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There are few things as exciting to watch as when a young person finds a spark that lights his or her imagination on fire.  There are wide eyes, rapid questions, a desire to try, to learn, to try again.  That SPARK is the start of an amazing future.

Illinois 4-H Foundation donors help provide these SPARKS.  Through philanthropic contributions, new programs are given life, resources are made available, and youth have new experiences.  These gifts help ignite the imagination of youth across the state. 

We hope you feel the SPARKS highlighted in the stories of this year's CloverSeed Impact Report. 

Our 4-H Impact in 2021

Group of teenagers shooting with bows

Building Youth Self-Discipline And Focus

Issue

Nearly 302,000 hunting licenses are sold in Illinois annually. A hunting-related shooting incident is defined as an occurrence when a person is injured as the result of the discharge of a sporting arm while hunting or trapping. Often these incidents result from failing to follow...

Boy filming

Creating Pathways For Careers

Issue

Employers say many new employees lack basic skills to be productive in the workforce. Lack of available workers challenge the economic viability of families, businesses, and communities across Illinois. Some youth lack knowledge of preparing a personal budget and managing...

Girl shaking hands with man

Developing Tomorrow's Leaders

Issue

Organizations lack leaders skilled in strategic planning, change management, idea sharing, listening, and emotional intelligence. This skill and knowledge gap impacts all industries.

Action

For many 4-H members, the leadership path starts in their local club,...

4-H teens meet with politician

Empowering Youth Governance

Issue

Cities and towns lack financial support for efforts that would enhance the community. Youth lack understanding of how governments work and how to advocate for change. Youth need opportunities to practice generosity and philanthropy. In order for youth to succeed in the 21st...

Man and 4-H member stand with cases of food

Expanding Food Access

Issue

More than 1.9 million Illinois residents do not have regular access to nutritious food. One in five residents experience hunger weekly. More than 270,000 Illinoisans live in food deserts. These numbers are expected to worsen due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to...

mental health hotline sign

Inspiring Healthy Living

  • 100% of youth surveyed feel supported by their peers in the program
  • 94% knew resources related to mental health that they can share with others in need
  • 90% learned new information through the program
2 girls flying a drone

Inspiring Innovation

Issue

A vital STEM workforce is needed to drive innovation in today’s global world. Workers lack skills in problem solving, design, programming, scientific inquiry, investigation, independent thinking, and teamwork.

Action

Illinois 4-H is empowering youth to be the...

girl riding zipline

Inspiring Outdoor Appreciation

Issue

Young people need more access tonature for better psychological functioning and better physical health.

Action

4-H camping takes place around the state. 4-H Memorial Camp accommodates the largest group of campers with 8,500 visitors over 190 days of use in a...

Man and boy taking care of a sheep

Producing Safe Food

Issue

The world population will surpass 9 billion people by 2050, creating higher demand for food, water, productive land, and environmentally-safe practices. Producers are faced with many challenges, such as food safety, regulations, consumer attitudes, sustainability, and...

Business owners of restaurant

Sparking International Experiences

Issue

Being an entepreneur is challenging, but being an immigrant entrepreneur is an even greater challenge.  Navigating rules, culture differences, and being an 'outsider' in a community can be difficult.

Action

In order for immigrant business owners to feel a sense...

Girl fishing off dock

Stewarding Environmental Issues

Issue

The world’s growing population is putting increased demands on our limited natural resources changing the earth’s climate and future environmental health.

Action

Illinois 4-H youth are learning about the environment through fun activities involving solar and...