Award honors outstanding youth leadership in ag industry

URBANA, Ill. – The 4-H Sustaining the Future Award was created to recognize 4-H members who have exemplified outstanding leadership in the agricultural industry. The leadership achievements of Illinois 4-H members were celebrated at a virtual ceremony April 10. 

“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 DiazUniversity 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." 

The award winners include: Greta Shaffer, Adams County; Olivia Charles, Carroll County; Delaney Smith, Champaign County; Sara Smallwood, Clark County; Shelby Basham, Kankakee County; Lydia Oker, Kendall County; Anthony Joiner, Macoupin County; Lauren Mohr, McLean County; Remington Curry, Pope County; and Lorena Kraemer, St. Clair County.

“These youth have demonstrated the 4-H spirit of service, dedication, and resilience throughout this past year,” says Diaz. “As new challenges presented themselves, they stepped up to rise to the occasion.  These awards celebrate hard work and goals being attained.”

The 4-H Sustaining the Future Award is sponsored by Illinois Farm Bureau and Affiliates through the Illinois 4-H Foundation. View the winners’ biographies 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,
WRITER:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office,