4-H Family's Endowment Will Help Future of Nemaha County 4-H

East Campus pillars at enterance

Oct. 7, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. — A family's $25,000 donation to establish the Young Family Endowment in honor of Ross and Maryon Adams seeks to allow Nemaha County 4-H to continue to expand, grow new members and keep tradition going.

"We hope it will provide a solid foundation for Nemaha County 4-H going into the future," said Kristi Nies, granddaughter of Ross and Maryon Adams.

Nies said her grandparents were long-time supporters of 4-H and both were born and raised in Nemaha County. They farmed and her grandmother was a kindergarten teacher for 30 years in Peru.

"They had a real belief in serving the larger community," she said. "4-H was one of the primary ways they did that."

Nies, who also was in 4-H in South Dakota, where she grew up, has since moved back to Peru and now lives on her grandparents' farm. She is an assistant professor of English at Peru State College and also raises cattle. She said the farm is still a working cattle ranch and functions as it did when her grandfather established it.

"4-H is so important and relevant today," she said. "It has done much to adapt with projects, such as rockets and computers, and I hope this endowment will help 4-H in Nemaha County to expand on those things while also keeping traditional things, such as showing cattle.

"4-H shows youth responsibility, how to take care of something and think of the larger community."

The Young family has been long-time supporters of the Nemaha County Friends of 4-H. After the death of Ross and Maryon Adams, the family established a trophy for the champion market heifer.

Benjamin Young, Nies' stepfather who is married to her mother, Lanette, said Ross Adams would have "loved and appreciated" the gift. Young, who is the vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, said Lanette also was active in 4-H and benefited from many of the projects, including the market heifer project both at the county and state levels.

The late Ross Adams also was instrumental in starting the local 4-H Council, he said.

Adams was a 4-H leader from 1953-1982, serving on both the Nemaha 4-H Council and the County Extension Board.

In 1975, Adams was named Nemaha County Friend of 4-H and in 1979 he was awarded the Chan Christen Memorial Leadership Award.

"4-H can serve so many purposes, it is good to see it in Nemaha County and to keep it going," Nies said.

Stuart Shepherd, executive director of the Nebraska 4-H Foundation, said, "We are grateful for the generous gift given by Benjamin and Lanette Young. 4-H is Nebraska's largest youth organization and the gift provided by the Young family ensures that 4-H's positive youth development programs will touch the lives of young people in Nemaha County for many years to come. This is a gift that truly keeps on giving!"

Stuart Shepherd
Executive Director
Nebraska 4-H Foundation

Sandi Alswager Karstens
IANR News Service

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