What it's all about

What is a 4-H Record Book/Portfolio? Creating a Record Book/ Portfolio is the process of setting down, in book form, all of the information about a 4-H'er and the work done on projects. It tells when and why the 4-H'er got started in the program and describes what they have done in 4-H. This includes a record of resources, money and time spent, progress toward completion of the project, and activities performed while working on the project. It allows the 4-H'er to learn valuable record keeping skills while demonstrating to others their abilities in becoming responsible and useful citizens. All forms needed to complete the Record Book are available from the 4-H Office.

What are 4-H Records? There are three components:

  1. Project records - All 4-H projects have a project record separate from the project manual. 4-H members fill out a project record for each project they complete. The definition of a completed project is a project that has been signed off by the registered adult in the project or an extension staff member if the registered leader is unavailable to sign off the project record.
  2. 4-H Annual Achievement Record- This is a cumulative summary of work done in all projects throughout the 4-H member's 4-H career, and updated annually. Some members choose to submit a new form each year, but a cumulative record that is added to each year is acceptable as well.
  3. 4-H Star Rank Award Application - For Star Rank, 4-H'ers accumulate “points” for work completed each year. Points lead to earning "Stars" in the Star Rank Program. Members complete Star Rank Application when they have accumulated enough points to earn a star.

What Goes in A 4-H Record Book?

  1. Acco-type binder
  2. Individual photo of 4-H'er3. Your 4-H Story
  3. Project or activity photos
  4. Annual Achievement Record
  5. Current year's project or activity record sheets, including advancement levels
  6. Dividers with tabs
  7. The 4-H Star Rank Award Application, to be submitted at the same time as the book (if 4-H'er wishes to participate in the Star Rank Program) placed in a business envelope and taped to the inside front cover of the Record Book.

Why Keep 4-H Records?

Record keeping is a skill that is needed throughout life. It is one of the many life skills taught in the 4-H program. No matter what career 4-H members enter, record keeping "know how" is clearly needed and used throughout their life.

Record keeping provides a tool for members to see how they have participated and grown in 4-H activities, how they have improved their project work and how they have helped improve their communities for others.

Keeping records can help members establish goals, assume responsibility and evaluate their progress. In addition, records can lead to awards, trips and scholarships within the 4-H program; as well as future employment.

How are records judged?

  1. All 4-H members' Record Books/portfolios are reviewed by a trained committee and given a ribbon.
  2. All 4-H members' Star Rank forms are reviewed by 4-H staff and stars are awarded when requirements are met.
  3. All 4-H members’ Record Books/portfolios are judged by qualified judges who select the most outstanding books for awards.

What is the County Awards Program?

It is the way outstanding 4-H members are recognized for their personal achievements.

Up to four Seniors, Intermediates and Juniors are selected as County winners in each project area. In addition, a champion and reserve champion Record Book will be selected in the four major project areas per each age division.

Some additional awards are given outside the individual project areas, such Leadership, Citizenship, and Achievement. These awards are based on the information in the 4-H Record Book. Some of these awards require that special records be included in the book.

Star Rank Awards are pins given to all members who meet the various Star Rank requirements listed on the 4-H Star Rank Award Application.

Notes on Records:

The Washoe County 4-H Office has examples of records including: Project Records, 4-H Annual Achievement Record, 4-H Star Rank Award Application.

Records must be accurate, complete and well organized. The Record Book/portfolio is one method of telling others about the 4-H'er. The pride and interest taken in putting the Record Book/portfolio together is reflected in the book and gives an immediate impression of the 4-H'er.

Awards are recognition for achievement. Record Books may be the only information the judges have to rate achievement. Therefore, make your 4-H Record Books as complete as possible.
The accepted standard for submitting records is that they are accurate, neat, and legible. No special consideration will be given to computer-generated forms.

What do you do with 4-H memorabilia?

A 4-H Memory Book/ Scrapbook is where 4-H'ers keep souvenir material such as past records, club stories, pictures, news clippings, mementos, ribbons, certificates, medals, letters, programs, etc. It does not need to be turned in as part of the records, and is more of a personal collection related to your time in 4-H.

To learn more about putting your 4-H record book/portfolio together, use the link below to download the complete PDF version.

Washoe County 4-H Awards Records Committee (A subcommittee of the Washoe County 4-H Leaders Council) 2021, Guidelines for keeping 4-H records books, Extension, University of Nevada, Reno, Washoe County Forms

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