Kendall County 4-H volunteer in running for national award

University of Illinois Extension

Tina Heidrich, center, is the 12-state nominee for the national 4-H Salute to Excellence Volunteer of the Year Award. The Oswego resident is pictured with her sons, Julian, left, and Ethan, who were active 4-H members in Kendall County. (Photo courtesy of Illinois 4-H)

An Illinois 4-H volunteer is in the running for the national 4-H Salute to Excellence volunteer of the year. Christina (Tina) Heidrich advances to national consideration after winning the 12-state North Central region nomination.

The Oswego volunteer provides leadership for the Kendall County teen science ambassadors, teen federation, and Cloverbud club. She also guides direction for the overall University of Illinois Extension program, serving on the Extension Council, Foundation, and Expansion and Review Committee.

“Tina provides a fresh perspective to the 4-H program,” said Patricia McGlaughlin, Illinois Extension 4-H volunteer specialist. “She brings new partners and ideas to the table that is both engaging and educational.”

Heidrich has a vast network she leverages to connect the right people, McGlaughlin says. Her connection with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission allowed 4-H to leverage state-supported programming to build college and career readiness for youth, particularly for youth in homeschool communities. She brings 4-H into her job as a local museum coordinator so that more people know about the youth development program.

“The program is very positive, not only for the youth involved, but also for the leaders,” Heidrich said. “We all get something unique from it, and I think we all grow, no matter what our age.”

Extension Youth Educator Donna Nuger said, “Tina’s best talent as a 4-H leader is that she is great at engaging youth in activities, knowing when to step back to let the members do it on their own.”

Heidrich and fellow club leader Sarah Stewart started the Barn and Beyond 4-H Club in 2007. “It is people like Tina that inspire greatness in all of us,” Stewart said. “I am inspired to do a better job of leading our group because of the contagious passion she exhibits in her leadership of the group.”