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View from the Cab: Appreciating 4-H

Projects displayed at last week's McLean County Fair in Bloomington / CIFN photo.

Visiting fairs such as the ones in McLean and Livingston counties makes one really appreciate 4-H and all that the program has to offer.

I was really impressed with all of the talented projects when strolling through Cloverleaf Hall in McLean County last week. There’s a reason the McLean County Fair is called the world’s largest 4-H fair! This place is really busy on the fair’s opening day as projects are being judged and anxious parents wonder the aisles.

The fine folks at University of Illinois Extension supplied me with several 4-H talking points while emceeing the Ag Olympics last month at the Livingston County Ag Fair in Pontiac and I would like to share some of those points with you.

Illinois 4-H is part of a University of Illinois Extension program which is offered through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute on Food and Agriculture (NIFA). 4-H is the main youth development program through U of I Extension and is administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Plenty of learning opportunities are created for youth who benefit from access to people, research and resources at the U of I along with the nationwide network of land-grant universities and colleges. Illinois 4-H, which is the largest out-of-school youth organization in the state, challenges youth to learn by doing through hands-on activities that teach living skills.

Every county in Illinois has 4-H youth development programs provided by U of I Extension and nearly 200,000 youth affiliations were formed through Illinois 4-H programs and clubs during 2017. Why does 4-H matter? Youth learn plenty of skills while doing projects such as rocketry, art, computer science, GPS mapping, public speaking, drones, animal science, photography and community service.

Hopefully you now have a much clearer picture of ways 4-H benefits our youth. We are lucky to have these county fairs every summer to showcase what the young people have been working on.

(The View from the Cab blog is powered each week by Petersen Motors in Fairbury)

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