When you look toward the southwest corner of the square in downtown Marshall, there’s no denying the beautifully renovated exterior of the former Knights of Pythias building. Purchased by businessman and philanthropist Gerald Forsythe, whose family has been rooted in Clark County for over 150 years, with the vision of providing the building to a local organization that could benefit from having a dedicated meeting space. Ultimately he chose the 4-H clubs of Clark County.
“I was ten years old when I joined the Oliver Go-Getters 4-H Club where I showed Angus steers,” said Gerald Forsythe. “My fondest memories of 4-H are caring for those animals and attending 4-H camp in Monticello, Illinois.”
This facility will be of great benefit to the 4-H’ers in the area, he said, and the presence of the building on the courthouse square will bring daily recognition to 4-H in the community.
The building, which will feature two backlit green 4-H clovers on the front and the 4-H pledge upon entering, will have high-speed internet, a full kitchen, a large media wall, separate coat, and storage rooms, and main gathering space for 4-H club meetings and educational programs.
The facility will be under the direction of the local University of Illinois Extension office, the facilitator of Clark County 4-H. Stacy Woodyard is the County Director.
“Mr. Forsythe has allowed our organization to customize this building to meet the needs of local 4-H’ers who are going to be our future leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs,” says Woodyard.
Susan Sloop, 4-H Youth Development Educator says, “We envision this facility to be a place where clubs can meet to be inspired and learn skills needed in the workforce by local mentors who can guide them. We are very grateful for Mr. Forsythe’s generosity.”
A building dedication and open house will be planned for 507 Locust Street after the interior is finished.
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.