Over the past 25 years, Celebration of Youth, the Ohio 4-H Foundation’s annual fundraiser, has raised more than $1.3 million in support of 4-H youth development programs. The generosity of our sponsors, donors, and community partners continued at this year’s celebration on Oct. 6 at Leeds Farm in Ostrander.
More than 300 guests raised over $130,000 by bidding on auction items. Guests were also invited to further their support by pledging sponsorships for Ohio 4-H’ers to attend national 4-H leadership opportunities including, National 4-H Conference, Healthy Living Summit, True Leaders in Equity Summit, Citizenship Washington Focus, and the National AgriScience Summit. More than $9,000 in pledges were received for youth to attend one of these life-changing opportunities.
The evening included a variety of fun, fall activities, including pedal carts, a zip line, and hayrides. Delicious appetizers were provided by Hudson’s Edge, Bill and Kristin Patterson, and Cheryl’s Cookies. City Barbeque catered dinner, and singer David Spires entertained guests throughout the evening with country classics and current hits.
Molly Hunt, a Darke County 4-H alumna and public information specialist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, served as the evening’s keynote speaker. Molly shared her 4-H story and spoke about the impact that 4-H has had on her life.
As part of the 25th anniversary of Celebration of Youth, State Senator Bob Peterson and State Representative Mark Johnson recognized the exceptional work done by Ohio 4-H over the years with a proclamation signed by Sens. Matt Huffman, Peterson, and Andrew Brenner. Guests also heard remarks from Dr. Cathann Kress, Vice President for Agricultural Administration and Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, about the importance of 4-H.
A special thanks to all the sponsors, donors, alumni, guests, and volunteers that made this year’s Celebration of Youth possible. It is because of you we are able to help 4-H members inspire curiosity, build lifelong skills, fuel their sense of adventure, and support their growth into true leaders. Thank you for helping us honor our past and join us as we zip into the future with Ohio 4-H!