While some of our day-to-day activities returned to a prepandemic status in 2021, other areas did not. Many youth still found themselves uncertain about how COVID-19 may continue to impact their lives. Their physical, emotional, and mental health continued to suffer.
Fortunately, 4-H youth now have the tools to become healthy living changemakers right in their communities through the leadership of prominent lifestyle and health experts at the 2021 National 4-H Summit for Healthy Living.
Illinois 4-H youth represented our state as facilitators, speakers, and ambassadors. One ambassador was Crawford County’s Dannika Fulling, a 10th grader at Palestine High School. Dannika is a 7-year 4-H member with a personal interest in healthy living. She says her parents introduced her to healthy living through camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. She says it was an honor to be chosen as an ambassador for Illinois, and especially to represent Crawford County. She says she will use the skills she learned in the summit, such as paying it forward, learning how to cope with stress, and working as a team, in her own life and her community.
Designed for grades 9 through 12, the summit brought together teen health leaders from across the country to focus on helping teens develop the knowledge and skills to address today’s issues facing nutrition education, physical fitness, wellness, and emotional well-being. Fifteen teens were chosen to represent Illinois at the conference as 4-H Healthy Living Teen Ambassadors. Over 500 ambassadors gathered for this virtual conference.
In the fall of 2021, Dannika Fulling and Crawford County 4-H program coordinator April Knoblett held the Food, Fun, and 4-H program for local elementary students. The five afterschool workshops held at the local library focused on healthy habits regarding food and exercise and positive mental health activities. Fulling says it was a good feeling to use her newly learned skills to pass on knowledge to youth in her community.