of the yearlong YE program, on April 27 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Wichita Airport. In categories ranging from art to agriculture, YE students dreamt up business plans and presented them for the chance to win scholarships and capital grants.
Forty-three students from Wichita-area schools were selected to take part in this year’s event, where they competed for regional honors and the opportunity to move on to the Final Flyers competition on June 2 in Wichita.
Each student had eight minutes to present his/her business plan to a group of judges. First-place winners were awarded $1,000, second-place winners $750 and third-place winners $500. Winners for four groups of students, include:
YE-1w1st Place:
Michele Valadez, East High School, for Catch My Bus; Whitney Clum, Northwest High School, for Cover to Cover; J. Larkin White, Winfield High School, for A to Z Assistants; Jenna Majors, Winfield High School, for Jenna’s Little Pitchers
2nd Place:
Paige Gray, Southeast High School, for Path to Success; Shane Bosely, Augusta High School, for Hi-Sight Imaging; Caitlyn Meraz, North High School, for Bombshell; Tayla Mallernee, Campus High School, for Rapid Ready
3rd Place:
Natalie Samuelson, Andover Central High School, for Keys w/ Ease; Brett Kabler, Andover High School, for The Escape ICT; Ashley Marlowe, Andover Central High School, for Strides Equestrian Center; Carly Flake, Andover High School, for Activus Physical Therapy Practice
YE-2wYouth Entrepreneurs provides high school students with many tools that help them in school and life,” said Phoebe Bachura, Youth Entrepreneurs executive director. “The Flyers in particular give students the opportunity to put business skills into practice. From preparing a business plan to delivering ideas to a panel of judges, students take away lessons that transcend the classroom and benefit them as they strive to make their entrepreneurial aspirations a reality.”
YE staff also presented awards to Wichita’s Volunteers of the Year, Woody Swain, Swain Farms, LLC, and Seth Konkel, Ilusion Productions; and Teachers of the Year, Hollie Ricke, Andover High School; Janet Hartley, Wichita West High School; Erin Wohletz, Little River High School. Westar Energy and Don Sherman, VP community relations & strategic partnerships, received the Community Partner Award. Additionally, YE Academy participants and scholarship winners were recognized.
YE-3wThe Flyers Wichita was sponsored by Independence Community College.

Wichita teens earn scholarships via Chick Evans caddy program

chick circa 1910 cleaned up
The Chick Evans Scholarships are administered by the Evans Scholars Foundation and supported by the Western Golf Association, which joined with legendary amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans to establish the caddie scholarship program in 1930.

Waking up at 6 a.m. to carry golf clubs for more than four miles in the hot sun can be tiring, and the days are long. But when a full tuition and housing scholarship is on the line, the hard work is worth the effort.

That is exactly what more than 10,000 high school caddies nationwide, including four from Wichita and more than 100 from Kansas, have done in order to earn a once-in-a-lifetime shot at a full college scholarship.

This year, more than 910 deserving golf caddies across the country attended college on the Chick Evans Scholarship, one of the nation’s largest privately funded scholarship Programs. Supported by the Western Golf Association, the Scholarship provides full tuition and housing at leading universities across the country, including the University of Kansas. The requirements are straightforward: earn good grades, have a strong caddie record, demonstrate financial need and display outstanding character.

Wichita resident Michael Hurley, a 1981 Evans Scholar graduate who was awarded to Michigan State University, can attest to the role that caddying played in driving his success both on and off the golf course.

“Caddying has impacted where I am both professionally and personally today,” said Michael. “It instilled a strong work ethic in me and helped me develop interpersonal skills by working with successful men and women golfers. Because of caddying, I have an appreciation for the game of golf.”

Being a caddie was certainly a lot of work, but students were able to experience events they would not have had the opportunity to witness elsewhere. Michael’s favorite memory of his journey to receiving the Evans Scholarship was caddying for Canadian professional ice hockey player Gordie Howe (who is now retired). Gordie, a legend then, was gracious to Michael for his help on the golf course and has always been a great role model in Michael’s life.

While the early mornings were tough, Michael cannot put into words how thankful he is for receiving the Evans Scholarship.

“When I found out I received the Scholarship, I was awestruck and completely humbled,” said Michael. “The Evans Scholarship allowed me to go to a major university which had never been in my dreams before. At that time, I knew what a special privilege the Scholarship was, but looking back 35 years later, I realize that I had completely underestimated how excellent of an opportunity it was.”

Caddying offers more than merely summer employment for young men and women in Kansas. It allows exposure to successful role models, new friends and life lessons. The decision to become a caddie could be life-changing, just as it was for Michael.

To apply for the scholarship, applicants must have caddied regularly for a minimum of two years and are expected to caddie and/or work at their sponsoring club during the summer after they apply for the scholarship. To learn more, please visit
www.wgaesf.org.