A local teen promoted the value of the 4-H program as part of Illinois’ delegation to the Illinois Capitol as part of Illinois 4-H’s Legislative Connection. Jackie Beck of Shelbyville was one of 29 4-H members statewide who met with state legislators March 25 and 26 to show the impact of University of Illinois Extension 4-H on the lives of Illinois families.
Citizenship is one of Illinois 4-H’s primary mandates; and 29 Illinois 4-H members put that mandate in action as they met one-on-one with state senators and representatives March 25 and 26 in Springfield.
The youth were uniquely trained for their experience by participating in the Speaking for Illinois 4-H program which teaches youth good communication and public speaking skills, as well as important facts about the University of Illinois Extension 4-H program.
“I don’t know a better way to teach citizenship and leadership than by involving 4-H members in one-on-one discussions with their state elected officials,” said Deb Stocker, U of I Extension 4-H youth development specialist. “Youth made their own appointments or met legislators between committee meetings.”
The youth told personal stories of growth, accomplishment and skills learned through their 4-H experiences, Stocker said. The youth were accompanied by three members of Extension Partners, a grassroots organization focused on the advancement of U of I Extension, as well as Extension staff and volunteers.
4-H information was delivered to all 178 offices of the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate. In addition, the 4-H team met individually with 37 senators and 63 representatives. Director of Agriculture Bob Flider and Secretary of State Jessie White also invited the youth for personal visits.
The 4-H spokesmen were introduced in the Illinois House by Rep. Don Moffitt of the 74th District and in Illinois Senate by Sen. John Sullivan of the 47th District.