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Extension Snapshots

Rachel Van Cleve joins growing Fulton 4-H program

Profile pic of Rachel Van Cleve

With close to 300 members and 16 clubs in the Fulton 4-H program, it is the largest local 4-H program and continues to grow. To keep up with the demands, University of Illinois Extension has expanded the Fulton 4-H team and hired Rachel Van Cleve as an additional 4-H program coordinator.

Rachel is a Mason County 4-H alumni with a rich 4-H background and passion for the program.

“I grew up showing cattle in 4-H, FFA, and even at national events,” explained Rachel. “As a 4-H member I was active in Federation, held several leadership positions from Federation president to club reporter. The Mason County 4-H Show and Jr. Fair hold so many memories for me, I always looked forward to it.”

As Rachel began her new 4-H program coordinator role at the end of May she jumped right into 4-H Show planning with current 4-H program coordinator Krista Gray. The duo will work together this summer to coordinate the 4-H General Show on June 17 and then move into the 4-H livestock shows and food stand during the Fulton County Fair, July 24—28.

Following her agriculture business degree from Black Hawk East College, Rachel earned her personal trainers certificate from National Academy in Sport. She returned to Mason County to work on her family’s farm in addition to professionally training clients.

“Running is a favorite hobby of mine,” commented Rachel. “I’ve run three full marathons and a dozen half marathons. I also run the Mason City to Peoria leg of the St. Jude run.”

The growing Fulton 4-H program is also going to keep Rachel on her toes. “We have always had a strong program in Fulton County,” stated Earl Allen, Extension county director. “The Federation, scholarship program, leadership awards program, and volunteer recognition opportunities are just a few of the long-standing traditions that help Fulton County maintain its excellence. They have also developed really good, new special interest clubs: shooting sports, livestock judging, and Jr. Master Naturalists.”

In addition to 4-H, Rachel also continues her love of FFA as a volunteer with Havana FFA Alumni organization. She and her husband, who is in the Air Force Reserves, are new parents to their baby girl Willow. They are also proud pet-parents to three Australian Shepherd dogs named Jada, Blue, and Maize.


Rachel Van Cleve joins Krista Gray to coordinate the Fulton 4-H program. Rachel is a Mason 4-H alumni and is happy to get to see the 4-H Show season from the 4-H program coordinator’s perspective.


Anita Wilkinson has been serving University of Illinois Extension since 1998, currently in the role of Communications Program Coordinator for the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit. She began her career in Marshall-Putnam counties leading the 4-H program and transferred to Tazewell County 4-H in 2011. Her 4-H experiences began as a youth member and later 4-H volunteer in Stark County where she was born and raised.


Extension Snapshots are monthly impact reports that share the stories of our programs in Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. To have them delivered to you directly sign up using our E-blast registration.



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