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March 2021 4-H Alumni News
 Tina Veal

Greetings from Illinois 4-H! 

As we complete a full year of challenges and change, I am excited for the future of Illinois 4-H and the impact that continues to be made across Illinois. 4-H is thriving. 4-H is creating new opportunities. 4-H is developing leaders. 

While we can focus on some of the challenges this past year, I challenge you to focus on what is ahead. I have witnessed youth giving back in their communities, testing new technology, finding new ways to learn, and building new teamwork and leadership opportunities. We can be proud that our youth have become more adaptable, resilient, and stronger this past year. These experiences will carry them far into their futures.

4-H continues to develop new initiatives, new curriculum, new teen opportunities, and find new ways to deliver programs. We are looking forward to the time we can be face-to-face again, but we must remember where we have come from and that we are "stronger together".

Tina Veal
4-H Alumni & Constituent Engagement Manager
Illinois 4-H


Illinois 4-H Cloverseed Now Available


The Illinois 4-H Foundation released the 2020 Cloverseed to showcase the annual report of the Illinois 4-H program.  We hope you will take the opportunity to read the Cloverseed to celebrate our impact in Illinois 4-H and the 4-H Foundation donors who make it possible.

4-H Alumni Gathered Together


On February 4, 2021, the Illinois 4-H Alumni Association gathered for their first 4-H alumni event via Zoom.  We were thrilled to have over 40 alumni join us for the evening entertainment with Hambone Trivia and witness some excellent teamwork skills and many laughs!   Congratulations to the "Clever Clovers" for the first-place win! 

We did learn that many of you may not have received the email reminder about this event due to a technical error. We were very sorry to learn of this and hope you will join us at a future alumni gathering.

Following the trivia program, Lisa Diaz, Assistant Dean & Director, provided an update on the Illinois 4-H program.  Angie Barnard, Executive Director, Illinois 4-H Foundation, provided an update on the 4-H Foundation Board of Director's initiatives.  Tina Veal, 4-H Alumni & Engagement Manager, shared about the Illinois 4-H Alumni Association's future.  A few highlights included:

  • Illinois 4-H has created new 4-H Spark Sheets for 4-H members and their families to nurture a spark and try something new in exploring 4-H project areas. More being added every day! 
  • Read the latest 4-H Cloverseed from the IL 4-H Foundation to see the impact 4-H youth and volunteers have made during 2019-20.
  • During COVID, Illinois 4-H created 4-H@Home activities to introduce 4-H to young people and have some fun with some hands-on activities. 
  • Illinois 4-H believes in young people and should have the opportunities to achieve their fullest potential. Visit the new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website to learn more.
  • Illini Summer Academies will be going virtual this year!  Do you know a 4-H youth or non-4-H youth you can encourage to participate? Deadline March 24, 2021.
  • Are you interested in helping to judge 4-H records in the future?  Please email Katie Duitsman to share your contact info.
  • Know 4-H alumni to invite to be part of the Illinois 4-H Alumni Association?  Invite them to register for a free membership.
  • Would you like to share a 4-H alumni profile as a "Member Monday" highlight for social media?  We would love to include you!  

Thanks again for those that were able to  join us and for your support of Illinois 4-H and the Illinois 4-H Alumni Association!

Join us on our social media outlets for 4-H Alumni Tuesday Trivia.  Each week a trivia question will be posted at 9:00 am, and from those registered with correct answers, a random winner will be selected.
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Linked In

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Seeking 4-H Fair Judging Interest

In 2020, more than 400 Illinois 4-H competitive events, exhibitions, and shows went virtual, providing a positive youth development experience while protecting our members, volunteers, and staff. While the 2021 4-H exhibition season will be shaped by the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we are working hard to find solutions that balance our communities' safety with our youth's benefits from participating in face-to-face judging experiences.

For summer 2021, we are preparing for the possibility of returning to in-person events based on local conditions at that time and in conjunction with current IDPH guidelines. As the University of Illinois Extension's youth development program, our events must abide by the campus and the Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines.

We seek our 4-H alumni support to identify if you are interested in helping to judge at a local fair. We will collect names of 4-H alumni and share your interest with extension staff as they search for judges to assist for both local and state programs. This list will provide a resource for staff as judging needs arise.

Thank you for helping us to "make the best better"!

Deadline: April 1, 2021

Sign Up


Chancellor Robert Jones elected trustee of National 4-H Council Board

University of Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones was recently elected to the National 4-H Council Board of Trustees. Jones joins celebrity chef and author Carla Hall as new trustees for the national youth development organization of which they are alums. Both share a passion for diversity in agriculture and food equity and will further support the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

A Georgia native and 4-H alumnus, Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State College, a master’s degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He began his academic career as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota in 1978 where he spent 34 years before becoming the president of the University at Albany, one of SUNY system’s leading research universities. Jones now serves as the first African-American chancellor of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the first step in my career was joining my local 4-H club,” Jones says. “Those meetings were the first organized events in my life, outside of church or school, and they set me on a course that changed the trajectory of my life.”

