LEE COUNTY — Illinois 4-H volunteers empower and prepare youth for success as the program relies on its more than 15,000 volunteers to fill key leadership and mentoring roles. Longtime volunteers were honored by the Illinois 4-H Foundation for their selfless dedication to the University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development program.
“These volunteers are a model of 4-H values,” says Angie Barnard, Illinois 4-H Foundation executive director.
Illinois 4-H programs reach nearly 120,000 youth each year through 4-H clubs, camps, educational programs, workshops, and conferences held in communities, schools, parks, and homes across Illinois. Volunteers fill key leadership and mentoring roles throughout the state. “Many volunteers have a tradition of 4-H in their family or were 4-H members themselves,” Barnard says.
Local volunteers inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame were Darci Francque, Carroll County; Christine Klein, Lee County; and Nancy Dykstra, Whiteside County.
Darci Francque from Carroll County has been instrumental in creating experiential learning opportunities for the Lanark Lightning Bugs, has been an active member of the Carroll County 4-H Horse Committee and a volunteer with the Boots ‘N Spurs 4-H Club. Darci was a 4-H member herself in the Lanark Larkers 4-H club. She is always willing to lend a hand and help with anything and everything. Carroll County is thankful for all that she does!
Chris Klein has been an avid 4-H supporter in Lee County throughout her life. In 2002, Chris and her husband started the Maytown Comets 4-H Club. In the 18 years she served as a leader, she guided her 4-H members to do the best they can and learn new projects and leadership skills. Her role modeling led her five children and many nieces and nephews to be active 4-H members. She also has volunteered her time as fair superintendent and committee members in poultry and cat departments. Her dedication to the 4-H program has not gone unnoticed and has left a mark on countless 4-H families lives.
Nancy Dykstra was an 8-year member of the Cottonwood 4-H club of Morrison, IL. in her youth. Years later, she became the leader of the very same club. She was a very hard-working leader for 10 years. Nancy led the club members to meet requirements and contributed to several services in the community. She was well known for encouraging the club members to be involved in everything they possibly could because “It will look good on your award forms!” She not only had 2 children enrolled in 4-H, but she treated all members as her own.