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Extension Snapshots

Abbie Phillips hired as new Tazewell 4-H coordinator

Profile pic of Abbie Phillips

There aren’t many careers that allow for people to use their swine showing skills, equestrian experience, and enjoyment of crocheting and growing houseplants all in the same role. Thankfully, Abbie Philips has found the perfect career for her with the Tazewell 4-H program. 

Abbie is the new Tazewell County 4-H program coordinator with University of Illinois Extension. She began her new role in May 2024, after attending college and beginning her professional experiences at Truman State University in Missouri. 

“I graduated from Truman in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in English with two minors in child studies and criminal justice studies,” Abbie explained. “Following graduation I continued my journey at Truman as I began working in the admissions office, where I focused on recruiting and advising students from Illinois.”

While attending Truman, Abbie was a member of the Equestrian Team, worked at the University Farm, and played the piccolo in the Statesmen Marching Band. 

“Abbie’s personal and professional experiences are a great combination as she leads the Tazewell 4-H program,” stated Earl Allen, Extension county director. “Her 4-H background and passion for the traditional 4-H program is helping her launch her new career strong.” 

“I was an 8-year 4-H member,” Abbie explained. “Some of my favorite projects included crocheting, successfully propagating and growing an African Violet, and showing pigs. Several of the things I learned and exhibited at the fair, are still things I enjoy in my spare time, such as crocheting and caring for houseplants.

“Some of my fondest memories are of running around the Woodford County fairgrounds with cousins and friends. In this role, I hope to give Tazewell County 4-H members the opportunity to create their own special memories while in 4-H.”

Tazewell 4-H offers youth ages 5 to 18, and their families, the opportunity to be involved in a variety of positive youth development experiences. With 10 traditional 4-H clubs, and goals to re-launch several special interest clubs, youth can learn new skills, get involved in community service and leadership development experiences, make new friends, and like Abbie, make special memories. 4-H also offers short-term programs such as one-day workshops and week-long camps. 

Abbie is excited to be back home in Central Illinois and to have the opportunity to serve her local communities. Outside the office, she can usually be found spending time with family and friends, or with her horse, Señor.


Abbie Phillips is the new 4-H program coordinator in Tazewell County. She is a 4-H alumni and recent graduate of Truman State University.


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.

Anita stayed close to home for her college education in which she received an associate degree at Black Hawk East and a bachelor of science degree from Illinois State University majoring in home economics with a focus in fashion design, apparel product development.

Following her college graduation, Anita spent two years working in the newspaper industry where she received on the job training in photography, layout design, and writing. When the new communications position was created in 2014, Anita transitioned into the role smoothly. Her years of experience in Extension has given her a good understanding of all of the program areas in which she assists staff. Together they work to not only promote the upcoming events and educate youth and adults, but also share the positive impacts Extension makes in people’s lives and communities.


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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