The Youth Education Committee of the Illinois Farm Bureau and its affiliates awarded 10 Illinois 4-H members with its Leadership, Citizenship, and Professionalism Award at a ceremony held Saturday, Oct. 5 in Champaign. In addition to the award, the winners participate in an elite leadership training.
The winners included Hannah Barger, Pope County; Alexander Ford, DuPage County; Julia Heller, Ogle County; Kaleb Hemrich, Richland County; Danielle Lynn, Hamilton County; Jennifer McConnaughhay, Marion County; Seth Mitchell, Richland County; Josh Rossi, Grundy County; Skye Schumaker, McLean County; and Sara Timm, Marion County.
Presenting the scholarships on behalf of the Illinois Farm Bureau was Jenny Webb, Farm Bureau membership and program specialist. In addition to her work in Farm Bureau, Jenny is a McLean County 4-H alumna and former Extension staff member.
About our winners:
Hannah Barger, Pope County
Hannah credits her confidence and leadership skills to serving on the Illinois 4-H State Youth Leadership Team. As a member, she teaches at state conferences and helps at the state fair. As a delegate to National 4-H Conference, she presented to staff of the Department of Transportation. As Federation president, she’s committed to increasing 4-H membership. She excels in goats, woodworking, and visual art project work. Hannah plans to be an elementary school teacher.
“4-H has molded me into the person that I am today. 4-H has provided me with the opportunities to try new things and taught me that as long as you do your best, you have succeeded.”
Alexander Ford, DuPage County
Alex has a rich 4-H history, combining his passion for leadership development and STEM in diverse ways. He served as a judge for the 2019 State 4-H Robotics Competition, taught a workshop on mathematical patterns in nature, and served as a team leader for the 4-H National Youth Science Day event. He mentors club members. He enjoys the environmental science, geology, and natural resources projects. He’s been a top finisher in the 4-H recurve archery contest. Alexander plans to study chemical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
“4-H was the key to my growth from a shy child to a confident leader, because through 4-H, I had many unique opportunities to develop my own personal brand of leadership to make a difference for my club, my community, and beyond.”
Julia’s 4-H work led to her selection as an Illinois delegate to National 4-H Conference. As a Livestock Ambassador Team member, she taught embryo transfer simulations at the Junior Livestock Conference. She also served on the planning committee for Illini Summer Academies. Julia plans to study animal science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, followed by veterinary medicine school, with hopes to become a poultry pharmaceutical vet.
“4-H is an opportunity for youth of all ages to come together and grow. From leadership to community service, 4-H allows the opportunity for youth to grow life skills and give back to their community.”
Kaleb has a wide variety of excellence in 4-H, from having his photograph displayed in the Illinois Department of Agriculture building to competing in the National 4-H Poultry Judging Contest. Kaleb has a substantial list of service projects. Some include donating clothes and hygiene products to shelters, supporting MS, preparing meals for church and community, participating in Relay for Life, writing cards to the elderly, donating blankets for babies, helping at the Humane Society, filling weekend food packs, and making birthday bags for Masterhands. Kaleb plans to study wildlife biology.
“4-H is the joy of being able to show off your talents that you may possess during the fair, as well being able to communicate with people around you and make connections that no other program may be able to do.”
Danielle is a strong and confident young leader. She attended Legislative Connection to gain support for a community “give back box.” She maintained communication with Rep. Severin, and when the first box was installed, he attended the dedication. Danielle was an active 4-H Teen Teacher. She plans a career in business.
Jennifer uses the skills she gained as a 4-H Teen Teacher to help her with both her own projects and those of younger members. She raises rabbits and enjoys showing animals at the fair. She assists with fundraisers and cooking school. Jennifer studies culinary arts.
“4-H is community, commitment, responsibility, friendship, and growth."
Seth Mitchell, Richland County
As a new 4-H member, Seth showed pigs; now, he’s running his own show-pig operation using the knowledge he gained in 4-H about formulating feed rations, selecting genetics, cleaning pens, keeping records, breeding, farrowing, and maintaining customer relationships. Seth also facilitates new member workshops while balancing his 4-H and FFA responsibilities. He competes in public speaking and serves his community in activities, such as Operation Shoebox, park beautification, visiting seniors, and fundraising. Seth studies animal science and agricultural economics at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with hopes to work in business management or governmental affairs within the animal science industry.
“4-H is an organization that brings together students from all different backgrounds to foster lifelong friendships and accomplish the common goal of empowering successful futures through hands-on learning.”
Josh Rossi, Grundy County
Josh’s insight, compassion, and organizational skills make him a good leader and role model, and he credits 4-H with developing those leadership qualities. His primary projects included photography, filmmaking, and computer science. Josh studies business management at North Central College.
“4-H means that I will always have a place that supports and encourages me in my personal growth. It is a place where I can meet new friends and connect with old ones. 4-H is a large part of my life because of the influence it has had on me.”
Skye has enjoyed great success in the livestock project area and judging contests, including exhibiting the reserve champion Dorset at the 2019 state fair. She is a member of the State Livestock Ambassador Team and on the judging team that competed at Aksarben and the National Western Stock shows. Active in FFA, Skye played in the national FFA band which played for the president. Skye plans to pursue livestock judging at Lake Land and transfer Oklahoma State University.
“4-H is about family, heritage, leadership, and competition. My family showed in 4-H for generations on both my father and mother's side. It's an amazing organization!”
Sara knows that determination and hard work are needed to be successful. Her efforts on the State Livestock Ambassador Team, livestock judging team, and community service projects earned her the state’s Leadership, Citizenship, and Professionalism Award. Sara plans to attend Kaskaskia College, then a university, toward a degree in large and small veterinary medicine
“4-H means learning new skills and developing them. It means coming out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself to do those new activities. It’s the meaningful and lifelong friendships that you make. 4-H means so much more than just showing at the fair. It’s all about the hard work, tears, laughs, and friends that you make on the journey.”