If there’s one thing Amanda Kaufmann knows – it’s horses. And if there’s one thing she loves – it’s kids.
More than 40 years ago, she found a way to combine her passion to work for both through the 4-H program in Johnson County where she serves as the equine educator and riding instructor.
Now for all of her work, Kaufmann will be honored as the 2018 Champion for Children at the sixth annual Light of Hope breakfast for her work with multiple organizations in the aid of children.
“Kids are great,” Kaufmann said. “They are just fun to work with. It’s great to see their personalities and to see them achieve their goals, to see them work toward that and have some successes along the way.”
Kaufmann has also been a substitute teacher for over 40 years. In that time, she has taught all subjects to children of all ages. Now, she substitutes at Buffalo High School.
“I used to substitute any class, now it’s just at the high school and there are more classes that I teach than others. I do a lot of business classes and a lot out in the ag shop,” she said. “I really like that age group. They’re young adults and they all have different interests and ways they are wanting to go. I enjoy that.”
Kaufmann was chosen by the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) board from a list of people who dedicate their time and efforts to help children in the community.
Through her work in 4-H, Kaufmann not only teaches kids the skills they need to ride but also gives them the knowledge to work with horses, which in turn instills in them confidence and self-esteem.
Kaufmann also helps to plan and coordinate the annual Wyoming 4-H Horse Camp held in Douglas, a three-day camp where about 80 kids learn all about horses and proper riding.
“We just live and breathe horses,” Kaufmann said. “It’s mostly riding, but we do some things not on horseback, and sometimes we bring in resource people. Whatever it takes to make it fun and advance their learning.”
Kaufmann was born in Nebraska. Her family moved west to Sheridan when she was 5 years old. Her father raised horses and cattle, and when the family had the opportunity, they purchased a larger ranch near Kaycee.
Kaufmann’s life has been dedicated to agriculture and horse knowledge. She attended a private high school that included horseback riding in Baltimore and went to college in Boston, where she majored in zoology.
When she returned home, she became involved with the 4-H program.
“I joined the 4-H program probably 44 years ago,” Kaufmann said. “I’ve just done it ever since.”
It’s not only horse riding skills and care that Kaufmann teaches.
“We teach everything from anatomy to health and occupations with horses,” Kaufmann said. “Just everything you can think about concerning horses.”
As part of the 4-H program, every Monday in June, Kaufmann and her team of volunteers take young equestrians out to the Johnson County Fairgrounds and teach them basic horsemanship.
“We get them ready for the fair,” Kaufmann said. “Its really fun. The kids are wonderful. They love horses, and a lot of them don’t have an opportunity to be around horses the way we were when we were young and lived on a ranch.”
Kaufmann will be honored for her tireless work at the Light of Hope Breakfast on Oct. 26 at Bozeman Trail Steakhouse. The event allows members and honorees the chance to celebrate their hard work over the previous year.
“This is my favorite event and she (Kaufmann) has dedicated her life to agriculture and ranching education,” said Susan Carr, executive director of the COMPASS Center for Families. “Her 40 years of volunteerism embodies the spirit of working with children and families in Johnson County. Those 40 years of volunteering with the 4-H program really stand out as a huge dedication to children.”
Carr said 2018 marks the sixth year for the Light of Hope Breakfast, which gives COMPASS an opportunity to celebrate and honor its volunteers.
With community members such as Kaufmann working hard for children, Carr said she feels confident that kids in the system are not lost.
“I am so grateful,” Carr said. “There is an amazing team of people in Johnson County, from the county attorney’s office to the DFS (Department of Family Services) office to all the counselors and therapists and the schools that work so closely together to ensure that these kids coming into the system get everything single service that they deserve. It is an incredible team in Johnson County working together, and it only just keeps getting stronger.”
The Light of Hope Breakfast is Oct. 26 at Bozeman’s Steakhouse in Buffalo. Doors open at 7 a.m. and the free breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. RSVP by calling 675-2272 or e-mailing email@example.com.