The 4-H Food Smart Families program teaches youth and their families to prepare nutritious meals and be physically active. At the same time, it gives teens practical experience at teaching, something many teens see as a potential career. That's a win-win situation according to U of I Extension Youth Development Educator Jamie Boas.

This summer, nearly two dozen soon-to-be-seniors from Danville High School attended 15 hours of training to learn how to be teen teachers who mentor the second and third graders who attend the Danville Family YMCA's summer camp.

Sometimes, it's hard enough just following a step-by-step recipe. Now, imagine you've been given a basket of ingredients and told to "make something." That's what teens in this year's Illinois 4-H Food Challenge pilot program faced. Several counties are holding mini competitions where youth demonstrate their mastery of food preparation.