It's that time of year when the minds of 4-H storytellers turn to impact reports.

My understanding of impact has changed in the years since I first studied ag communications in the basement of Mumford Hall. It took real life to show me what my professors tried so hard to teach me.

Impact isn't what I did; impact is WHAT CHANGED IN OTHERS because I did something.

In my early days "doing" 4-H work, I thought it was enough that I held events. I counted heads in the room and thought I was doing my job. Thirty-five years later, I finally get it.

We're listening now more than ever.

Jump over to and look at the new Illinois 4-H website. Yeah, we did that!

Illinois 4-H is a thriving, growing, vital program reaching nearly 200,000 Illinois youth a year. In the past five years, while other youth organizations have faced a decline, Illinois 4-H has grown and not just a tiny amount. We've grown 24 percent.