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Our Illinois 4-H Story

Christmas in February has special meaning for Fulton County teens

4-H members are four times more likely than their peers to give back to their communities according to the 10-year longitudinal study conducted by Tufts University. Fulton County 4-H members have the stockings to prove it!

Each February, members sew Christmas stockings and write notes in Christmas cards to be sent to the troops overseas as part of the Operation Santa program based in Bloomington. Operation Santa works year round to gather homemade stockings, collect items to go in the stockings, and raise money for postage.

Thirty-seven stockings were sewn and more than 100 cards were written by the Fulton County 4-H team this year. It's a labor of love and tradition which defines the character of the Fulton County 4-H Federation teen members and volunteers.


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.