SEE RECIPIENTS

Click the button below to view the 2023 Kid of the Year recipients and their stories.

2024 RECIPIENTS
2023 RECIPIENTS

Do you know an outstanding kid who is doing extraordinary things in school, sports, extracurricular activities or the community? Do you know a young person using their talents or personality to make a difference in the lives of others?

If so, they could be the next Kid of the Month, presented by MDU Resources Group!

Help us honor, recognize and share the stories of these amazing kids by nominating them for the Kid of the Month program.

HOW IT WORKS.

  • Nominate a kid (ages 6-12) below and tell us why they deserve to be recognized as the Kid of the Month.
    • Who Can Nominate? Anyone can nominate (teachers, counselors, coaches, community leaders, etc.)
  • We will select (1) outstanding kid each month.
  • Each Kid of the Month will be highlighted with a feature story on the Larks website, social platforms, e-newsletter, quarterly Member Magazine, and at the MDU Resources Group Kid of the Year game next summer.
  • Over the course of the program, 9 kids will be selected as Kid of the Month, but one outstanding kid will be selected as the Kid of the Year.

What does the Kid of the Month receive?

  • (4) FREE tickets to the 2024 MDU Resources Group Kid of the Year game
  • Customized Larks jersey
  • Mention in the Larks game day program
  • Video feature highlighting their accomplishments
  • Recognition on the Larks social media outlets and website
  • On-field recognition at the game

What does the Kid of the Year receive?

The 2023-24 Kid of the Year will receive all of the above benefits PLUS a $1,000 scholarship from the MDU Resources Group Foundation.

The 2023-24 Kid of the Year will be announced during the 2024 MDU Resources Group Kid of the Year game.

Submit an outstanding kid below! The more description, the better!

Submissions will be reviewed and winners will be selected starting in August of 2023.

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Great candidates excel during extracurricular activities, school activities, and/or impacting the community. Nominations that include 1-2 in-depth stories will be recognized.

2023-2024 Kid of the Month Award Recipients

Eli Henke – September ’23

The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc., are proud to announce that eight-year-old Eli Henke is the September Kid of the Month.

His dad, Brad, wrote about Eli’s character when nominating him for the award saying, “ Eli character is described as an excellent citizen and friend by his teachers. He has a kind heart and is a great athlete. He plays football, baseball, soccer and is also a runner.”

At just eight years old, Eli has already participated in seven 5K races including the race hosted by the local Bismarck Marathon with his father. The first 5K he participated in came when he was just six years old.

“One of my favorite things is running and I get to do a lot of running in football,” Henke said. “But at school I play basketball with my friends and at home I like to play catch with my dad. We also like to go fishing and camping together.”

A new student arrives in Eli’s class and didn’t talk with others – the teachers placed the new student at Eli’s table because they knew he would be kind to the student and they then became great friends.

“Eli loves playing baseball and plays in the BYB league. His favorite positions are second base and shortstop. He also plays football, where his favorite positions are wide receiver, cornerback, and safety,” Brad Henke said. “We are very proud of this young man!”

Alivia Ell – October ’23

The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc. are proud to announce 11-year-old Alivia Ell from Solheim Elementary School as the October Kid of the Month.

Shelly Lockard nominated Alivia for the award because of her willingness to go above and beyond for others.

“Alivia is very active and is always ready to help raise money for many local charities,” Lockard wrote. “Since she was five, Alivia has filled the baskets at Christmas time for families in need and rings the bells for the Salvation Army’s red kettle for donations. Alivia has walked in the Turkey Trot and Santa Run to raise funds for those charities.”

Alivia has walked in the Turkey Trot and Santa Run to raise funds for those charities. She loves to bake and has helped make many baked goods for Furry Friends to raise funds for animals in need.

“I like to donate stuff to the Salvation Army because I want to help kids who don’t have as much stuff as I do.”

She was also awarded the “Trying Something New Award” at school for her innovative ideas and details in her class project. She is a frequent recipient of Cougar Catches at school for always being kind, considerate, and helpful to her classmates and teachers.

