SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Outstanding 4-H volunteers Jim McGuire of DuPage County, Doris Braddock of Kane County, and Mary Schobert of Kendall County were celebrated as part of the 2022 class of the Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame at an in-person ceremony during the 4-H General Project Show at the Illinois State Fair Aug. 14.
“Volunteers are the backbone of the 4-H program,” said Leilah Siegel, 4-H Youth Development Educator with University of Illinois Extension. “We value our volunteers' continued support and dedication to our communities and programs. These fellow residents give selflessly to educate and inspire the next generation.”
DuPage County Honoree: Jim McGuire
For Jim McGuire of Naperville, 4-H became part of his life following a visit with his young family to the DuPage County Fair years ago.
“He knew right away he wanted to get his own children involved in 4-H,” said Siegel, referencing McGuire’s nomination. “From that point on, Jim was ‘all in,’ doing everything he could to improve the fairgrounds, spending many unpaid hours personally completing projects there. Today, he continues to be an enthusiastic and reliable partner for DuPage County 4-H.”
He served as president, treasurer, and fair board director for a dozen years, and he became the DuPage County Fair Manager in 2015. His passion is to provide a place for 4-H youth, community members, families, and all residents to gather and celebrate.
Kane County Honoree: Doris Braddock
Doris Braddock of St. Charles embraced 4-H at every stage of life – from being a member in Missouri to watching her children and grandchildren learn through Kane County 4-H. She also dedicated nearly 30 years of her career to 4-H, retiring from University of Illinois Extension in 2021.
“Over the years, Doris made a positive impact on thousands of lives – youth and volunteers alike,” Siegel said. “She is always willing to dedicate her time and her talents to support 4-H, and she embodies the 4-H pledge of clearer thinking, greater loyalty, larger service, and better living.”
She continues to volunteer for 4-H to help provide youth a place to belong, develop independence, practice generosity, and master skills.
Kendall County Honoree: Mary Schobert
As a 4-H alum, parent, grandparent, and volunteer, Mary Schobert of Yorkville knows firsthand the real life impacts 4-H can have on youth and the life skills they develop through the program.
“Following her mother’s example, Mary now leads her grandchildren in their 4-H club,” said Siegel. “She values how 4-H provides leadership and exploration experiences, and she has seen how the program promotes growth and development across generations.”
In addition to being a 4-H club leader, she serves as a 4-H show superintendent, county records judge, and workshop teacher. She also is a point person on the volunteer-led 4-H Foundation fundraising committee and 4-H livestock auction committee, of which she’s served for 20 years.
These three tri-county volunteers were among 84 total individuals who were inducted into this year’s Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame. The official announcement was made during a virtual ceremony May 20; however, the state fair recognition allows friends, family, and county staff to come together to celebrate their inductee. The ceremonies are held over a three-day period to match up with each county’s exhibit days at the 4-H General Project Show.
The Illinois 4-H Foundation established the statewide Hall of Fame in 2005 to honor and celebrate extraordinary 4-H alumni, volunteers, and former 4-H staff. Those inducted have a track record of exemplary service to 4-H or outstanding career and community achievement and were nominated by either county University of Illinois Extension staff or by the Illinois 4-H Foundation Board. Each inductee receives a commemorative Hall of Fame medallion.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities in DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties at go.illinois.edu/info4Hdkk.
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.