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Teen leaders showcase leadership, speaking skills at State Capitol

Members pose in green shirts in the Capitol.

Springfield, IL – Illinois 4-H teens put their leadership skills to the test as they communicated the value and impact of Illinois 4-H with state legislators as a part of 4-H Legislative Connection on Feb.7 and 8.

Legislative Connection provides Illinois 4-H teens a unique opportunity to promote the Illinois 4-H program to elected state officials and learn about the state legislative process. Youth share their personal 4-H stories with legislators and discuss the benefits of 4-H and local University of Illinois Extension programming in their home communities.

The participating youth are between the ages of 14 and 19, have completed Speaking for Illinois 4-H training, and serve on a statewide leadership team.

“These 4-H members receive advanced training at Speaking for Illinois 4-H ahead of the event,” says University of Illinois Extension 4-H specialist Patty McGlaughlin. “At 4-H Legislative Connection, 4-H members then visit state legislators to tell their 4-H stories and educate the legislators about the benefits of 4-H and University of Illinois Extension.”

This year’s participants included: Bella Binkley, McLean County; Katelyn Davis, White County; A.J. Harris, Morgan County; Emma Hughes, Montgomery County; Saralynn Joiner, Macoupin County; Asher Munar, Kendall County; Willard Rozanas, Boone County; Andrea Schaffnit, Adams County; Lainey Sullivan, Hancock County; Ross Vancil, Henderson County; and Lance Woolam, Adams County.

Youth book appointments with state leaders and communicate the value and impact of 4-H using persuasive speaking techniques along with data and examples as they tell their 4-H story to legislators.

“This event is important because legislators have the opportunity to hear from the youth in their districts,” says McGlaughlin. “Through hands-on engagement with the state legislative process Illinois 4-H members get the chance to build bridges with elected officials, fostering a future where youth voices resonate in the chambers.”

An additional Legislative Connection session will also be held May 16-17. Those wishing to know more about the event may visit the Legislative Connection webpage.

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. 

For Further Information, Contact:

Writer:  Carissa Nelson, Media Communications Manager, 4-H State Office,

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.