“Every year, we go to the Civic Center and we fill Christmas boxes for families that need them. We put food and stuff in the boxes and then they get shipped out to them,” Alivia said.

Danica Shorey – November ’23

The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc. are proud to recognize Danica Shorey as the November Larks Kid of the Month.

Danica is a 12-year-old from Wachter Middle School that is in Girl Scouts, plays on a volleyball team, soon to be a member of the wrestling team, and has great reviews from friends, teachers and other adults.

“The first year in Girl Scouts, I sold over 3,000 cookies. We worked really hard and we went to a bunch of different stores,” Shorey said. “With Girl Scouts, I get to meet new people, interact with more people, more awards. With the church, I like to interact with my brothers and a bunch of the little kids.”

Danica has made a strong impression on the leaders of the church, leaders of Girl Scouts and her school teachers. This strong impression and commitment to the community encouraged her nomination for the Larks Kid of the Month program.

”She has been recognized for several years in a row as a top cookie seller in our service unit. She commits every year to this activity and makes signs and spends hours at booths, with a dedicated family,” Nicole Gustafson said when nominating Danica. “She also has put in nearly a hundred hours of time towards earning the Torch Award (a Girl Scout award which requires a full term in a leadership position, a Leader in Action award which required working with a team to create an event for younger girls, a Bronze Award last year, and is nearly done with her requirements for the Program Aide award.”

Kamri Kitzmann – December ’23

The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc. are proud to recognize 11-year-old Kamri Kitzmann as the Larks December Kid of the Month.

Kamri organized “Bow-lieve in Maren,” a fundraiser where she raised $800 for an infant that needed a liver transplant.

“She’s just a baby who is not even a year old. The family had already dealt with someone else who needed surgery, so, we decided to help,” Kamri said. “The plan was to sell bows to raise money and help pay for the liver transplant.”

Lisa Gusewell, who nominated Kamri for the Kid of the Month award, felt a strong impression from this fundraiser.

“Imagine a young girl, not yet in her teens, orchestrating a fundraiser with the heart and skill of a seasoned philanthropist. The “Bow-lieve in Maren” initiative wasn’t just a fundraiser; it was a call to action, a movement that Kamri helped to lead with passion and empathy,” Lisa said when nominating Kamri for the award. “Her efforts to aid Maren Staigle, an infant with biliary atresia, were nothing short of heroic. Rallying her community to buy and wear bows, she and her friends raised over $800 – a monumental achievement that shows her ability to dream big, and make those dreams a reality.”

She has also been a leader on the dance floor and an athletic achiever on the basketball and volleyball courts. She also has started to write a book – 85 pages and counting.

Zyaire Terry-Walker – January ’24

The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc. are proud to recognize 11-year-old Kamri Kitzmann as the Larks December Kid of the Month.

Kamri organized “Bow-lieve in Maren,” a fundraiser where she raised $800 for an infant that needed a liver transplant.

“She’s just a baby who is not even a year old. The family had already dealt with someone else who needed surgery, so, we decided to help,” Kamri said. “The plan was to sell bows to raise money and help pay for the liver transplant.”

Lisa Gusewell, who nominated Kamri for the Kid of the Month award, felt a strong impression from this fundraiser.

“Imagine a young girl, not yet in her teens, orchestrating a fundraiser with the heart and skill of a seasoned philanthropist. The “Bow-lieve in Maren” initiative wasn’t just a fundraiser; it was a call to action, a movement that Kamri helped to lead with passion and empathy,” Lisa said when nominating Kamri for the award. “Her efforts to aid Maren Staigle, an infant with biliary atresia, were nothing short of heroic. Rallying her community to buy and wear bows, she and her friends raised over $800 – a monumental achievement that shows her ability to dream big, and make those dreams a reality.”

She has also been a leader on the dance floor and an athletic achiever on the basketball and volleyball courts. She also has started to write a book – 85 pages and counting.

