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Extension Snapshots

4-H Clover Clinic empowers youth through skill-building and exploration

young students working on an art project

On February 17, 2024, Spoon River College buzzed with excitement and enthusiasm as young people from across our community gathered for a day of discovery and growth at 4-H Clover Clinic. This annual workshop event, held in collaboration with dedicated volunteers and experts in various fields, provided over 100 young individuals with an opportunity to delve into a diverse array of educational activities fostering a spirit of exploration and learning.

At the core of 4-H Clover Clinic were workshops tailored to ignite curiosity and spark passion through experiential learning. From the wonders of STEM to the realms of arts and crafts, youth could attend workshops on gardening, art journaling, fishing, genetic engineering, glass etching, and more! Participants didn’t just listen to lectures or watch demonstrations; they were immersed in hands-on experiences that not only expanded their knowledge but also honed their practical skills. Members of the 4-H Club program were able to learn more about projects they hope to exhibit at 4-H shows and fairs this summer, while newcomers could get a taste of 4-H while exploring new sparks.

When parents were asked for feedback about their children’s experiences, an overwhelming 95% of respondents indicated that their child learned new skills and did something that was challenging during 4-H Clover Clinic. Beyond contributing to a captivating day of learning, both of these outcomes help young people develop a growth mindset, which research shows to be a key component of youth thriving. Furthermore, a unanimous 100% of responding parents reported that their children tried something new, took pride in their achievements, and, most importantly, had fun throughout the day.

Moreover, the benefits of 4-H Clover Clinic extend beyond the acquisition of skills and knowledge. By seeing the campus of Spoon River College, participants were exposed to a vibrant educational environment and were able to gain valuable insight into the possibilities that lie ahead in their academic and professional journeys. Navigating the hallways in between workshops furthered positive youth development goals by allowing young people to develop a sense of independence and agency. 

4-H Clover Clinic has been a tradition in the community for over three decades, but is just coming back after a 3-year hiatus. “It is something many families look forward to and it is a unique event that allows youth to try new things, meet youth from outside their county, and gain confidence in navigating a college campus,” says Judy Schmidt, 4-H youth development educator. “We were excited to be able to bring Clover Clinic back this year.” 


At Clover Clinic, youth participants are able to live out the 4-H motto, “Learn by doing!” in a variety of hands-on, skill-building workshops. The young people above are diligently preparing designs for their glass etching projects in one of Clover Clinic’s most popular workshops.


Emily Schoenfelder joined the Illinois 4-H team in 2017. Prior to this, she began her work in positive youth development with California 4-H and the YMCA. She specializes in STEM engagement, social-emotional development, and educator professional development.

She received a master of science degree in recreation, park, and tourism administration from Western Illinois University.  

When she is not leading a training, writing curriculum, or developing new partnerships, you may find Emily sitting on the floor of her office, building marshmallow catapults out of popsicle sticks or designing mazes for robots for her next STEM program.


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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