4-H youth honored for spirit of service, dedication

URBANA, Ill. – The career achievements of Illinois 4-H members were celebrated at a virtual ceremony April 10. Their awards are sponsored by the Illinois 4-H Foundation.

The State 4-H Experience Award recognizes members whose participation in community service, leadership, and project work excel. To qualify for the award, 4-H members must participate in activities outside the county. With the unique circumstances of this past year, the award recipients overcame many challenges on the way to these achievements.

“This was a year that none of us could have imagined, and these young men and women did not allow even a global pandemic to get in the way of achieving their goals," says Lisa Diaz, University of Illinois Extension assistant dean and 4-H director. "In fact, we saw the opposite; these 4-H youth pivoted, innovated, and rose to the occasion in a way that surpassed any and all of our expectations." 

Diaz says the youth show 4-H's true spirit of service, dedication, and resilience throughout this past year.

“As new challenges presented themselves, they stepped up to rise to the occasion," Diaz says. "These awards celebrate hard work and goals being attained.”

Diamond Level awards recognize youth who completed six or more experiences in one of the three dimensions, with at least four experiences beyond the county level.  The Diamond Level awards are sponsored by Martha Millard.

Diamond award winners in leadership include: Leah Rossi, Grundy County; Hannah Rossi, Grundy County; Sarah Rossi, Grundy County; Darcy Cummings, Macoupin County; Trace Cummings, Macoupin County; Katie White, Morgan County; and Olivia Shike, Champaign County.

Diamond award winners in project learning include: Annika Deschler, Champaign County; Avie Counts, Pope-Hardin County; Ella Aly, Pope-Hardin County; and Grace McCarty, White County. 

The Diamond award winner in community service is Shiloh Willis, Hamilton County.

The Emerald Level award recognizes youth who completed eight or more experiences specializing in one of the three dimensions, with at least two state, national, or international experiences. The Emerald Level awards are sponsored by Sid and Florence Banwart.

Emerald award winners in leadership include: Carlson Rozanas, Boone County; Saulius Malik, Cook County; Alexander Ford, DuPage County; Jacob Truhlar, Grundy County; Mia Truhlar, Grundy County; Nalia Warmack, Grundy County; Kate Miller, Hamilton County; Julian Heidrich, Kendall County; Sofie Heidrich, Kendall County; Emily Reppy, Kendall County; Sydney Reppy, Kendall County; Megan Eppel, Lake County; Ava Prior, Lee County; Libby Larkin, Livingston County; Anthony Joiner, Macoupin County; Saralynn Joiner, Macoupin County; Luke Wolff, Macoupin County; Carina Engst, McLean County; Reagan Parks, McLean County; Elaan Bader, Montgomery County; Erin Kistner, Montgomery County; J. Alden Knodle, Montgomery County; Kendall Knodle, Montgomery County; Amanda Niemann, Montgomery County; Hannah Barger, Pope-Hardin County; Abagayle Britton, Pulaski County; Kevin Britton, Pulaski County; and Naomi Dolan, Vermilion County.

Emerald award winners in project learning include: Willard Rozanas, Boone County; Caleb Zwilling, Champaign County; Jeremiah Todd, Champaign County; Sophia Holmes, Cook County; Courtney Lynn, Hamilton County; Brayden Caraynoff-Huber, Kendall County; Lydia Oker, Kendall County; DJ Cain, Knox County; Rhayanna Cotter, Lee County; Vivienne Pratt, Livingston County; Braylee Gilmore, Macoupin County; Wyld Gilmore, Macoupin County; Kayleigh Trimm, Macoupin County; Anna Curley, McDonough County; Michael Perkins, McHenry County; Rebecca Perkins, McHenry County; Christopher Corrigan, Livingston County; Lauren Mohr, McLean County; Desiree Reid, Mercer County; Resmiranda Small, Shelby County; Trystan Borders, Union County; Katelyn Davis, White County; Annsley Healy, White County; Avery Edler, Will County; Vanessa Edler, Will County; Peter Widinski, Will County; and Kate Henkel, Woodford County. 

The Emerald award winners in community service is Elizabeth Rich, Shelby County.

The virtual celebration debuted April 10 for families and friends. The winners’ biographies ae featured on the 4-H award website.

About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 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. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs. 

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 decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. 

SOURCE:  Katie Duitsman, 4-H Leadership Youth Development Extension Specialist, pilcher3@illinois.edu
WRITER:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office, carissa7@illinois.edu