4-H Youth Life Blueprint

Clinton County 4-H members who recently attended the 4-H Teen Leadership Conference included (l to r) Allison Elias, Katelyn Elias, Abby Wegmann, Shelby Claypool and Amber Blackmon.

Inspiration from the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. guided Illinois 4-H members at the Teen Leadership Conference held January 13-14 at the Decatur Conference Center. Nearly 100 teens across Illinois attended the conference and improved their community advocacy, college readiness, communication, and personal development skills. Clinton County 4-H members attending included Allison and Katelyn Elias, Abby Wegmann, Shelby Claypool and Amber Blackmon.

“In 4-H, we know that leadership is not about a title or a designation,” said Lisa Diaz, University of Illinois Extension assistant dean and 4-H director. “It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration.”

Diaz shared the words of King’s speech, Life’s Blueprint: “Number one in your life’s blueprint should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth, and your own ‘somebodiness.’”

Joely Craver (left) and Shelby Claypool (right) enjoyed the evening activities during the Teen Leadership Conference. Joely is a Bond County 4-H member who competes with the Clinton County 4-H Horse Teams. Shelby is a member of the Centralia Wild Eagles 4-H Club in Clinton County.

Brittney Robbins, founder and CEO of The Gray Matter Experience which provides entrepreneurial tools and resources to black high school students in Chicago, said that what youth post online builds their personal brand. “Your digital content should directly reflect where you stand on issues.”

Susie Risser, freelance communication specialist from Sangamon County, challenged youth to choose words and actions carefully when speaking in public. “A lie told often enough will become the truth to the audience,” Risser said.

Five 4-H teens planned the conference. They were Kaleb Hemrich of Noble, Kaylee Leach of East Peoria, Maddi Jo Maxwell of Macedonia, Russell Moore III of Springfield, and Kaley Rouse of Toulon.

For more local Illinois Extension information, follow us on Facebook @bcjmwu23 or @clintonIL4h.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, contact the Extension office at (618) 526-4551.

SOURCEPhotos courtesy of Clinton County 4-H
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