EUREKA, Ill. – Illinois 4-H volunteers empower and prepare youth for success as the program relies on its more than 15,000 volunteers to fill key leadership and mentoring roles. Longtime volunteers and former staff members were recently honored by the Illinois 4-H Foundation for their selfless dedication to the University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development program.

In 2021, 71 individuals received the Foundation Hall of Fame Award, presented during a virtual ceremony August 17.  Four of the honorees are being named posthumously. 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.

“These volunteers are a model of 4-H values,” says Angie Barnard, Illinois 4-H Foundation executive director. “All of our volunteers are valuable, but this award honors those that go above and beyond. These are volunteers that helped shape not only individuals, but generations of 4-H members.”

We are proud to announce Woodford County 4-H volunteer Bill Royer as one of those honorees into the Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame.

Starting as a 4-H member in Indiana, later serving as a club leader in Iowa, and then as a livestock superintendent for Woodford County, 4-H has been a part of Bill’s life for 70 years.

Bill states, “4-H means so much to me. It is both fun for youth and teaches life skills and leadership.”

While Bill has retired from his position as sheep superintendent for Woodford County 4-H, he remains active in the program serving on the sheep committee, the food stand committee, and the Woodford County 4-H and Extension Foundation. We are honored to have Bill Royer as a member of our Woodford 4-H community, inspiring and leading our next generation of 4-H members. Thank you and congratulations, Bill!

Illinois 4-H programs reach nearly 120,000 youth each year through 4-H clubs, camps, educational programs, workshops, and conferences held in communities, schools, parks, and homes across Illinois. Volunteers fill key leadership and mentoring roles throughout the state.

“Many volunteers have a tradition of 4-H in their family or were 4-H members themselves,” Barnard says. “More and more though, adults brand new to the 4-H experience are seeing the value of the life skills development program and volunteering for the first time. 4-H has volunteer opportunities that fit such a wide variety of time, skills, and talents.”

To volunteer in Woodford County, please request information from the Extension office at 309-467-3789. “There is a place for everyone in 4-H, whether you have an hour or a lifetime to give,” Barnard says.

“The Foundation provides avenues to support the work of Illinois 4-H by accepting financial gifts specifically directed to the program you wish to support,” Barnard said. “Gift planning services are available to those wishing to continue their 4-H legacy.” The Illinois 4-H Foundation raises private funds that are invested in Illinois 4-H programs that provide meaningful, positive development experiences for Illinois youth to develop leadership, citizenship, and life skills. To learn more, visit: 4hfoundation.illinois.edu.

For Further Information Contact:
News Source: Alcha Corban, 4-H Youth Educator, Livingston & Woodford Counties, 309-467-3789
News Writer: Carissa Nelson, 4-H Media Communications Manager, carissa7@illinois.edu

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.