U of I Extension welcomes new 4-H staff member


OGLESBY - University of Illinois Extension has welcomed Katie Smith to the 4-H team. Smith was hired as the Extra Help- 4-H Extension Program Coordinator for Bureau, La Salle, Marshall, and Putnam counties.

While Smith is new to this position, she is not new to 4-H in the four-county area. She was an 11-year member of the Walnut Winner’s 4-H Club and an active member in the Bureau County 4-H Federation throughout high school. She understands firsthand how valuable 4-H experiences are to youth in rural areas; however, she also wants to provide opportunities that show 4-H is for everyone.

This is a new, pilot position for local 4-H programs. Smith was hired to help grow local Federation (teen leadership) clubs, recruit new Cloverbud (ages 5-7) members, help new members navigate the 4-H system, and provide support to leaders and clubs. She will work with the other 4-H team members and use strategic planning to fulfill these responsibilities alongside her own personal ideas stemming from her own 4-H experiences. With an ever-changing and growing 4-H program, Smith is needed as a resource and support to sustain established clubs and members.

On a personal note, Smith attended Sauk Valley Community College before transferring to Illinois State University where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in May 2021 in Agriculture Communications & Leadership and Animal Industry Management. In her free time, she enjoys shopping, doing yoga and making crafts.

Some of her favorite 4-H project areas include sewing, cooking and horticulture but after taking 15-20 projects to the fair each year, she has experienced a little bit of everything. Smith looks forward to meeting all the clubs and sharing activities to help members be more prepared for the fair.

For more information about 4-H in your county, visit https://extension.illinois.edu/blmp to find your local University of Illinois Extension office.