1. Published

    As the holiday season comes to a close, it is important to remember the ongoing needs of people struggling with Food Insecurity. Cold weather is a growing strain on families, making it even harder than normal to keep everyone fed. 

    In the spirit of continued giving, consider donating to local food pantries. Non-perishable food is still preferable, despite the ready access to refrigeration brought by winter weather. As always, be sure to donate highly nutritious and delicious foods that are easy to prepare.

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    The New Year is frequently a time when adults do some personal goal setting through resolutions of all sorts. This time of year also presents a great opportunity to teach kids this important skill.

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    The bounty of the harvest. Many of us interpret this to be the ending point of nature’s annual cycle. We know that winter is here and only the warm spring sun can signal the start of another cycle. But the seed that sprouts next spring is already here. And this seed needs winter; it needs nurturing and time; there is no end to this cycle. Nature not only yielded the immediate short-term bounty of fruit, but it also provided us with tiny packages which truly represent our hope for a prosperous future – the sustainable seed.

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    Most students are back in school. This means that the majority of children will now be guaranteed school lunches five days a week. Although the return of school lunches is certainly a boon to families struggling with food insecurity, it is important not to get lulled into thinking that their trials are over. 

    The autumn and winter months can present unique challenges for families when it comes to finding food. From layoffs to shifting demands for power and heating, there are numerous obstacles awaiting families as the days shorten. 

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    Clarence was a freshman at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 1962 majoring in agriculture. He was from southern Illinois and looking for a way to meet new friends so he joined an archery club he learned about from a flyer posted in the Stock Pavilion. His love of archery lasted a lifetime. He had shot arrows for over 60 years. But as life goes, the arthritis pain in his joints was telling him his days of pulling back a bow string were now over.   Clarence however felt no sadness in his joints….he instead felt the urge to give something back to th

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    Illinois 4-H is proud of the rich history of 4-H and our 4-H alums near and far. If you were a member of the Illinois 4-H program, you are one of 25 million Americans who share a unique bond.

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    Every year in the United States, National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories and cultures of Mexico, South and Central America, the Caribbean, and Spain from September 15 to October 15. This observation started under the Lyndon Johnson presidency in 1968 and was enacted into law (Public Law 100-402) by President Ronald Reagan on August 17, 1988. 

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    Jamie had learned a lot by being enamored by the Illinois 4-H State Crappie tournament in April. She’d caught panfish before and loved fishing. Her dad had taken her fishing at a nearby lake a few times the year before and she’d learned what a bluegill, a crappie, and even a Red Eared Sunfish was and how they looked different. But she wanted to learn more. Contests motivated her.

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    What is Juneteenth? Also known as Freedom Day, African American Independence Day, or Jubilee Day, this celebration marks a day in 1865 when enslaved Texans learned they’d be free—two months after Robert E. Lee surrendered and ended the Civil War and two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. But Juneteenth is more than an observance of freedom. It’s also a time to share the experiences of those who fought—literally and figuratively—to seek true freedom for future generations.

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    Did you know that more than 40% of 4-Hers in the state participate in one or more livestock projects?

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    As we move forward into summer, some might be inclined to think that the issues of the world melt away with the cold. However, even when the sun and breeze make it seem impossible to worry about anything, many families have to worry about food insecurity. Many food insecure families rely on school lunches to feed their children. When school gets out, families may have to provide several additional meals each day. It is much harder to enjoy summer break when one is hungry.

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    I walked through a dirt road riddled with potholes. To my left, I saw a deserted primary school with a collapsed foundation. To my right, I gazed upon a medical clinic that is almost always empty and void of a doctor. I look at homes on the street, many of which are small amid a periodic power outage. I thought back to life in the United States. It astonished me that the difference in the quality of life between two parts of the world is so stark. Initially, a sense of helplessness took over me — how could a young person like me fix such wide-ranging issues?

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    May is Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month! Here are some ideas of how you and your club can get involved!

    Learn

    Learn more about AAPI Month, why it is celebrated, and its history and impact at the official Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month site. Check out their virtual exhibits and collections tab.

    Watch

  14. Published

    As the horse bowl and hippology season in Illinois nears its culmination in the state competition this weekend, the efforts of dedicated 4-Hers are soon to be rewarded.

    Every year, horse-crazy 4-H members from around the state of Illinois spend the fall, winter, and spring preparing for a rigorous competition where they showcase their equine knowledge. After eight straight seasons of my participation, I am taking this first season as a program alumna to reflect on my past experiences and lifelong gains from involvement in these outstanding programs.

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    Many people are unaware of what happens to food after it is donated. Obviously it is eaten, but what happens in the time between the time when it is dropped off at a pantry and the time when it is consumed? There are several important steps in this process, but one that is frequently forgotten is the preparation of food by those it is donated to. 

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    Youth robotics teams from around the state are traveling to Bloomington this weekend to compete in the SpaceBot Mission Command 4-H Robotics Challenge. Teams have built and programmed Lego robots to accomplish a variety of tasks related to space travel, such as satellite control, navigation, and supply transport.

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    During the pandemic when so many other things were canceled, I started riding lessons. When I started I didn't know much about horses, and all I knew was what I watched on TV or had learned at camp which wasn't much. I love horses, but I don't own one. However, 4-H has given me the opportunity to learn about real horses without owning one. Back in January of 2021 my county started a Junior Hippology/Horse Bowl program. In our group there were members who owned horses and members like me, who didn’t own a horse. We met every Friday night either in person or by Zoom.

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    It is not until you begin to look for food to donate to a food bank or pantry that you realize just what a wide selection of different foods there are in the world. Most people only tend to eat a very small fraction of these foods when allowed to choose for themselves. But choosing what to donate for someone else is a different story. Not everyone will like your favorite kind of bread, or appreciate the grape-jelly that you like to spread on everything you eat. It is important in this case to consider the specific needs of the people who are likely to receive the food you donate. 

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    Food insecurity, or the lack of consistent access to affordable and nutritious food affects roughly 10% of the people of Illinois. The lack of reliable food sources is extremely damaging to families and individuals. The winter months can be especially hard for families battling food insecurity. Snow days can interrupt school, which many families rely on to feed their children lunch. Additionally, the many challenges of winter weather can make access to food more difficult.

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    Every February, people in the United States celebrate the history and the achievements of African Americans as a part of Black History Month. Here are some ideas of how you and your 4-H club can help celebrate this month!

    Learn

    Learn more about Black History Month, why it is celebrated, and its history and impact at the Black History Month site.

    Read