Kansas Flying Farmers (1960s-1980s)

Kansas Flying Farmers (1960s-1980s)

by Joan Leiber

On the wall of the second floor of the Capper Foundation is a plaque recognizing the donations of the Kansas Flying Farmers. It represents a different era both for KFF and for the foundation.

In the late 1960s through the 1980s, Kansas Flying Farmers conducted “Donation Flights” in local airports near members. They would give rides in their airplanes for a donation to the Capper Foundation. In November, the members were guests at Capper for a meal and program presented by the children, and then KFF presented Capper the check for several thousand dollars – that season’s Donation Flight’s proceeds. When we attended an Appreciation Dinner, we saw the love and camaraderie between the staff and children – it was a happy place.

At that “pre-inclusion in school” time, many of the children were housed in the residential building at the Capper complex, and they usually had physical handicaps, hence the old name, “Capper Foundation for Crippled Children.” Later, we noticed many of the children were non-verbal and artificial speaking devices became commonplace.

Too soon, fewer KFF members were flying, and the cost of the liability insurance furnished by Capper became prohibitive, so the Donation Flights were terminated. Now, we pass the hat for Capper at our Christmas party, in lieu of a gift exchange.

Times change, laws concerning the educational needs of exceptional children change, and serving individuals with special needs of all ages has challenged Capper to change their programs in order to meet those needs. While Flying Farmers regret we can no longer raise significant money for Capper, we are happy there are many organizations now that help them meet those needs and Capper has instigated many novel ways to raise money. We are pleased that Capper continues to meet its challenges in the 21st Century.