URBANA, Ill. – Sangamon County resident Jerry Hicks has been named as a finalist for the National 4-H Salute to Excellence Lifetime Volunteer Award and the award winner for the north central region of the country.
Hicks has made an indelible impact to the Illinois 4-H program and his body of volunteer work has allowed Illinois to continue educational efforts, hire youth development staff, and expand programming to grow the 4-H program and reach new audiences.
“Jerry Hicks is a product of the Illinois 4-H program and a lifetime believer in the tremendous impact 4-H can have on the lives of the youth and the volunteers who guide and lead the program,” says nominator Carissa Davis, University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development educator. “He was a member, and now volunteer, and advocate for making sure that all youth engage in positive youth development experiences which help them develop skills they will use for throughout their life.”
Nominees must not only demonstrate dedicated work to positive youth development in the 4-H program, but work that spans over a minimum of 10 years.
“Jerry has been a dedicated supporter of Illinois 4-H for nearly 43 years,” says Davis. “He feels so strongly about the valuable impact that 4-H had on his life experience that he wants that for every child in Illinois and he is making that happen and has made that happen through the work he does as a 4-H volunteer on the county, multi-county and state level.”
A committee reviewed the pool of Illinois nominations and selected Hicks as the Illinois Salute to Excellence Lifetime Volunteer for 2023; following that selection process; Extension staff prepared and submitted his nomination packet to the regional level for consideration, and an ultimate regional win.
Regional winners were then submitted as finalists at a national level. This marks Hicks’ seventh volunteer recognition over his storied 4-H career.
About the 4-H Youth Development Program: 4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, serving more than 6 million young people across America annually with research-based programs in leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills. For over 100 years, 4-H has connected the science, engineering and technology innovations of land-grant universities to local youth and families. 4-H National Headquarters at NIFA, USDA provides programmatic leadership for the U.S. 4-H Youth Development program. 4-H programs are offered in every county in the United States. For more information about 4-H, visit the national 4-H website at http://www.4-h.org
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.