Each month we highlight an Ohio 4-H alumnus. They have amazing stories to share, from their personal experience in 4-H to how they have given back to the program. This month we feature Kameron Rinehart, the founder and CEO of Rural Beans Roastery LLC, and a Fayette County 4-H alumnus.
Rinehart was a 4-H member in Fayette County for 12 years, where he took a wide range of projects from goats and chickens to small engines and public speaking. “I enjoyed getting to raise livestock and prepare them for the fair. Each year, I looked forward to going to the farm to pick out my goats for that year. I also did many leadership and community service-based projects, which led me to become deeply involved in 4-H.”
During his time in 4-H, Rinehart was busy with both local and state 4-H programs. “I was on the county junior fair board, served as a camp counselor, an Ohio Military Kids camp counselor, member and president of the Teen Leadership Council, youth member of the Ohio 4-H Foundation Board for five years, the Ohio State Junior Fair Board, and Leadership Team member for National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference.” In Fayette County, Rinehart won the Citizenship and Community Service Achievement Award in 2016 and was named an Outstanding 4-H Member. As a result of his many contributions, Rinehart was one of the first people to be inducted into the Ohio 4-H Teen Hall of Fame.
Rinehart’s favorite 4-H memory happened in Washington, D.C. “In January 2013, my 4-H educator was one of the leaders of a trip to attend the presidential inauguration. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and politics aside, it was an experience I hope 4-H can offer in the future. I met so many people and built friendships that I still have today. Just a few months ago, my former colleague at Ohio State realized we had met years ago on this trip! It was an incredible time and memories that will last forever.”
Through all of the opportunities he had in 4-H and the people he worked with, Rinehart learned skills he still uses to this day. “4-H taught me many important lessons in life, and a lot of those lessons came from my mentors. People like Nadine Fogt, Robin Stone, Kim and JR Hoppess, Hannah Epley, Allen Auck, Theresa Ferrari, and Courtney Michaels taught me the value of service to others. From being a camp counselor and mentoring young 4-H campers to serving as a member of the State Junior Fair Board, getting to represent 4-H and serve the entire state of Ohio. I learned valuable skills such as public speaking, organization, respect, timeliness, mediation, and cooperation. I strive to make the best better in all that I do, and I believe 4-H is preparing youth to be agents of change for generations to come."
Like most alumni, 4-H helped lead Rinehart to the career he is currently pursuing. “I am currently a master’s degree student at The Ohio State University studying agricultural communication, education, and leadership, focusing on community leadership. I hope to continue to obtain a PhD in the same field, then serve as a professor teaching leadership studies focusing on agriculture.”
This past summer, Rinehart opened a coffee roasting business called Rural Beans Roastery LLC. Rural Beans Roastery was launched in summer 2021 and focuses on providing customers with freshly roasted coffee from around the world. The company sells 12 varieties of coffee, including its own Signature Blend, a combination of three very different coffees. “We focus on single-origin coffees and roast them fresh to each order.”
Rinehart’s involvement in 4-H continues today. “I have been an annual donor since 2016, contributing to clock trophies for the state fair, the Celebration of Youth, and youth camping programs. I try to give back in the form of time whenever I can by attending events or volunteering to judge projects. I hope to encourage more young alumni throughout Ohio to give back as well. Even if it isn’t much, that’s OK! Remaining involved in the organization is critical for the future success of the program.”
Rinehart encouraged youth to become involved in as many of the opportunities 4-H has to offer as they can. “Don’t wait to get involved! Your time in 4-H is limited, and you don’t want to look back as an alumni and think, ‘I wish I would have done that.’ Take advantage of the one-of-a-kind programs that Ohio 4-H and national 4-H offer, and don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone because the results will be amazing.”