Tara was born and raised in Cuba, Illinois. She grew up on a farm, which is where her love of the out of doors began. While attending college at Western Illinois University, Tara was introduced to the impact of organized youth camping experiences and so began her journey into youth development. Wanting to combine her passion for working with youth and her love of the outdoors, she decided to further her education and pursue an advanced degree in Curriculum and Instruction. After completing her Masters from Northern Illinois University Tara joined Camp Fire, a national non-profit organization, where she worked in the youth and volunteer development field for thirteen years. A major part of her professional career has been dedicated to both staff and volunteer development, with the purpose of engaging youth. Tara joined the Johnson County Extension team as the 4-H/Youth Development agent in 2013.