Illinois teens selected as delegates for National 4-H Congress

youth in white polos pose in masks

Atlanta, GA - Ten teens from Illinois attended a five-day national conference in Atlanta, Ga. from Nov. 26 - 30. 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 2021 Illinois delegation included Delaney Smith of Champaign County, Ross Vancil of Henderson County, Anthony Joiner of Macoupin County, Michelle Marck of Stephenson County, Megan Eppel of Lake County, Naomi Dolan of Vermilion County, Gracie Prose of Ogle County, Dylan Zwilling of Champaign County, Carl Rozanas of Boone County, and Lydia Oker of Kendall County.

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

“I was inspired by the keynote speakers each day because they all have accomplished so much, even when setbacks occurred in their paths,” says delegate Lydia Oker of Kendall County. “They inspired me to take risks and use my four H’s to get far in life, while serving individuals I encounter along the way. My end goal is to make a positive impact in others’ lives and inspire along the way by advocating for 4-H and spreading our knowledge to the world around us.”

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

“I learned the importance of keeping an engaged audience along with new ways to make lecture-based activities hands-on,” says delegate Gracie Prose of Ogle County. “I can bring this knowledge and new experience to the Youth Leadership Team by not only incorporating the right time increments for activities but also always having something hands-on for people to do during the activities we lead throughout the year.”

The Illinois 4-H Foundation and Nann Armstrong provided support for the award-recognition 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. 

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:   Megan Eppel, Youth Leadership Team Social Chair, Lake County
Writers:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager,
Megan Eppel, Youth Leadership Team Social Chair, Lake County