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Our Illinois 4-H Story

Government Day program leads to future careers in local government

Thirty years ago, a young man job-shadowed a Grundy County judge as part of University of Illinois Extension's Local Government Day. That young man is now the 41-year-old deputy sheriff for the county. He told his story during this year's Local Government Day and encouraged youth to make the most of their time visiting local officials. To date, the program has impacted the lives of 22,000 youth in its 35-year history.

Grundy County students in fourth through eighth grades submitted essays about a county government position they were interested in learning more about and shadowing for the day. Youth Development Educator John Davis said 600 youth submitted essays to be selected as part of the shadowing event. A mock trial and mock county board meeting were also held as part of the program. During the board meeting, youth debated the potential building of a 1,600-acre landfill which would bring $10 million per year in revenue, but carried potential sanitation, health and environmental baggage with it. In the final vote, the mock board agreed to take on the project and work to keep the environmental issues under control.


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.