Local News

Illinois 4-H wants alums to know: you can always come home to 4-H

Each year, 4-H members across the nation celebrate National 4-H Week, joining 6 million 4-H members of the country’s youth development program. This year, the celebration was Oct. 3 to 9.

University of Illinois Extension 4-H wants to use the celebration to continue to connect with former members. Nationally, there are 25 million Americans who share this unique alumni bond.

“Illinois 4-H is proud of both current and alumni members,” said Tina Veal, Illinois 4-H alumni and constituent engagement manager. “We’re hoping to create a lifelong connection to our 4-H alumni with a free membership in the Illinois 4-H Alumni Association.”

The Illinois 4-H Alumni Association was established in 2016. Its mission is to create a lifelong, statewide community of 4-H alumni and provide increased opportunities for meaningful engagement to increase awareness, pride, participation, volunteerism and philanthropic commitment to Illinois 4-H.

One may register at go.illinois.edu/4halum to stay up to date on Illinois 4-H programs, learn about alumni opportunities, engage as volunteers or network with others. Members receive a quarterly newsletter.

The Illinois 4-H program has a strong history of making an impact on youth, building leaders and preparing youth for success.

“4-H continues to build responsible and caring adults who are more likely to give back to their communities,” Veal said. “We want to remain connected to our 4-H alumni to see the impacts they made in their careers and communities.”

Alumni can give back with 4-H in DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties

Do you live or work in DuPage, Kane, or Kendall counties? The tri-county University of Illinois Extension team has a variety of volunteer opportunities available to fit any schedule, from judging at a 4-H show or helping with an event to teaching a workshop or leading a short-term, special-interest club.

“In 4-H, youth build friendships, practice generosity, develop independence and learn life skills that help them in school and beyond,” said Leilah Siegel, 4-H Youth Development educator for the three counties. “As adults, alumni can give back to the program that helped shape their futures by positively impacting the next generation.”

It doesn’t need to be a big commitment; it may be as simple as teaching a skill at a one-day workshop or speaking to a group of 4-H’ers at an event.

“Whether it’s been five or 50 years since you were in 4-H, your knowledge and experience can help today’s 4-H members prepare for their futures,” Siegel said. “Volunteers do not have to be 4-H alumni. So grab a friend and see how you can help together.”

To learn about volunteering with 4-H, visit go.illinois.edu/Volunteers4Hdkk or call Siegel at 630-584-6166.

For information about joining 4-H, visit go.illinois.edu/info4Hdkk. For information about the Illinois 4-H Alumni Association, contact Veal at the Illinois State 4-H office at vealt@illinois.edu.