4-H Can Make a Difference State Fair Food Drive

The 4-H Can Make a Difference Food Drive is back at the Illinois State Fair! This initiative began over 25 years ago and represents the power of Illinois counties pulling together to create a larger change! 

Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame Recognition

The Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame recognizes 4-H volunteers that have a track record of exemplary service to 4-H or outstanding career and community achievement and are nominated by either county University of Illinois Extension staff or by the Illinois 4-H Foundation Board.

View the 2023 Winners

Illini Summer Academies

Illini Summer Academies is a life-changing personal development experience on the University of Illinois campus. Participants from around Illinois attend academy sessions led by university professors and enjoy a variety of educational sessions that provide a taste of what is possible after high school. Redefine how you see your own potential and network with other youth leaders as you take advantage of this one-of-a-kind summer opportunity. See you June 23-27, 2024! 

Junior Livestock Conference

How do you increase livestock productivity? How do you keep your herd healthy? What traits do you want in your breeding stock? How do you successfully run your farm business? This conference is open to members in 7th, 8th & 9th grades and provides hands-on opportunity built around the science and disciplines of livestock production and exhibition. The conference is held every other year.

This event will be back in 2025! Stay tuned for more updates. 

Junior Leadership Conference

The Junior Leadership Conference is for 4-H members in 7th and 8th grade.  This event is organized and conducted by the State 4-H Youth Leadership Team.  Workshops help participants develop leadership skills, learn about 4-H opportunities, and explore 4-H project areas.

State Shoots

Illinois 4-H State Shoots in rifle, pistol, archery, and shotgun are intended to provide an opportunity for teenage 4-H members to compete with those with like interests from throughout Illinois. 

Illinois 4-H Poultry Judging Contest

With more than 76.5 billion eggs consumed in the U.S. each year, you might be thinking of a career in the poultry industry. We know that judging contests help kids improve their decision-making skills and teaches them to defend those decisions by giving voice to their reasoning. Poultry judging teaches standards of poultry and egg production to ensure a safe and nutritious consumer product. Learn what makes a good egg as you compete for prizes in the Illinois 4-H State Poultry Judging Contest.

This event will be held on August 10, 2023, registration begins at 1:30.



Illinois 4-H Livestock Judging Contest

The Illinois 4-H livestock judging program teaches youth to identify breeds of livestock and helps them make decisions which improve their local herds. The annual contest is held in June each year on the University of Illinois campus. Read more about the positive impact of livestock judging in this blog article. 

Register here: https://go.illinois.edu/4-Hlivestockjudgingcontest

4-H Food Action Summit

The Illinois 4-H Food Action Summit is where leaders meet to be inspired and share a vision for food security, food access, and food justice in Illinois. University of Illinois researchers, non-profit professionals, food advocates, and civic leaders will be present to lead workshops designed to empower young people with the knowledge, confidence, and resources they need to strengthen their leadership as they work to create food security in their communities. 

Stay tuned for more information on the 2024 event!

Illinois 4-H Dog Show

4-H members who excel in the 4-H Dog project are encouraged to compete at the local 4-H dog obedience contest for a chance to advance to the Illinois 4-H Dog Show. Competition in both obedience and showmanship are held. The Illinois State 4-H Dog Show uses the American Kennel Club regulations as a guideline.  CLICK HERE  to download the AKC Rules and Regulations. 

Find the Dog Ownership & Lease document here.

Illinois 4-H Legislative Connection

4-H Legislative Connection provides 4-H members a unique opportunity to learn about the state legislative process and meet with elected officials.  Participants include members of the Illinois 4-H Youth Leadership Team and those members who have completed Speaking for Illinois 4-H training.

Illinois 4-H Horse Bowl Contests

State Horse Bowl Contest | April 23, 2023 | UIUC campus | Entry deadline February 24, 2023

Demonstrate your knowledge of equine related subject matter in a competitive setting where attitudes of  friendliness and fairness prevail. The contest operates very similar to scholastic bowls at school except all the questions relate to horses! Participants do not need to have horses or be enrolled in the horse project to participate. 

Illinois 4-H Hippology Contest

State Hippology Contest | April 22, 2023 | UIUC campus | Entry deadline February 24, 2023

The primary objective of the Hippology Contest is to provide, in a friendly but competitive setting, an opportunity for youth enrolled in 4-H to demonstrate the breadth of their knowledge and understanding of equine science, and in particular the practical application of this knowledge and skill.  Participants do not need to have horses or be enrolled in the horse project to participate.