Garrison Warkenthien – February ’24

The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc. are proud to recognize 10-year-old Garrison Warkenthien as the Larks February Kid of the Month.

Volunteer, Dustin Willett, nominated Garrison for the award because of who is in between the lines on the sports field – but not necessarily for his play. Garrison is referred to as the ultimate team player on every sports team he participates with: basketball, football, and baseball.

“What makes me want to nominate him has nothing to do with the points he can score for his team, but the fact that he is always there to pick up the other kids around him. He is always aware when another kid is having a bad day and will see how he can help. Even if that means sacrificing his shot in a game so someone else can get a shot,” Willett said. “He has often come to me and says, another kid hasn’t scored yet we should get him a shot or take me out and let another kid play more. Garrison loves all sports but he loves getting his teammates involved in the game even more.”

Garrison also excels in the classroom, is on top of his studies, and likes to help other students.

“His teachers report he is always on task and gets his work done on time even with his hectic sports schedule. Garrison is the kid in the classroom who always finds a way to make everyone feel welcome,” Willett said. “When a new classmate moved in from out of state, Garrison made sure he felt like one of the boys, showing him where everything in the school was located and including him in playing football and basketball at recess.”

Kendall Gangness – March ’24

The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc. are proud to recognize 11-year-old Kendall Gangness from Elk Ridge Elementary as the Larks March Kid of the Month.

Teacher, Abby Delzer, nominated Kendall for the award because of the impact that she has made on students in her grade and for the role model she is to younger students. Delzer asked two other teachers and leaders to help nominate Kendall also.

“Kendall is an amazing girl. Her positive energy shines throughout our school. She is a leader in the classroom always helping others and working hard,” Kari Balrund said. She is a positive role model in our school, especially to a special 2nd-grade student. She’s involved in Trailblazers where she is helping her school grow and brighten our community. We are so proud and thankful to have Kendall as a big part of Elk Ridge.”

The Elk Ridge Explorers is a group of older students that go to kindergartners’ class and help them count, learn their A-B-C’s, sound out words, and more. She also participates in ‘Socks for the Season’ where students help other people in need and they make goodie baskets for the elderly.

“My favorite part is helping people and being kind. I feel like everyone should be treated the way you want to be treated,” Gangness said. “My favorite part about being a part of a team is meeting friends, meeting new people, having coaches and the learning part of it all.”

Kendall also stays busy and participates in three travel sports: basketball, soccer and volleyball.

Elizabeth Wittmayer – April ’24

The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc. are proud to recognize 12-year-old Elizabeth Wittmayer from Wachter Middle School as the Larks April Kid of the Month.

Father, Justin, nominated Elizabeth for the award because she is driven in the classroom as an A-student, participates in volleyball, choir, and drama club and constantly puts in extra time to dedicate herself to her craft.

Elizabeth also helps care for her little brother, Jordan, who was diagnosed with Jacobson’s Disease – a rare genetic disorder caused by deletions in the long arm of chromosome 11 (11q) and mainly characterized by craniofacial dysmorphism, congenital heart disease, intellectual disability, Paris Trousseau bleeding disorder, structural kidney defects and immunodeficiency.

Her dad wrote in the nomination of Elizabeth, “Ellie has the biggest heart of anyone I know. She truly cares about others and goes out of her way to help anyone in anyway she can. She receives amazing reviews from all of her teachers who can’t say enough about how wonderful of a person she is, which is something I see in her heart every single day. I am beyond blessed to have someone as special as her in my life, and would love to see her recognized for being the absolutely amazing person that she is.”

2022-2023 Kid of the Month Award Recipients

Abby Daniels – September ’22

The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc., are proud to announce that Abby Daniels is the September Kid of the Month.

“I thought it’d be fun and I wanted to help out my community. My mom is really big on helping out in the community with stuff, so I just followed after her in just three years,” Abby said.

Abby raised over $4,000 for the Bismarck Cancer Center.

“In 2019, I raised $400. In 2020, I raised $1,350, and then in 2021, I raised $2,250.”

