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June 2020 4-H Alumni News
 Tina Veal

Greetings from Illinois 4-H! 

As we look to the future, we have all felt the many changes that a pandemic has brought to us both personally and professionally. We have seen our families affected. We have seen our youth disappointed.  We have made sacrifices. We have learned to accept change. We have adapted.

We also have watched Illinois 4-H step up to make adaptations, develop new virtual opportunities for youth and families and created a place of "home" that we all needed during a time of uncertainty. I know I have seen first-hand 4-H alumni leading their 4-H clubs virtually, providing community support during this time of need and thousands of face masks, protective gear and hand sanitizer being made to protect our first responders.

I hope you have felt your "4-H family" be there for you during this time. While 4-H is continuing to adapt and change, our priority has been to provide a continuity of experience for our youth and we have created a virtual platform to support online judging experiences for youth to showcase their mastery when in person events are not possible. This is a time we soon won't forget, but I hope we will continue to show solidarity and strength to "make the best better". 

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

Illinois 4-H goes Virtual

The Illinois 4-H program has had to make modifications to programming and outreach during this COVID19 pandemic. 4-H Youth Development staff have made many changes to programming to connect to youth.  From online virtual fishing contests to learning about butterflies, barred owls, sportsman's skills, STEM maker projects and watching chicks hatch live, and even doing virtual yoga....just to name a few!  

Curt Sinclair, Illinois 4-H Extension Specialist, created a virtual fishing challenge contest to encourage youth to get outside and enjoy the outdoors while keeping socially distant - by fishing of course! Check out these great fish and smiling faces of our 4-H youth pictured above. Desiree Davies, a Washington County 4-H parent shared, "Lane has really been enjoying getting out and fishing more. He even has created a little fishing derby for the family because he is having so much fun. Thank you so much for putting this on.  He is just having a blast!

Keith Jacobs, Illinois 4-H STEM Specialist launched a COVID 19 STEM challenge for 4-H youth to create a low cost solution that could help their community battle the current COVID crisis. Seven finalists have been chosen and are seeking a grand prize of $1000 to support their prototype. Two winners will be announced during a final live stream "shark tank style" competition to be held on June 2 at 5:00 p.m.  Join us to see the impact our 4-H youth are making!

Patty McGlaughlin, Illinois 4-H Extension Specialist, challenged all Illinois 4-H members to pledge their hands to larger service in their communities as part of the National 4-H Day of Service. 4-H Clubs and individual 4-H members from across Illinois joined in to serve their communities as part of the 4-H True Leaders in Service effort. While 4-H clubs serve their communities all year long, Illinois 4-H Clubs focused their service efforts to support their communities that aligned with needs around the COVID-19 crisis during the months of March, April and May. 4-H club members collaborated virtually as they secured and donated food to local food pantries experiencing greater needs; making cards and encouraging yard signs to support vulnerable populations including shut-ins and senior center residents; putting their sewing skills to work as they made face masks which were distributed at medical facilities; local businesses; and in communities. If you wish to see more about this opportunity which is being extended through July 31st, use this link for more information: https://4h.extension.illinois.edu/clubs

Other 4-H Virtual Programs:

Check your county or unit 4-H Facebook page for many more virtual programs, tours and sessions your or your children can be involved in!

 We are PROUD of our 4-H Seniors
Congratulations 2020 4-H Seniors!

Our 4-H Seniors have experienced a lot during their time - from being born around 9/11 to ending their senior years in a quarantine.  They have missed a lot of milestones, but the Illinois 4-H program is proud of these youth, the outstanding accomplishments they have made and the service they have given back to their communities during this time of COVID19.  We hope they will continue to look for opportunities to engage with others and showcase their leadership skills into the next chapters of their lives.  

Do you have a 4-H Senior graduating from high school? Please be sure they complete the 4-H Senior Survey! We want to hear about their experiences in 4-H and career path and how 4-H influenced their school or career decisions. Seniors will receive a memorabilia 4-H tassel. https://go.illinois.edu/4hgradsurvey

If you want to recognize a special senior in your life that is in 4-H and are on the social media platform of Facebook, you can utilize a frame on your profile photo. Click on your profile photo, click on add frame and search for Illinois 4-H Seniors 2020.

