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Our Illinois 4-H Story

What Illinois House Bill 3814 means for 4-H youth

youth hold up the signed bill

Illinois 4-H creates nearly 180,000 experiences for 4-H youth between the ages of 5-18 in all 102 Illinois counties. And 4-H empowers young people and creates a pathway of experiences for youth to explore topics that spark their interest whether that be in agriculture, STEM, community service, or leadership development. 

Through 4-H, members have the opportunity to develop a wide range of career skills including leadership, communications, problem-solving, and entrepreneurship skills. These and other skills learned through 4-H are valuable in the workforce regardless of their chosen career path. In addition to career skills, 4-H members develop a strong work ethic, a sense of responsibility, and a commitment to community service which are all qualities employers look for in potential employees. 

Having had the opportunity to attend State and National 4-H events during my high school career, I always had to make the tough decision of accepting to take the once-in-a-lifetime development opportunities or staying in class to avoid the repercussions of an unexcused absence. Now, with this bill 4-Hers and FFA members alike can freely participate in these programs during a prime time in their lives when college, career, and personal development events are essential in ensuring their future success.  

House Bill 3814 serves to support youth such as myself to be able to take the opportunity to grow as leaders by removing a barrier to gain crucial college and career readiness development. On behalf of all Illinois 4-H members, I want to thank all of the House and Senate Sponsors of this bill as well as Governor Pritzker for their support of this beneficial piece of legislation. The work that you put into this bill and your support of the youth of Illinois does not go unnoticed. Thank you for ensuring opportunities for my peers and I to develop as future leaders in agriculture and the world. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Naomi Dolan is an 11 year 4-H member from Vermilion County. Naomi is the chair of the Illinois 4-H Youth Leadership Team and serves as an Illinois 4-H Healthy Living Ambassador. She will be attending the University of Illinois this fall to study Geology.