She chose Bismarck Cancer Center because she like many lost a loved one due to cancer.

“My grandma died of cancer when I was in first grade, so I wanted to help raise money for them so other people can survive. I want to thank all the businesses that helped me with my goal, and Bill Bryan, who also helped me.”

Emery Scherr – October ’22

Seven-year-old Emery Scherr is a kid who loves giving back to her community.

“I decided to join the Girl Scouts because it seemed like it would be a fun opportunity to raise money for people in our community,” Emery said.

The classic Thin Mints and Tagalongs played a big part in Emery raising money for her community.

“My goal was $1000 and I reach over it, so then I knew that there was at least enough money for at least one person in each troop to have a dollar,” Emery said.

But that wasn’t the only way Emory and her girl scout troop gave back.

“We also made homeless bags for the woman in our community,” Emery said. “We had BandAids, socks, wipes, and lotion.”

Emery has a simple, yet powerful reason why she loves giving back.

“Because it just makes our community a better place,” Emery said.

Anna Harris – November ’22

Anna Harris, a 12-year-old at Wachter Middle School is going above and beyond as a student in more than just athletics and academics. Anna was nominated by her teacher, Mrs. Peterson.

“What makes Anna stick out for me is how she leads as a role model for others, sticks up for what is right, and is always looking for ways to make the world more inclusive for others,” Mrs. Peterson said.

“I feel that I make a good impact because I try to help everyone that needs help,” Anna said. “If they don’t know me, I say hi and get to know them. I think they feel welcomed. I showed someone new around the school and they were really grateful that I helped them.”

Her actions go beyond helping and befriending students. Anna is promoting inclusiveness and acceptance with her friend, Bella.

“My friend [Bella] has autism and I try to make her feel welcomed in the school and offer her to join me even if I know she might not be able to do it,” Anna said.

The friendship between Bella and Anna is deeper than classmates. Anna has learned from others about how to continue to be inclusive.

“I like having her as my friend and that’s really grown because we’ve been in the same class for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade,” Anna said. “Since then I’ve gotten to know her and her aid taught me why Bella is different from other people. I’m happy she is my friend.”

Anna also recognizes her dad, Trevor, as a positive influence in her life that continues to push her.

“He tried to help me and show me that even though I had a bad childhood, it doesn’t mean that I have to be that person. He tries to make me be the best I can be in sports and the world.”

We are proud to recognize Anna Harris as the November Kid of the Month powered by MDU Resources Group Inc.

Kate Woeste – December ’22

Kate is an 11-year-old that attends Miller Elementary School. She is a mentor for younger kids, serves on her student council, active in all sports a young student can participate in.

Kate helped make a difference in the community this holiday season with the “Open Your Heart Food Drive.” She also helped spread the Christmas Magic by giving gifts to local kids.

“Kate is the type of child who will come home and tell me that someone at school doesn’t have mittens or a hat and will ask if we can get one and she will take it to them and anonymously put it in a backpack or give to a teacher to give the student,” Valerie Woeste said.

“She has so much compassion and empathy for those around her and is always looking for ways to better herself and deepen her faith and to spread love, hope, and kindness to others. This year, she had the idea to make hot cocoa bombs to sell and to use the money to purchase gifts for ‘operation Christmas Magic’ which is similar to an angel tree program. She really is one of the greats!”

Addilynn Lunstad – January ’23

Check out Addilynn Lunstad’s amazing story.

She has been selected as the January Kid of the Month presented by MDU Resources Group Inc. Her achievements include so many things:

  • Working with her inspirational non-profit (Addilynn’s Bee-Lievers) to support the CACNA1A Foundation
  • Distributed 20 family comfort kits to families at local hospitals
  • Provided Therapy scholarships to 2 outpatient therapy clinics to cover costs

“Sometimes it is hard to talk about my story, but I have tried to be brave because I know it can help others,” Addilynn said.

Jackson Germain – February ’23

Nine-year-old Jackson Germain loves to play football and was the right guard for the Washburn Jaguars.

