Service is a hallmark of the Illinois 4-H program. The Illinois 4-H Foundation annually honors longtime volunteers and former staff members for their selfless dedication to 4-H, the University of Illinois Extension youth development program.
The Illinois 4-H Foundation established the statewide Hall of Fame in 2005 to honor and celebrate extraordinary 4-H alumni, volunteers, and former 4-H staff. Each inductee receives a commemorative Hall of Fame medallion.
In 2020, 87 individuals received the Foundation Hall of Fame Award, presented during a virtual ceremony Aug. 18.
Local Hall of Fame winners include Nancy Boose of Vermilion County, Connie Loschen of Ford County, Andy Hughes of Champaign County, and Larry Haigh of Iroquois County.
Although Nancy Boose was not a 4-H’er herself, she has dedicated countless hours of volunteering for Vermilion County 4-H and has been involved through the 4-H careers of her children. Nancy believes that the program prepares young adults for college by allowing them to explore their interests prior to choosing a career path. It strengthens communication skills and teaches them the importance of hard work. She is a club leader for the Jamaica Flatlanders 4-H club and is a member of the University of Illinois Extension Unit 13 Council for Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion counties. Nancy is passionate about 4-H because she loves to see kids learn and enjoy their activities. She believes in the 4-H program because it provides a guideline for members to follow yet allows members room for creativity. Nancy says that the support of the 4-H program from the U of I, the Extension Staff, the community and parents is what keeps the passion alive.
Connie Loschen grew up on a farm east of Ludlow, IL. She attended Paxton schools and was a member of the Ludlow Merry Busy Bees 4-H Club. She enjoys working with youth and says that 4-H has taught her responsibility and the importance of helping others. Connie was a 4-H leader for 15 years with the Walltown 4-H Club in Paxton, IL. She has assisted her husband, Rodney with his Beef Superintendent roles with the Ford County Junior & Open Beef Shows and 4-H Beef Show duties since 2001. She was also a member of the 4-H Born & Raised and 4-H Livestock Sale Committees. Connie is passionate about 4-H because she thinks it is a great program for youth that lets them learn by doing. It is not only for the kids, but for the whole family. She is proud that her grandkids are actively involved in 4-H and hopes that some of her inspiration encouraged them to be a part of such a great program.
Andy Hughes grew up in Philo Township in Champaign County where he was a 10-year 4-H member. He believes in the 4-H organization and has passed down the 4-H tradition to his children and grandchildren. Andy volunteers as a fair Swine Superintendent and 4-H Swine Superintendent. He serves on the Farm Bureau, Champaign County Fair, and Philo Township boards. He is passionate about 4-H because he enjoys the aspects of career development and friendship growth among youth.
Larry Haigh grew up in Chebanse, IL and was a 10-year member of the Chebanse Little Ducks 4-H Club in Iroquois County. Larry says that youth is the future, and it is important that they stay involved so that they can "make the best better!” He believes that if not for 4-H and FFA he would not be where he is today. Larry was a 4-H Leader for the Chebanse Little Ducks 4-H Club for 3 years before working for University of Illinois Extension. He is the Livestock Superintendent for the Iroquois County Fair as well as the Livestock Sale Superintendent, and Assistant Sheep Barn Superintendent. He has also served on the Iroquois County Fair Board and the Ford-Iroquois 4-H Foundation. Larry says that “the opportunities that are available to students are amazing! 4-H is not just about living on a farm or showing livestock. 4-H is so much more than that. There is something for everyone.” He is passionate about 4-H because the skills that members learn will last them a lifetime.
“These volunteers fully embody what 4-H strives to instill in youth,” says Angie Barnard, Illinois 4-H Foundation executive director. “They are caring, dedicated, generous leaders, and the Illinois 4-H Foundation is extremely proud to be able to provide this honor to thank them for their service to this wonderful organization.
“Many volunteers have a tradition of 4-H in their family or were 4-H members themselves,” Barnard says. “More and more, though, adults brand new to the 4-H experience are seeing the value of the life skills development program and volunteering for the first time.”
To volunteer in your community, one may request information from the local Extension office. “There is a place for everyone in 4-H, whether you have an hour or a lifetime to give,” Barnard says.
Illinois 4-H programs reach nearly 200,000 youth each year through 4-H clubs, camps, educational programs, workshops, and conferences held in communities, schools, parks, and homes across Illinois. In total, more than 15,000 volunteers fill key leadership and mentoring roles.
The Illinois 4-H Foundation raises private funds that are invested in Illinois 4-H programs that provide meaningful, positive development experiences for Illinois youth to develop leadership, citizenship, and life skills. To learn more, visit: 4hfoundation.illinois.edu.
“The Foundation provides avenues to support the work of Illinois 4-H by accepting financial gifts specifically directed to the program you wish to support,” Barnard said. “Estate planning services are available to those wishing to continue their 4-H legacy.”
About 4-H: Illinois 4-H empowers and prepares Illinois youth for success. University of Illinois Extension provides 4-H programs in every county in Illinois, affecting the lives of 200,000 youth each year through sustained learning clubs, groups and short-term programming.
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