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Volunteer Cafe Conversations

4-H volunteers are the backbone of a strong 4-H youth development program. The youth and adult partnership created through 4-H is a catalyst for “making the best better” and creating a positive experience for the youth we serve. To ensure that 4-H provides a learning environment, 4-H volunteers and youth in leadership roles must have access and support to develop those skills. In spring 2020, as face-to-face 4-H club meetings were not an option due to the need to practice safety during the pandemic, Illinois 4-H staff developed new opportunities for volunteers and youth in leadership roles to meet virtually, stay connected and learn from each other across the state.

Recognizing that some of the best learning experiences come through simple conversations, we felt it was important that we create a platform for Illinois volunteers to have those conversations,” shared Patricia McGlaughlin, Extension Specialist, Volunteer Development Systems. “The 4-H Volunteer Café Conversations became the format through which volunteers, teen leaders and 4-H staff from all parts of Illinois to meet for virtual discussions where they could share ideas, challenges, and solutions.” The Illinois 4-H Volunteerism workgroup created quarterly conversations around two unique 4-H topics during each call, which aligned with timely discussions to support strategies for keeping youth involved in 4-H clubs, energizing the club meeting experience, service-learning experiences, and staying connected to 4-H families. The value of having these opportunities to learn from one another is evident when looking at the feedback provided by volunteers and youth in leadership roles.

A few comments from participants included:

“I’ve been a leader for 31 years and was feeling burned out with stale ideas. These chats have been great and have helped me a lot. It’s good to get new input and ideas.” – Arlene

“The conversations have provided an opportunity for volunteers to feel a sense of belonging, support, and inspiration. Thank you!”  - Tina

“I enjoy hearing new ideas for engaging the kids and making sure everyone feels part of the group.” – Sara

“Mom, some of the stuff they said would really help our online meetings go better. I am going to bring it up at our next meeting.” – Esmi (a younger 4-H member: her mother shared this comment after listening to one of the Café Conversations).

We look forward to more opportunities to engage and assist 4-H leaders as we continue to "make the best better".

 illinois 4-H STEM
New 4-H STEM Curriculum for Illinois 4-H Launched

Three new 4-H STEM curriculums launch this year for Illinois 4-H members.  

Drones Curriculum is Ready for Take Off!  Our new Drone Curriculum incorporates aspects from various STEM fields in an easy-to-follow curriculum using a multimedia approach.  Three program sections – Ground School, Pre-Flight School, and Flight School – take the users on a journey covering everything from terminology and industry background to aerospace principles and on to training and real-world missions!

It’s Time to DIY Over the last decade, Do-it-yourselfers have shown the world that you do not need to be an engineer or computer scientist to create innovative devices, gadgets, and gizmos.  DIY Make and Build is an opportunity for youth to learn about design, engineering, manufacturing, electricity, and computer programming, all while being innovative and imaginative!

Beta-Testing Begins for E-Sports Thirty-five youth ages 12-18 joined our first Virtual e-Sports Club meeting!  The group will continue to test the model before a statewide launch.  The initial curriculum focuses on teamwork, communication, strategy, visual/spatial skills, and sportsmanship.  We’re excited to report back with more information as this curriculum evolves!

Know a 4-H member that might be interested in the latest STEM technology?  Share these new 4-H projects with them!


4-H Alumni Profile:  Mr. Ed McMillan

Name: Ed McMillan
4-H County:  McDonough County
Years in 4-H:  10 years
Post Secondary Education:  B.S. '69, Ag Science/Ag Economics, University of Illinois
Career: President & CEO, Purina Mills, Retired  (Purina Career: 1969-1996)
University of Illinois Board of Trustees (2009-2021)

Favorite 4-H Projects:  Beef, Sheep, Swine, Crops, Electricity

How did 4-H contribute to your leadership skills today?
Making talks and demonstrations at an early age was especially valuable to overcome shyness and apprehension of speaking in public.  Assuming leadership positions in my local club was also an early leadership development.

Did 4-H instill a career path for you?
4-H reinforced my desire to be in agriculture, animal agriculture primarily, but necessarily my ultimate career.

What advice do you have for someone interested in your career path?
As Orion Samuelson says..."You Can't Dream Big Enough".  Anything is possible...figure out who you are and pursue your passion.  The sooner you figure it out, the sooner you will be ready to pursue what you do well...and what you like to do...then you will never be unhappy in your career!

What advice would you give a current 4-H member?
Take advantage of every activity, speaking, leadership activity available as early in your 4-H career as possible.

Why should young people join 4-H today?
A great way to begin to develop inter-personal skills early.

To see more 4-H alumni profiles, visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/il4halumni
To submit your 4-H alumni profile, visit: https://go.illinois.edu/4halumnistory

 4-H Alumni News
 4-H Alumni News
Share Your 4-H News

Do you have news to share with the Illinois 4-H Alumni Association?  Moved - New Address? Did you get a new job?  Married?  Promotion?  New Baby?  Recent death of a 4-H alum?  We would love to hear your updates and stay connected!

Share your 4-H News

We hope you stay connected to us!

We hope you will engage with us online and help create a network of 4-H alumni.


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