The Illinois 4-H Foundation presented 71 individuals, all longtime volunteers or former staff members, with the Foundation Hall of Fame Award, for their selfless dedication to the University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development program, during a virtual ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 17.
Locally, Clem and Doris Huber were inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame for Montgomery County. The couple’s mutual love for 4-H goes back to their childhoods when they were both ten-year members of the Nokomis Faithful Workers 4-H Club, where they met.
Later in life, they married and took on the role of leading the Nokomis Faithful Workers 4-H Club together. Both of their children were 4-H members throughout their childhoods and their grandchildren are members of their local 4-H organization.
The Nokomis Faithful Workers Club was very active during the Hubers’ years of leadership. The club was heavily awarded and Mr. and Mrs. Huber took great pride in their members’ accomplishments, whether it was winning local awards or going to 4-H Congress.
Their club members were greatly involved in community service projects as well, including helping to take care of the Fairgrounds in Butler and working the food stand during 4-H events.
They both valued the skills that young people gain in the 4-H program, and their dedication and service to the organization helped their former members develop skills, discover career opportunities and become contributors in their communities and beyond.
“We started with 12 members and by the time we left it had grown to 35 kids. Watching the kids grow was worth all the time we volunteered to help build the 4-H program locally,” said Doris. “I can’t say enough good things about 4-H, it just instills so many great values into children. They learn leadership, responsibility, how to take initiative, to be active members of their communities and public speaking skills. To this day, I can spot a 4-H member by how they handle themselves in front of a crowd.”
The couple also readily volunteered their time to help judge 4-H records and prepare kids to go on to compete at the state level. After retiring as 4-H leaders, they continue to support the 4-H program financially and in advisory roles. Mr. Huber was on the 4-H Foundation Board and served as president.
“These volunteers are a model of 4-H values,” said Angie Barnard, Illinois 4-H Foundation executive director. “All of our volunteers are valuable, but this award honors those that go above and beyond. These are volunteers that helped shape not only individuals, but generations of 4-H members. The Illinois 4-H Foundation is extremely proud to be able to provide this honor to thank them for their service to this wonderful organization.
The Illinois 4-H Foundation established the statewide Hall of Fame in 2005 to honor and celebrate extraordinary 4-H alumni, volunteers, and former 4-H staff. Those inducted have a track record of exemplary service to 4-H or outstanding career and community achievement and were nominated by either county University of Illinois Extension staff or by the Illinois 4-H Foundation Board. Each inductee receives a commemorative Hall of Fame medallion.
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. The program relies on its more than 15,000 volunteers to 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,” said Barnard. “More and more, though, adults brand new to the 4-H experience are seeing the value of the life skills development program and volunteering for the first time. 4-H has volunteer opportunities that fit such a wide variety of time, skills, and talents.”
Those interested in becoming a volunteer may request information from the Montgomery County Extension Office at 217-532-3941.
“There is a place for everyone in 4-H, whether you have an hour or a lifetime to give,” Barnard stated.