Speaking for Illinois 4-H Training

You love 4-H. We need you to help tell that story to the public. 4-H members received advanced training in public speaking at Speaking for Illinois 4-H trainings held throughout the state. That training prepares you to meet with county and state elected officials, potential donors, civic groups, and new volunteers. You'll also be the state 4-H programs voice at state legislative events, such as 4-H Legislative Connection where 4-H members visit state legislators to tell their 4-H stories and educate the legislators about the benefits of 4-H and University of Illinois Extension.

Illinois 4-H Horse Speaking Contest

State Horse Speaking Contest April 22, 2023 | UIUC campus | Entry deadline March 31, 2023

4-H Horse Speaking contests help youth gain self-confidence, courage and persuasiveness; share ideas with others; and develop the ability to speak in public to inform others about horse-related subjects and the 4-H Horse project.

Illinois 4-H State Robotics Competition

It’s one thing to program and build a robot; it’s another thing to do it as a team. This statewide event is an opportunity for youth enrolled in 4-H robotics to demonstrate their learning, celebrate their accomplishments, and interact with others who share an interest in robotics. Robotics clubs may compete as a team in the annual State 4-H Robotics Competition. The contest tests a club’s ability to work together creatively to solve a set of tasks. 

4-H Green Communities Tree Program

Hands-on community service, conservation, and environmental education are key components the 4-H Green Communities Tree Program happened in Spring 2022 in 31 counties throughout Illinois.  Illinois 4-H is partnering with the Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts Forestry Committee to address the decline of native oak savannas by providing 25 oak seedlings (in containers) to these counties! Please stay tuned for Spring 2023 information!

4-H Hooks Us Together Fishing Tournament

Youth from across Illinois can head into the great outdoors to participate in the statewide 4-H Hooks Us Together Virtual Fishing Challenge this spring!

While competition is the focus, participating youth take away much more from the experience. The intention of this contest is to advance the interest, or spark, of fishing passions to a higher level. There are over 100,000 less fishing licenses sold now than 20 years ago and we hope these contests will help show more youth the benefits of the sport.

Youth take pictures of the measurements of their catches and can enter catches virtually as many times as they wish.

While the competition takes place virtually, the competition gets youth outdoors and learning about the environment through a fun activity.

The tournament takes place April to June, with competition focusing on a different species of fish each month.  

Details on how to participate are here: https://go.illinois.edu/4HFishingTourney2023            

April – Crappie State 4-H Tournament

May – Largemouth Bass 4-H State Tournament

June – Channel Catfish 4-H State Tournament

Illinois 4-H Public Speaking Contest

4-H excels in preparing youth to speak confidently. The Illinois State 4-H Public Presentation Contest allows youth to highlight their exceptional presentation abilities in a supportive environment. 



Illinois 4-H Horse Judging Contest

State Horse Judging Contest | February 18, 2023 | Black Hawk College East Campus | Register at contest 11 AM

Aside from the obvious benefits of learning about horses, horse judging also provides the opportunity for 4-Hers to learn life skills such as objective reasoning, decision making, public speaking, and learning how to work on a team. 

4-H Dairy Judging

Held annually in August at the State Fair, participants demonstrate their knowledge of the dairy industry by ranking classes of dairy cattle. The top winners represent Illinois in national competition.

4-H Dairy Quiz Bowl

Held annually, members compete in an academic-like quiz bowl while they demonstrate their knowledge of the dairy industry. 4-H members do not need to be a dairy project member to be eligible. The top winners represent Illinois in national competition. More information on the 2023 Quiz Bowl will be posted as it is released. 

4-H Camps

Make new friends and have a summer “getaway” at 4-H camp! Experience cabin living in a beautiful outdoor setting for a very special week of learning and fun. Campers participate in lots of hands-on projects, such as rocketry, conservation, cooking, performing arts, sports, and crafts. It also wouldn’t be camp without hikes, campfires, rock climbing, boating, fishing, and swimming! To find more information about camps and programs at 4-H Memorial Camp, head to: go.illinois.edu/4Hcamp.

Illinois State Fair

If you want to see what 4-H is all about, make sure to visit the Illinois State Fair. Award-winning 4-H members display their general project work during three amazing days of the Illinois State Fair at the Orr Building. Check out the 4-H members exhibiting in the state fair junior livestock show as they compete for grand champion honors in sheep, goats, swine, dairy, and beef. The Illinois State Fair Junior show welcomes people to the fair early to watch a full week of horse shows. There's never a dull moment during the Illinois State Fair. Make plans to join us!