The Illinois State 4-H Office staff shared a congratulatory video with Seniors to congratulate them on their accomplishments!  View the video here

Congratulations Class of 2020!

4-H Alumni Needed for Possible Exhibit Judges
With the recent events of COVID-19 effecting 4-H programming and member exhibitions, Illinois 4-H would like to engage our 4-H alumni to share their expertise with current 4-H youth. As some of these fair exhibitions are moving to a virtual format, we see this as an opportunity to engage 4-H alumni near and far, as judges. Thank you for helping us to "make the best better" during these challenging times.
4-H alumni can register: https://buff.ly/3g8xb0G by June 12, 2020.
national 4-H summit
New Illinois 4-H Food Advocacy Team Being Developed

A new opportunity for teens and young adults is coming to Illinois 4-H in the development of an Illinois Food Advocacy Team.  Over 40 youth representing every region of Illinois have applied to join the team to help make an impact on the future of food in Illinois.  The Illinois Food Advocacy Team is being developed to provide a model for youth-led food advocacy in Illinois as well as to coordinate the Illinois Food Action Summit event coming in March of 2021 in Bloomington-Normal, IL.  In collaboration with our partnerships with 4-H alumni, Extension, and the U of I system, team members will also assist with the development of Food Systems education in Illinois. A pilot phase of this program will begin this Fall. With the support of the entire Illinois 4-H family, we're excited to see the impact that the Food Advocacy Team will make!

Representatives Avery Bourne and Charlie Meyer with 4-H members
4-H Members Meet 4-H Alumni Legislators at Legislative Connection

Illinois 4-H members attended 4-H Legislative Connection March 4-5, in Springfield at the Illinois Capitol.  During their legislative visits, youth had the opportunity to meet elected officials and visit with them about the Illinois 4-H Program. Many of the elected officials shared their favorite memories about 4-H and welcomed senators and representatives that were 4-H alumni to the Illinois 4-H Alumni Association.  We are happy to welcome the following the 4-H alumni network.

  • Senator Jason Barickman
  • Senator Craig Wilcox
  • Senator Dave Syverson
  • Senator Chuck Weaver
  • Representative Andrew Chesney
  • Representative Avery Bourne
  • Representative Brad Halbrook
  • Representative Michael Marron
  • Representative Charles Meier
  • Representative Darren Bailey

4-H Legislative Connection engages 4-H members in an opportunity to learn about the state legislative process, up-close and personal. 

John Huston
4-H Alumni Profile: Mr. John Huston

John Huston
4-H County:  Warren County, IL
Years in 4-H:  10 years
Post Secondary Education:  B.S. '66 Ag Education, University of Illinois
Career: Retired Association Executive, President, National Livestock & Meat Board

Favorite 4-H Projects:  Livestock, Livestock Judging, Public Speaking

How did 4-H contribute to your leadership skills today?
The planning and execution of projects and activities, together with the public speaking and team building have all contributed to my leadership abilities. 

Did 4-H instill a career path for you?
During my junior year of high school, I was on the State 4-H Livestock judging team and Don Walker, U of I staff, as our coach.  Six years later, Walker called me to ask if I'd be interested in joining the staff at the National Livestock and Meat Board.  I served on the staff for 32 years and President for 16 years.  4-H was a big asset in my meat board career.

What advice do you have for someone who is interested in your career path?
Association work is very much like politics. It is important to be a team player and to be willing to compromise and build consensus. 

What advice would you give a current 4-H member?
Get involved.  Volunteer.  Follow through on projects and commitments.

Why should young people join 4-H today?
4-H is a relevant organization that builds skills for the future.

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?  A 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.

Upcoming events

On June 1, Illinois Extension announced that in-person events through July 31 will be postponed or hosted online. 4-H general project and 4-H livestock shows and exhibitions scheduled through July 31 will be conducted online using the digital exhibition platform FairEntry. Day and overnight camps are canceled through August 15.

Continuing the phased decision making approach for summer event planning, Extension’s guidelines prioritize the safety of event participants and redouble efforts to support the health and vitality of families and communities across Illinois.

Decisions for Illinois Extension programming for the remainder of summer 2020 will be announced as follows:

  • July 1: decision shared regarding August 1-15 events
  • July 15: decision shared regarding August 16-31 events
  • August 1: decision shared regarding September 1-30 events