4-H in Montgomery County

What's it like in 4-H?

In 4-H, you get to decide what topics and projects interest you most. You make 4-H what you want it to be. Work on many projects or focus on one or two. Choose what events sound fun to you, and do them. In 4-H, you have an important role in making your community a better place to live, but you don’t have to do it alone. As a club, you’ll figure out what’s needed most in your neighborhood and find ways to help.

In 4-H, you’re part of a family working together. At club meetings, you’ll learn how to get along with others as you build your skills and help your community. In 4-H, you’ll meet adults who care about you and want to help you succeed. 4-H matches you with mentors who will coach you in areas like problem solving, communicating, and teamwork. 4-H introduces you to potential careers and then gives you the training to get the career you want.

Explore a club near you.


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Fairs and Shows



Required Trainings to Show Livestock

  • YQCA – Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (required for beef, dairy, goats, sheep, and swine)
  • QAEC – Quality Assurance and Ethics Certification (required for dog, cat, poultry, rabbit, small pet, and horse)
  • Due May 1 in order for you to show livestock at your local county 4-H fair.


Montgomery County 4-H'ers help back lunches weekly. L to R: Kohen Stolte, Erin Kistner, Elaan Bader, Emma Hughes, and Joelle Hughes

Weekend Food Program

Nearly 2.3 million households in rural communities face food insecurities. Erin Kistner, a Montgomery County 4-H member, decided she was going to do something to help students at her high school who don’t have enough to eat.

With skills she learned at the Illinois 4-H Hunger Summit, Erin created a survey and surveyed the students in her school. She learned that 50% of youth surveyed acknowledges that hunger is an issue in their school and 33% of those surveyed said they deal with hunger on the weekends. She also overheard a student talking about not having electricity in their home. That made her wonder how they cooked food. After surveying her school and seeing the results, Erin decided something must be done to help her fellow classmates. This sparked the creation of the Weekend Food Program. This program allows students to get weekend meals discreetly and students in need find out about the program through teachers and word of mouth.

The project

Our Montgomery County 4-H Extension staff and nutrition and wellness educator, along with Erin’s help, came up with a plan. Most importantly, we wanted to make sure all food groups would be met with each packaged meal.

Montgomery County 4-H Youth Leadership Team packs bags each week during the school year. Meals are packed in a bag with breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drink, which ultimately consist of a main dish, a vegetable and fruit. To make each meal even more accessible, all cans must be pop-top, so students don’t need access to a can opener. All meals are ready to eat or microwavable.

When the program started in Hillsboro High School in 2019, approximately 25 meals were distributed each week, and that number has grown. For 2020-2021 the program expanded to the Nokomis school  with the help of Montgomery County 4-H member, Kohen Stolte. Nearly 1,500 meals were served between Hillsboro and Nokomis that year. For 2021-2022 the program will be expanded into Litchfield High School with the help of Montgomery County 4-H members, Amanda Niemann and Emma Hughes. The program will also be expanded into Litchfield and Nokomis Middle Schools.

Interested in helping?

You can make monetary donations to Montgomery County 4-H Foundation or food donations can be dropped off at the Montgomery County Extension Office. Items accepted include: individual plastic cups of applesauce, vanilla pudding, corn, green beans, crackers, fresh stacks, granola bars, strawberry pop-tarts, breakfast bars, mini packs of cookies, trail mix, Cheez-its, fruit snacks, pretzels, and Capri-Sun juice pouches, microwavable popcorn, cups of mac & cheese, pop-top cans of ravioli, soup and chili. *No peanut butter flavors*

State Resources for Illinois 4-H Members and Clubs

For More Information