Award Year

Charlyn Ware says she learned the 3 R’s while she was a ten-year member of the Sangamon County Cooper Jets. Her mother was the leader, and the 3 R’s weren’t reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic, but resiliency, responsibility and respect.

Resiliency came when ‘once again’ her steer did not win first place at the show. With hard work, there was always another chance the next year. Responsibility came when she learned there would be no trip to town for fun until the chores were complete. No short cuts were taken and 4-H projects were given full attention, with all records completed in a timely fashion. Respect was always given to her fellow 4-hers, their parents, and the many animals she worked with in her years as a Cooper Jet.

Charlyn continued her involvement with 4-H as a student at the University of Illinois, where she was in leadership at 4-H House. She later served two terms on the Sangamon-Menard Extension Council. Today Charlyn works with state 4-H staff to improve communication regarding 4-H issues and premium funding, and to change legislation to improve 4-H funding to counties from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Charlyn has a history of service to the community; she has served on the Washington Street Mission Homeless Shelter Board, and has been an instructor for the Salvation Army School for Cooks, training homeless veterans. She is active in civic leadership, serving as past treasurer and current president of the Capitol District Dietetic Association, and currently serving on the Springfield Division board of Directors FBI Citizens Academy. She is also an inspirational speaker for various women’s organizations.

The lifelong lessons Charlyn learned in 4-H carried her through both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at the University of Illinois. Following a successful 27-year career as a reporter at the State Journal-Register, Charlyn is now the Bureau Chief for County Fairs and Horse Racing with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Charlyn acknowledged the tremendous impact 4-H had in her life, saying, “My work ethic, my determination and my ability to follow through and complete a project can all be attributed to my time in 4-H. It helped make me the person I am today.”