Ribbon cutting celebrates the opening of new 4-H Clubhouse

After months of renovations, 507 Locust Street in Marshall was the location of a ribbon-cutting and open house for the new 4-H Clubhouse serving the 4-H clubs of Clark County.

Building owners and philanthropists Gerald and Jean Forsythe, cut the white ribbon accompanied by Illinois Extension’s Region 3 Interim Director Doug Harlan, Clark, Crawford, and Edgar County Director Stacy Woodyard, 4-H Youth Development Educator, Susan Sloop, Clark County 4-H Coordinator Jennifer Bishop, and other city and county representatives.

“We are so grateful to the Forsythe’s for believing in the 4-H program and offering the use of this building as a dedicated space for our youth to gather, learn, and lead,” County Director Woodyard told the audience before the ribbon cutting.

The Clubhouse will be used exclusively by 4-H members and their adult mentors, both volunteers and Extension staff members, who support and guide them said Woodyard.

Mr. Forsythe shared a brief history of his own experience in 4-H, showing cattle and attending 4-H camp, indicating his positive experience with the largest out-of-school youth program was one of the reasons he chose Clark County 4-H to benefit from the modernized facility.

“4-H provides an opportunity for every youth. I challenge every 4-H member to invite their friends to help grow the program,” he said.

The refurbishment of the building started in early 2020 with local businesses providing the majority of the work. Contractor, Darrin Bishop, reconstructed the interior, creating a modern and spacious kitchen and pantry, storage rooms, coat and backpack room, utility room, two multi-stall restrooms, and a grand open space divided by copious tables, chairs, and youth-friendly furniture.

Contractors improved the entire exterior with beautiful windows and decorative brick. High in the peak of the front of the building, the words “4-H Clubs of Clark County” are spelled out in shiny dimensional black letters. Two immense backlit green 4-H clovers are on each side of the double glass entry doors, where upon entering, guests are greeted with the 4-H Pledge neatly spelled out on the wall.

4-H is open to youth ages 5-7 and 8-18 as of September 1 of the current 4-H year. They can join regular community clubs, Cloverbud clubs, and special interest or SPIN clubs. Youth can learn about topics that interest them in the areas of animal sciences, career and leadership, civic engagement, creative arts, environment, food systems, healthy living, and STEM.

Visit go.illinois.edu/clark4H or call the Extension Office at 217-826-5422 to learn how to join.

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.