Who needs to spend $500 on prom gown when you can craft one yourself

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Charlee Walker didn't tell anyone her plan, so imagine the surprise when the 17-year-old 4-H member from Edgar County walked into her senior prom wearing a dress she made . . . out of magazine pages. It took this creative young lady more than two months to design, weave, fold, staple and hot glue her one-of-a-kind party dress. She used photography magazines as her "fabric" because the pages were colorful. Working without a pattern, the teenager said she just "kinda winged it." She also made a bow tie and boutonniere out of paper for her lucky date. She said she did it to "be different." 

The 7-year member of the Grandview Pioneers 4-H Club has been accepted to study graphic design at University of Illinois in the fall. She'll continue as an independent 4-H member while in college. Charlee said she would encourage youth to stay in 4-H as long as possible to take advantage of all the state and national opportunities, in addition to the county 4-H programs. One event Charlee said she enjoyed was the Illinois 4-H Illini Summer Academies. This year's ISA will be held June 22-25 on the U of I campus. ISA is open to youth who are currently completing eighth through 12th grade.


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.