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Illinois 4-H youth earn spot at national conference for exceptional achievements

Delegates pose by Olympic rings.

Atlanta, GA -- Ten teens from Illinois attended a five-day national conference in Atlanta, GA designed to expand their skills, engage with other 4-H members, and provide inspiration. Delegates to National 4-H Congress are selected on their outstanding 4-H accomplishments.

National 4-H Congress is an educational event designed to make an impact as one of the premier experiences 4-H members across the country can come together and participate in.

The 2023 delegation included Kyle Haas, Jo Daviess County; Natalie Otto, Woodford County; Alana Dolan, Vermilion County; Jeremiah Todd, Champaign County; Janella Neary, Monroe County; Andrea Schaffnit, Adams County; Alex Paul, Wayne County; Nickolas Sloan, Williamson County; Olivia Passig, Coles County; Amanda Niemann, Montgomery County.

Teens attended educational workshops focused on diversity, cultural experiences, leadership, team development and are able to network with 4-H members from across the United States. They also have the opportunity to listen to and learn from nationally recognized speakers.

“It’s an absolute blast,” says delegate Kyle Haas of Jo Daviess County. “You get to talk to people from all over the country.”

National opportunities allow 4-H members to build new connections and hone their leadership abilities and bring back new skills that will help them make an impact in their club, community, country, and world.

“My favorite part of Congress has been all of the connections we’ve made from all across the country,“ says delegate Amanda Niemann of Montgomery County. “This weekend has really pushed me outside of my comfort zone and I’m so grateful for all of the new friendships.”

The Illinois 4-H Foundation and Nann Armstrong provided support for this trip.

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. 

Source:   Katie Duitsman, 4-H Youth Development Specialist,

Writers:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager,

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. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.