The 18-year-old senior from Normal went to Washington D.C. where she, along with a team of five other 4-H members, planned, organized, and conducted a premiere conference for 250 4-H members from across the country.
National 4-H Conference focuses on civic engagement, civic education and personal development. As part of her national 4-H youth leadership team responsibilities, Parrent chose program offerings; wrote scripts for events; presented and participated in a national rally where the new 4-H branding campaign, Grow True Leaders, was unveiled; planned and hosted the talent show; and selected and introduced speakers and performers for the conference.
“If there’s a way to volunteer and make a difference, Jill is the first person to rise to the challenge,” said Carolyn Hansen, University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development educator. “She’s smart, wicked funny and compassionate.” Parrent is an 11-year member of the Green Leafers 4-H Club and the 2014 McLean County Fair Queen. Following her attendance of National 4-H Conference in 2015, the teen applied and was one of six teens across the United States accepted to plan and lead the 2016 event.
“As I think about this experience, my heart is pounding with joy and my eyes are teary with thankfulness,” the teen wrote on her social media account as she boarded the flight home Thursday afternoon. She called National 4-H Conference one of the “biggest honors” of her lifetime.
“This week has been one for the books,” she wrote. “The best of the best were here, and I’m so blessed to have met them.”