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Teens leaders dedicated to feeding a nation

youth holding the harness of a cow

Urbana, Ill. – Eleven Illinois teens have a new way to develop their skills as future leaders that are dedicated to feeding a nation through the Illinois 4-H Livestock Ambassador Team.

The team is comprised of 4-H members and recent alumni under the age of 21 who serve as role models and advocates for the livestock industry, including planning and leading events, serving on advisory boards, and more.

“The goal of the State Livestock Ambassador team is having youth act as roles models that advocate for the livestock industry as well as the State 4-H program,” says University of Illinois 4-H youth development educator Dan Jennings. “These youth leaders are essential in helping to inform people about both the importance of livestock production and 4-H opportunities.”

This team provides youth with the chance to further develop their leadership skills and share their passion for livestock on a state level through planning and assisting with State 4-H livestock events.

“Our ambassadors plan, implement, teach, and evaluate our 4-H livestock events,” says Jennings. “They are an essential part of making our statewide livestock events a success for younger 4-H members.”

In addition to planning and leadership roles, teens serve on statewide committees and boards including Youth Education in Agriculture, Junior Association, State Fair, and more.   

The new members for 2023 include Lilliana Bernabei, LaSalle County; McKayla Harms, Woodford County; Davis Howell, DeWitt County; Saralynn Joiner, Macoupin County; Shelly Pierson, Clay County; Ellie Fleener, Clay County; Emma Pistorius, Christian County; Myra Dunahee, Clay County; Logan Corzatt, Warren County; Paris Van Dyke, Clay County; and Maycee Moore, Lawrence County.

New members are chosen yearly for two-year terms and must submit quarterly reports to Extension staff in their assigned counties. To learn more about leadership programming in Illinois 4-H, please visit the 4-H Teen Leadership page.

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. 

Source:  Dan Jennings, 4-H Youth Development Educator,

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.