1. Published

    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.

  2. Published

    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?

  3. Published

    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

  4. 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.

  5. Published

    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. 

  6. Published

    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.

  7. Published

    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.

  8. Published

    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. 

  9. Published

    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.

  10. Published

    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

  11. Published

    You aren’t the first person to ask, "What do Pringles have to do with leadership?" The conversation started as I pushed a cart full of Pringles cans to the local grocery store and said, “I work for 4-H” to the cashier as though that explained why I had 10+ cans of our favorite creatively packaged salty snack. The question continued as I walked into our office and was asked again when the agenda for 4-H Officer Training School read “leadership activity” and I placed a can of Pringles on each table.

  12. Published

    The season for giving has come to a close, but if your kids are more focused on all that they can get this time of year, how about trying a gratitude practice?  Studies have shown that people who regularly practiced gratitude were found to have lower rates of depression, more impulse control, and stronger immune systems.  By encouraging children to develop these habits at an early age, you can help to set them up for happier, healthier, and more successful lives.

    Here are three ways to cultivate a gratitude practice with the young people in your lives:

  13. Published

    This past month ten youth from Illinois were able to attend the 100th National 4-H Congress. This was a five day event held in Atlanta, GA where they were able to take part in many activities such as workshops hosted by individuals from high level universities, fun sightseeing, and a morning of service with everyone who attended. I was able to ask some of the participants some questions about their experiences and how national networking opportunities help them grow.

     

    Q: Favorite Part of the week?

  14. Published

    The holiday season is upon us! No matter which holiday you’re celebrating, December is a busy month. Between shopping for your loved ones and preparing those traditional family recipes, you may not have much time to consider that there are easy things you can do to create environmental or social impact in terms of food advocacy this season. To help, the Food Advocacy Team has created a simple list of ways you can continue to practice food advocacy through the holidays.

    1.  Reduce Food Waste

  15. Published

    OK, I get it.   We’ve changed our environment in ways that need immediate attention. So what can I do? We need to improve our water quality. Storm water runoff with too many nutrients needs reduced. We need to become “carbon neutral” by producing less CO2 gas and find more ways to absorb and hold (called sequester) these carbon molecules so they don’t get trapped in the atmosphere thus warming our planet. But what can I really do and how can I help demonstrate to others we all need to care? One good answer….plant a tree.

  16. Published

    One of my favorite holiday traditions is my annual family baking day. Ever since I learned how to bake in 4-H, I’ve gotten together at least once every winter with family to spend time in the kitchen. These occasions are a great opportunity to celebrate community, foster relationships, create delicious treats, and share stories and family recipes. If you find yourself in the kitchen this holiday season, I challenge you to use this opportunity to introduce kids to the joys of cooking and baking.

  17. Published

    “To make the best better”—We all know the 4-H motto by heart. As 4-H members and supporters, this is what unites us—the passion and perseverance to take something that is great and pour our head, heart, and hands into creating something even better. Over the past four years of my time on the Illinois State 4-H Youth Leadership Team and my past year as Chair of the team, my driving force has been improving a team that already has so much to offer to 4-H members across Illinois.

  18. Published

    As I reflect on my years of being a 4-H member, most of my time was spent in the Shooting Sports program at my SPIN Club. When I first started shooting, I was seven years old, out at a local gun camp. The first gun I ever owned was a pink Crickett rifle. As I grew and entered 4-H, my father took me over the SPIN Club for McLean County.  Every Tuesday night, the other members and I practiced and trained to shoot air rifles and learn important 4-H skills as well as shooting sports safety.

  19. Published

    4-H has given me so many opportunities, especially through Shooting Sports. When I started 4-H, I didn't feel l like I would really fit in with everyone because it was all about farming and raising animals, but that wasn't the case. Shooting Sports opened a huge opportunity for me and made me feel as if it was meant for me. 

  20. Published

    Building your leadership skills can seem scary or unachievable, but 4-H teaches us that nothing is unachievable. Here are three easy ways to build your leadership skills.  

    It is important to note that everyone has leadership skills!