Illinois 4-H alumni to be honored in new awards program

Urbana, Ill. -- The Illinois 4-H Alumni Association is announcing a new Illinois 4-H Alumni awards program in order to recognize alumni for their individual achievements, contributions to their industry or profession, service to the community, and loyalty to the Illinois 4-H program.

“Illinois 4-H has a strong history of engaged alumni that have utilized their 4-H skills throughout their lives in their careers, leadership roles and civic engagement," says Tina Veal, University of Illinois Extension 4-H alumni & constituent engagement manager. "The Illinois 4-H Alumni Association is thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize these alumni for their accomplishments and loyalty to the Illinois 4-H program and beyond.”

The Illinois 4-H Alumni Association is seeking nominations in three categories: Illinois 4-H Alumni Award, Illinois 4-H Young Alumni Award, and the Illinois 4-H Family Spirit Award.

The Illinois 4-H Young Alumni Award was established in 2023 and is bestowed upon alumni by the Illinois 4-H Alumni Association and Illinois 4-H program on behalf of the University of Illinois. This award recognizes young alumni that have demonstrated significant accomplishments and are emerging leaders in their professional or civic contributions to their community. They have proven to be ambassadors for the Illinois 4-H program and the 4-H young alumni community.

The Illinois 4-H Alumni Award was established in 1981 and is the highest honor is bestowed upon a 4-H alumnus by the Illinois 4-H Association and Illinois 4-H program on behalf of the University of Illinois. This award recognizes an elite group of Illinois 4-H alumni for their outstanding career accomplishments and leadership in civic, community, and professional activities.

Illinois 4-H Family Spirit Award was established in 2002 and recognizes an Illinois 4-H family who has substantially benefited from and continues to advocate for the Illinois 4-H program over at least three generations.

The Illinois 4-H Alumni Award and 4-H Family Spirit awards were initially established by the Illinois 4-H Foundation. The Illinois 4-H Alumni Association will continue these awards and has established the new Illinois 4-H Young Alumni Award. The recipients will be recognized at the Illinois State Fair between August 11-13, 2023. 

The nomination deadline is March 1, 2023.  Applications can be found on the 4-H Awards website.

Those with questions may contact Tina Veal, 4-H Alumni Relations at the Illinois State 4-H Office at 217-333-0910 or email vealt@illinois.edu.

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. 

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Source/Writer: Tina Veal, Illinois 4-H Alumni & Constituent Engagement Manager, vealt@illinois.edu