4-H Alumni Give Back: Celebration of Youth

Little boy with jetpack

Remembering the guidance they received in their youth, some Ohio 4-H alumni are making sure the organization continues to create invaluable experiences for its members.

They are planning to attend Celebration of Youth: Pathways to the Future, the Ohio 4-H Foundation’s largest annual fundraiser. For the first time, the event will be held virtually at 7 p.m. EST on November 5 and will be free of charge for everyone. Those wishing to attend must register, and registrants will receive an email link prior to the event.

Recognizing the perseverance of 4-H members is a theme of this year’s event, and the format and venue are different from previous years. An online auction will be held where auction items will be made available for viewing within a week of the event.

Ohio 4-H programming offers career and life skills for youth in the state’s 88 counties. Alumni remember the impact 4-H made on them as youth and the skills they carried into adulthood. Mary Jane Foos

Knowing how 4-H helped her growing up and later helped her two sons, Mary Jane Foos decided to make a difference by supporting 4-H with an estate gift. 

“I can’t give any money now—I’m not that wealthy,” said Foos, of Greene County. “4-H is an excellent organization for kids to try out potential career fields to help them find their niche, to be able to share it, to show it off. That is what locks a kid in with careers. These are not hobbies that they learn.”

During her ten years in 4-H, Foos learned how to sew—a lifelong skill—and how to raise pigs, goats and chickens, knowledge she passed along to her sons, who were also 4-H members. There they developed Mary Jane showing her horse in western showmanship.particular interests that have led to careers.

Her older son, Ryan Lapchynski, used his experiences building and showing robots as a springboard to his college career, where he is majoring in computer science and mathematics at The Ohio State University, Foos said.

Her younger son, Devan Lapchynski, represented Greene County with his welding and rifle projects. His welding skills developed in various competitions, Mary Jane (standing, third from right) at Citizenship Washington Focus, 1980.and he graduated from Greene County Career Center after studying welding, she said. Now he is starting a welding position with a local iron working company.

“He is working in that career field because of 4-H. It was 4-H that got him started,” Foos said. 

As a result, she has volunteered her time and made donations to an organization that has brought so much to her family. “I definitely want 4-H to be supported. Camp is important to me 4-H camp was special to them,” Foos said. Quintin Jessee

Ohio 4-H has also played a fundamental role in the life of Quintin Jessee, co-owner and director of Land-Grant Brewing Company in Columbus. 

“When I was growing up, it was very instrumental in the development of me personally,” said Jessee, a member of the Ohio 4-H Foundation Board. His parents encouraged participation among his siblings and served as volunteer leaders of their local 4-H club, he said.

“It just became part of our normal life. And, you know, in the summertime, we hosted exchange students from Japan through 4-H,” Jessee said. 4-H Camp Palmer was also an Quintin and his family with a Japanese exchange studentimportant part of Jessee’s summer, where he and his brother, David, served as counselors.

4-H also gave him confidence with leadership roles in college, presentations, and job interviews.

“It actually helped catapult my professional and college career and gave me a really solid foundation to grow professionally and become a good leader,” he said. “You're going to get a lot of bang for your buck by supporting 4-H because there are so many kids that are touched by 4-H.”

You can show your support for Ohio 4-H and join the virtual Celebration of Youth: Pathways to the Future at 7 p.m. on November 5. Find details and register.