“I enjoy spending time with my friends,” Jackson said. “I get to see my friends and we come to practice early just to play more football.”

This last season turned out to be a little different for Jaxon than what he expected.

During a game, he was tackled by two players and that resulted in a concussion. But this didn’t stop him from wanting to be a part of the team.

Jaxon decided to still attend every practice and help out the team wherever he could so that he could learn and be ready for his ten-year-old football season coming up in the fall of 2023.

Jaxon showed true grit in the face of hard odds and his story doesn’t stop there.

“He was also born at just 13 ounces as a preemie baby. He now asks to go to the gym to help get stronger to play again next year,” Jaxon’s dad, Jeremy, wrote. “What made Jaxon outstanding was his determination to be there for his team even with life altering events.”

The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc. are proud to recognize Jaxon as the February Kid of the Month.

Alayna Huber – March ’23

Nine-year-old Alayna Huber has been doing her part to make the world a better place one cup at a time.

The money she makes from her lemonade stand is donated to her favorite charities including The Humane Society and Penny’s Passion. Penny’s Passion is a charity that started in honor of her late grandmother.

“They make these bags with a bunch of goodies stuffed inside of them and then they give them to kids that are fighting cancer,” Alayna said.

Last year, Alayna took part in Lemonade Day – a program that helps youth understand business. Alayna created the idea of “Alayna’s Cotton Candy Lemonade.”

“I was brainstorming something to do that was new and different and then I came up with Cotton Candy flavored lemonade,” Alayna said.

But Alayna hasn’t stopped with lemonade. This year, she was the top fundraiser at her school for the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart following her second-place finish a year ago.

“It’s a donation thing at our school where there are kids with heart disease and we donate money to American Heart Association to help them,” Alayna said.

The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc. are proud to recognize Alayna as the March Kid of the Month.

Chelsee Holmen – April ’23

Eleven-year-old, Chelsee Holmen, enjoys reading, drawing, and running. But the thing she loves doing the most is singing.

Chelsee has been singing the National Anthem since she was nine years old when she was asked to sing at a parade in Velva, North Dakota.

“I was asked to sing the National Anthem at a parade. When I got that opportunity, I really wanted to sing more after,” Chelsee said. “And I’m in Western Plains Choir at Minot State University and that has made me want to keep going.”

Since singing in that parade, she has been invited to sing the National Anthem at several sporting events in Velva and at North Dakota State University – something she is always excited to do.

“I like to sing at the games because I get to see the sporting events at the University so then I get to watch the game. I also get to travel a lot to sing which is cool,” Chelsee said.

Chelsee was invited to sing the National Anthem on Easter Sunday in front of over 14,000 cheering fans at the Minnesota Twins game.

“I was super excited because it was my first ever baseball game and it was just a really big opportunity for us,” Chelsee said.

Chelsee has done a great job at these events and plans to sing at future events. The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc. are proud to recognize Chelsea as the April Kid of the Month.

Patrick Good – May ’23

Patrick Good’s passion for sports stems on and off the field. While Patrick competes in baseball, basketball, and soon football, he covers those sports on his podcast, Around the League.

Patrick’s podcast, which began last December, consists of him discussing headlines from the MLB, NFL, NBA, and college sports. Patrick got his inspiration from watching sports coverage on TV

“I like watching sports and all the interviews,” Patrick said. “I knew that being on a show like SportsCenter or MLB Tonight would be a future goal, but a podcast would be really cool.”

Patrick continues to grow Around the League every day through new episodes. In the future, Patrick sees his podcast reaching even further heights.

“I’d like to have guests in the future,” Patrick said. “That’s really the thing I’d like to do most.”

While Patrick’s main passion is on the baseball diamond, his passion for podcasting keeps his love for the game strong off the field

“I think my dream job would probably be playing in the MLB,” Patrick said. “But if that wouldn’t work out, I’d want to be a broadcaster.”

You can listen to Around the League on Spotify and Apple Music. The Larks and MDU Resources Group Inc. are proud to recognize Patrick as the May Kid of the Month.