I want to start by saying that record books were probably my least favorite part of being in 4-H! And I know my daughters did not enjoy doing them either. HOWEVER, I truly believe in the importance of record books.
As many seniors know, scholarship applications frequently ask applicants to list their: Activities, Awards/Achievements, Leadership, and Community Service. We live in a society where accurate and organized records are a necessity. Many jobs involve reporting what we’ve done. If youth learn to keep accurate records, it will help youth later on with managing money, a checkbook, or a business. Record books will also help youth think through goals and how much you have accomplished. Completing record books prepare youth for scholarship and job applications and help youth develop skills for life.
Reflecting on your year of learning is a huge part of being a 4-H member, and summer will (hopefully) provide time for you to think about all of the great 4-H activities and achievements you have done over the last year.
Make sure you keep track of what you’ve done either on the calendar or in a notebook so when it comes time to do that record book, you are halfway there! Each county has a different format for record books, but most have some similarities.
What Should I Put in My Record Book?
- General information
- My 4-H Story
- Financial Records
- Project records – goals and what you learned
Be sure you have all the required records for your project.
What Should I Leave Out of My Record Book?
- Last year’s records. (Except when you are graduating out of 4-H and want to apply for the “Achievement Award.” All of your records are judged on this award).
- Ribbons, letters, certificates, program booklets, score sheets, do NOT belong — keep these for a scrapbook.
What Makes a Good Record Book?
- Neatness — Use a computer or write with the same color ink; print if you can.
- Completeness — Anyone reading your record book should be able to tell exactly what you did in your project work and what you learned. Don’t leave us guessing because you didn’t explain well enough. Essay form (complete sentences and paragraphs) is fine. You may also use an outline form. If there is a question on your record sheets that you can’t answer, write “does not apply.”
- Accuracy — It is important that the work and learning you report was actually done by you.
What Can I do to Make My Record Book a Little More Special?
- Newspaper clippings (be sure the story is about you and your project/activity). Underline your name and your club’s name.
- Photographs — pictures that show you working on a project or that help to explain what you have done, are fine. Remember: The pictures must be part of your project work — a record book is not a photo album.
Get started on those record books to help tell your 4-H story!