4-H member making mask
4-H member Ava Anderson looked for the positive of COVID-19 and help
Tree Stand Safety

It wasn’t that long ago a teenage boy was working a part-time job at a family-owned tree nursery when he was privy to a conversation between the business owners about the loss of young trees due to whitetail deer browsing and antler rubbing.    The boy’s interest peaked on the opportunity to learn how to archery hunt during the upcoming fall season.   No one had every showed him how to hunt, but he’d been reading, practicing his shot, and was willing to learn as he went.    The nursery owners welcomed his enthusiasm and granted him permission.

photo of 4H members

Edwards County 4-H members answered the call to help their neighbors, just when it is needed most. 

Prior to the stay-at-home order in March, 22 4-H members and 15 volunteers met at the Country Financial Hall in Albion and packed meals for the area food banks. One in four Illinois children experience hunger. With several families facing unexpected layoffs and job losses, the 10,152 meals the 4-H members provided are making a difference in these communities, says Mark Becker, University of Illinois Extension 4-H food system specialist. 

It’s no secret that some people are simply better at fishing than others. Nice equipment is helpful, but only in the hands of someone who knows how to use it. A $150 graphite fishing rod is a great tool, but it won’t catch a fish if the knot tied to the hook unravels because it was poorly tied by the fisherman.

Let me start by making a very low-risk assumption that if you’re reading this, you do not need any more convincing that outdoor recreation is good for every single part of your body. It’s good for the 4 H’s of 4-H: Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.

One thing we can count on during uncertain times is our 4-H values.

Now, more than ever, Illinois youth need their 4-H family. Together, youth and adults can use this time to demonstrate values like independence, belonging, generosity and mastery. The lessons Illinois youth learn today will shape them as leaders for a lifetime. While using our virtual platforms, we can work together to model perseverance throughout Illinois communities and beyond. 

The spring rains had our family cooped up for several days. Little League practice was cancelled, and the stingray bike I had been riding in circles in the empty garage now had a flat tire. Eight years old; nowhere to go; nothing to do. As I sat there dejected, my mom entered the garage just as the sun came shining through the clouds.

“Time for a nature walk,” she said as she handed me a plain looking stick. “Just follow that stick and see what it finds” and off we walked.