Carl Schmidgall knows how to take a bad situation and make it better.

His sister, Korri, wrecked her Jeep when she hit a patch of black ice coming home from basketball practice. She was fine, but the Jeep was totaled. It sat in the machine shed at home for two years before Carl decided to rebuild it, bigger and better.

It's like suddenly seeing the world in a new way.

That's how teens attending the Illinois 4-H Illini Summer Academies describe their time studying with University of Illinois instructors this week.

From quantum mechanics and mutagenesis to honey bee health and family interactions, U of I staff allowed Academy teens to peek in the windows of emerging technologies, scientific investigation, and human development explored on this great campus.

Lessons come wrapped in all types of boxes. Here are five lessons every 4-H member knows.

#5: You aren't going to win every time, and that's okay. How you lose is just as important as how you win.

Do you remember your first time on the University of Illinois campus? Sure you do. There's something about walking on the quad for the first time that stays with a person.

Illinois 4-H wants to be that 'first look at campus' for Illinois young people, and we do it through our Illini Summer Academies. This year we set a new record … 310 kids in 16 different academies of study. We're just about evenly split between incoming high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

More than 200 youth experienced a bit of college life during the 2014 Illinois 4-H Illini Summer Academies, sponsored by University of Illinois Extension in cooperation with several departments on campus. High school youth stayed in dorms, experienced campus recreation and food, and spent 15 hours with U of I faculty and grad students in 11 departments during the 4-day conference.

The real world is a lot tougher than most eighth graders know. Extension's "Welcome to the Real World" brings home that lesson. WTTRW is an experiential learning simulation which shows youth real facts about how the careers they choose and the decisions they make effect the money they have to spend or save each month.

For 25 years, University of Illinois Extension's "Simply the Best" program in Washington County has mixed the right ingredients to inspire positive change in the lives of 250 junior high youth there a year.

Charlee Walker didn't tell anyone her plan, so imagine the surprise when the 17-year-old 4-H member from Edgar County walked into her senior prom wearing a dress she made . . . out of magazine pages. It took this creative young lady more than two months to design, weave, fold, staple and hot glue her one-of-a-kind party dress. She used photography magazines as her "fabric" because the pages were colorful. Working without a pattern, the teenager said she just "kinda winged it." She also made a bow tie and boutonniere out of paper for her lucky date.