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Our Illinois 4-H Story

Value of being a 4-H camp counselor brought to light in camp survey

University of Illinois Extension Statewide Camping Educator Curt Sinclair knew in his heart that serving as a 4-H camp counselor changed lives. Now he has the proof to back up his beliefs. In a recent survey conducted by U of I Extension for 4-H Memorial Camp, the comments from the teen counselors showed the impact of the experience on their lives. A few comments follow:

  • "What I have gained most from my camp experiences is the idea that I am working for something bigger than myself. I am not just making pizzas or taking orders – I am making a direct influence in children's lives."
  • "Camp became my favorite place in the entire world. Being exposed to so many people, both campers and counselors from different backgrounds, has changed the way I see the world and how I treat people. Being able to learn from kids six years younger than me as well as bonding with people my age was awesome. This job changed my life."
  • "I can almost attribute my entire personality to camp. I got a sense of humor here, I've made some of my best friendships here but I think most importantly I feel I discovered my true passion for working with kids the right way. I think this program can literally change a child's life."

Sinclair reinforced the important of using teens as teachers, a keystone of the 4-H program. "Teenagers are good teachers, better at reaching kids than most adults AND they grow and change as a result of the leadership," Sinclair said.


Judy Mae Bingman, University of Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager

Judy uses powerful words and photography to tell the Extension story. She is a skilled communication strategist and storyteller with demonstrated success in building teams and creating strong organizational brand identities that deepen Extension’s impact among key audiences, build brand loyalty, strengthen employee talent, and expand public engagement. She is a frequent conference presenter at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference and helps Extension staff across the nation tell compelling stories.