WATERLOO, Ill. – Illinois 4-H strives to unlock the potential in every young person, helping them to dream, plan, design, build, and achieve. Around the state, University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development staff are guiding the next generation of leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs.

In June, Emily Reece joined Illinois Extension as a 4-H youth development educator serving Madison, Monroe and St. Clair counties in southwestern Illinois. She will create, provide, and oversee research-based programs for area youth through 4-H clubs and other outreach activities.

“We are very excited to have Emily joining us to complete our local 4-H team,” says Illinois Extension County Director Amy Cope. “She is already collaborating on summer programming, 4-H show season, and developing new ideas focused on meeting the needs of our communities and youth.”

Reece comes to Illinois 4-H after serving as a local 4-H event program coordinator for four years. In that time, she built relationships by working with local 4-H volunteers, youth and families.

Now, as an educator, Reece hopes to continue that work by creating youth programs focused on building leadership, STEAM, and workforce preparation skills.

“The 4-H Youth Development program has an educational philosophy that really appeals to me,” Reece says. “I love the hands-on educational enrichment that 4-H provides and I look forward to working with the diverse audiences and underserved populations in our communities.”

She also hopes to strengthen partnerships and outreach with adult volunteers and local businesses and leverage natural resources in the area for outdoor programs.

Emily graduated from Webster University in St. Louis, MO., with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. She later attended Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville where she graduated with a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on Diversity and Equity in Education. Reece is based in the Monroe County Extension office in Waterloo and can be reached at ereece@illinois.edu or (618) 939-3434.

Extension educators and specialists connect every county in Illinois with university research through in-person and distance-learning programming and other educational outreach. They work to provide businesses, families, and agricultural producers with the practical tools and resources needed to solve problems.

WRITER: Emily Steele, Media Communications Coordinator, Illinois Extension

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed

ILLINOIS 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen.