Special Preview: Kids Ask Questions, And Now They've Got A Podcast

Jun 5, 2020

As we focus on suffrage in Wyoming, we are taking this opportunity to preview a new podcast that Wyoming Public Media and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West are in the process of creating. The KidsAskWhy podcast amplifies the voices of kids who want to ask questions. And it turns out Wyoming kids want to know about women's suffrage as well. Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck spoke to producer Kamila Kudelska.

Bob Beck: Kamila, first off, thank you so much for joining us. What is the KidsAskWhy podcast?

Kamila Kudelska: So the KidsAskWhy podcast is a collaboration between the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and Wyoming Public Media. And I've always thought that there's a lack of content for kids in the podcast world and wanting to fill that void. Me and the team of center educators brainstormed what was lacking in that field and what we could provide as museum educators and as a reporter, and we realized maybe the best thing might just be to give the power to the kids and let them ask the questions.

BB: So why do we ever want kids to have a lot of power? I know parents who don't agree with you, on this front, is this a good idea and tell us why you think this is unique?

KK: Well, kids are naturally curious and they're always asking questions. So we thought wouldn't it just be cool to give them the power to be like, well, I want to know more about, let's say, the geysers in Yellowstone. And so let's talk to the geologists and ask the questions that I as a kid want to ask. I mean, I feel like kids usually have very different questions than we as adults. So the way that we are working with the kids is, the kids between the age of six and 12. talk with us about what topic they're interested in speaking about, they figure out who they would like to speak to, and then they create their own questions. And we, the adults, are kind of just there helping them through that process in the background. And when they actually do the interview, we're just there to help them out if they need it.

BB: Now, how many kids are involved in this?

KK: So the first season is seven episodes and there are two kids in each episode, so there's 14.

BB: Okay, so what's this first season's theme?

KK: So the first season we decided that would be why do you love Wyoming? So, kind of general but we figured for the first season, why not just see what Wyoming kids want to talk about? And it was really cool to see all the applications and the different answers. Like I mentioned earlier, there was a lot of outdoors. So like Yellowstone, the geysers, Old Faithful things like that nature and wildlife. But there were other topics as well. For example, Wyoming being the equality state.

BB: Okay, and this is probably cleverly leading us into the next segment, what are we about to hear?

KK: Um, one episode in the first season focuses on Wyoming being the Equality State and the episode features two girls and they wanted to know more about that history. So Ruby Hanson is an eight year old from Cody, Wyoming, and she interviewed Mr. James Byrd, who served in the Wyoming House of Representatives, but she actually interviewed him about his mother, who was Harriet Liz Byrd, and she was the first African American to serve in the Wyoming legislature. So, we're going to listen in toward the end of that interview.

Ruby Hanson: What did she feel like when she wasn't accepted at the University of Wyoming? Was she mad or did she get it?

James Byrd: Well, considering at the time, she being a Black woman in Wyoming, and there's a lot of issues that were surrounding that, and that did play a big role in her not being accepted to the University of Wyoming. She could have done like a lot of other people do is they just get mad and they throw their hands up and they just quit. But my mother's definitely not like that. If you would have ever met her you know that when you tell her no and you don't have a good reason for telling her no, that only makes her that much more motivated to go ahead. That's why she left the state of Wyoming because she applied to a few colleges and she got accepted to West Virginia college.

RH: Which is pretty lucky. I would think.

JB: Then yes, because there weren't a lot of people who were going to college. And my grandfather had a really good job at the railroad so he could help her out with college.

RH: So she was not mad that she wasn't accepted at the University of Wyoming. She thought, Okay, this isn't too unexpected. This is the way the world is right now.

JB: Yes. And let me tell you that she didn't hold a grudge because you know, when she went to get her master's degree, you know where she got that at?

RH: Where?

JB: At the University of Wyoming.

RH: That's cool. She might have had to stay there for her masters but she didn't.

JB: Well, she got her master's degree much later after she started working. But you know, if you want to hold a grudge or anything like that, it would have been very easy not to go to the University of Wyoming. But that's one of her favorite schools. She really did love the University of Wyoming. She used to go over there and help mentor and teach the education students to help them get along and help them become better teachers. So she didn't hold a grudge.

RH: That's really good.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Kamila Kudelska, at kkudelsk@uwyo.edu.