The Youth Education Committee of the Illinois Farm Bureau and its affiliates awarded nine Illinois 4-H members with its Leadership, Citizenship, and Professionalism Award this year. In addition to the award, the winners participate in an elite leadership training.
The winners included Meghan Anderson, Wayne County; Anne Becker, Morgan County; Sheridan Hank, Mercer County; Erin Kistner, Montgomery County; Madelyn Maxwell, Hamilton County; Reagan Parks, McLean County; Zackary Paul, Wayne County; Noah Vancina, Will County; and Nalia Warmack, Grundy County.
About our winners:
Wayne County | Wayne City 4-H Club, Federation Team, 4-H Ambassadors, Foundation, Teen Teacher, 4-H Buddy
Meghan serves in many club and county leadership roles which give her the opportunity to tell others about 4-H and mentor youth. She teaches pet care at the community outreach program of Frontier Community College. She promotes 4-H to civic groups, schools, and county boards and is a teen teacher for the county ag in the classroom program.
“The impact I have on the lives of youth in my county is something that makes me proud. Knowing I am one of the ‘big kids’ that youth can look up to is an accomplishment I have achieved without knowing I wanted to achieve it in the first place.”
Career plans: Study general studies and play softball at a Junior college, then transfer to a university.
Morgan County | Agri-Stars, 4-H Federation, Illinois State 4-H Youth Leadership Team
Anne has focused much of her 4-H work on helping others. She chaired the unit food packaging event and coordinated 130 volunteers, which resulted in more than 10,000 meals that were distributed to food pantries. She presented at the Illinois 4-H Hunger Summit. Through her efforts as a hunger ambassador, 120 gallons of milk were donated to the Salvation Army. She helped collect resources for 100 birthday bags for the local woman’s center. She served as the 4-H representative on the Illinois Farm Bureau Youth Education Committee and attended National 4-H Conference.
“Illinois 4-H is where I learned to be confident in myself and my ability as a leader.”
EDUCATION & CAREER: Anne plans to study agricultural leadership at Oklahoma State University and minor in international agriculture, with hopes to work in the agritourism sector for an international company.
Mercer County | Kimel 4-H Club
Sheridan advocates for the ag industry and recently met Illinois Liutenant Govenor Juliana Stratton in support of 4-H and FFA. She shows Angus and Shorthorn cattle at local, state, and national contests and competes in livestock judging contests. She has amassed 644 hours of community service and service-learning projects benefiting ag in the classrom, mobile food pantries, homeless outerwear collection, and the Mercer County Fairground project.
“I believe I have been given three unique opportunities through 4-H: starting my own catle business with 30 cows, earning a livestock judging college scholarship, learning public speaking skills that allow me to advocate for agriculture.”
EDUCATION & CAREER: Sheridan will judge livestock while attending Lake Land College, then transfer to Iowa State University studying ag business with an emphasis in ag taxation before attending law school She hopes to open a law office in western Illinois focus on rural agriculture.
Montgomery County | Starr Shooters 4-H Club, Youth Leadership Team, Teen Teachers, Hunger Ambassadors, 4-H Foundation
Erin initiated a weekend food program at her high school to combat food insecurity among her peers as part of her commitment from the 4-H Hunger Ambassador Summit. She completed Speaking for Illinois 4-H training and advocates for 4-H at Legislative Connection. A talented artist, she has organized teens to paint small murals on town buildings. She teaches visual arts and Korean orientation workshops.
“4-H has allowed me to learn through projects and has given me opportunities to use my leadership and communication skills. I have organized community service projects that make a difference in the lives of others.”
EDUCATION & CAREER: Erin will study agricultural communications through the Parkland-University of Illinois Pathway Program.
MADDI JO MAXWELL
Hamilton County | County Line Crew, Federation, Teen Teacher, Youth Leadership Team
Maddi Jo’s work as a 4-H Hunger Ambassador has improved the lives of peers in her community. She held a food drive at her high school and organized a “Birthday-In-A-Bag” program for her club. She’s becoming a frequent flyer in 4-H, participating in Citizenship Washington Focus and, soon, National 4-H Conference, both in Washington D.C. This summer, she’ll travel to Romania with States’ International 4-H Exchange.
“4-H means growth and exploration. 4-H has challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and explore every opportunity.”
EDUCATION & CAREER:: Maddi Jo will attend Rend Lake College, then complete her ag education degree at a 4-year university.
McLean County | Homespun and Stylistics 4-H Club, Shooting Sports, Federation, Speaking for Illinois 4-H
Reagan tutors children at risk for dropping out of school. She volunteers at the local hospital weeks and mentors a group of beginner sewers. She is co-superintendent of the county fashion revue and volunteers at a local food bank and historic garden site. She has attended National 4-H Congress, Legislative Connection, and Space Camp.
“With six older siblings who were in 4-H, I've been surrounded by 4-H my entire life. It's second nature to me; being a part of a club, helping out in my community, and serving others. 4-H is simply a way of life for me.”
EDUCATION & CAREER: Reagan plans to become a women’s heath nurse practitioner.
Wayne County | Enterprisers 4-H Club, Federation, Teen Teacher, 4-H Ambassador, 4-H Buddy
Zackary serves in many leadership roles in the county, including Teen Teachers, Ambassadors, and Federation. He is a 4-H Buddy in his club and has led poultry workshops as the junior poultry superintendent.
“4-H teaches is where I have made many friends. It has given me a positive image in the community. 4-H is a place to build leadership, friendships, and create memories that will last a life time.”
EDUCATION & CAREER: Zachary plans to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Will County | Independent member, Willing Wilton Workers, Federation, 4-H Ambassadors
Noah’s STEM projects include photography, video, computer science, and drones. He is active in citizenship and gives back to his community. His family hosted States’ International Exchange students two years.
“4-H is a community of people working together to make the best better. 4-H encourages us to never stop at ‘good enough.’ 4-H teaches us to accept that we sometimes fail, and it is from our failures that we often discover our greatest strengths.”
EDUCATION & CAREER: Noah will attend Universal Technical Institute to become an automotive technician.
Grundy County | Homes Cool Kids, Speaking for Illinois 4-H, Federation, 4-H Buddy, Teen Teachers
Nalia organizes and teaches workshops and camps, including a STEM camp for 150 youth. She competed in the state public speaking contest and attended National 4-H Congress, National 4-H Conference, Citizenship Washington Focus, and Legislative Connection.
“4-H has shown me that we can accomplish anything no matter how difficult or challenging and can make an impact that may change the world.”
EDUCATION & CAREER: Nalia is currently working on two pastry certificates and will transfer in the fall to study history, with a focus on historic preservation.