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Our Illinois 4-H Story

Celebrating Extension staff's dedication to excellence

It speaks well of a state program when one of it's former longtime employees is honored for the magic they did for generations of 4-H members. Illinois can be proud.

Errol G. Burns, a former University of Illinois Extension staff member, now of Vernal, Utah, was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame on Oct. 10 for his lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H.

Errol G. Burns dedicated his professional life as well as his deep personal convictions and energy to the 4-H Youth Development Program for almost 30 years. Errol began his work with 4-H in Utah as a county Extension specialist involved with in-school agricultural programs, moved on to become the 4-H director of the Utah State Training School for Mentally or Physically Disadvantaged Persons and subsequently moved to the state's most populated county to lead Extension programs. Through his commitment to youth, Errol chartered and led the Utah Association of 4-H Workers and the Utah County Boy's Club Board.

His expertise and commitment equipped him to next take the role of Kansas State 4-H Specialist, to train and support Extension agents, as well as volunteers, in 22 counties. In this role, he mentored and modeled leadership skills for his colleagues. He served as president of Kansas Association of Extension 4-H Agents in 1991-92.

He next joined Illinois Extension as a community leadership and volunteer educator helping youth and adults develop citizenship skills through participation in 4-H projects and programs such as Community Natural Leaders. He served people in eight Illinois counties, many being minority and disadvantaged, to help them build confidence.

Errol served as National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Western regional director, treasurer, vice president, president-elect, president in 1987, and past president and nominating chair. Accomplishments during his tenure included the creation of the Achievement in Service Award, establishment of a Life Member Taskforce, and establishment of the "Professional Forum" to improve relations with Extension, USDA, and University administrators.


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.