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Record Keeping

Record keeping is an important life skill and all 4-H members are encouraged to keep written records of their 4-H club year. These records are turned in to the local 4-H office by October 1st of each year and each record is evaluated. Each member receives constructive feedback to help improve record keeping skills and may receive a ribbon, county medal or other award for effort and achievement. For additional information, see Frequently Asked Questions About Records.

Cloverbud Members ages 5-7:

Cloverbud members submit one Cloverbud Record each year. The record is for the current year only and Cloverbuds do not submit the formal Record Summary (see below). FAQs are available for the Cloverbud Records.

All Other Members ages 8-18:

Each year those ages 8-18 are encouraged to submit a complete record packet which includes a 4-H Summary Record that gives details about their activities for all of the years they have been enrolled in 4-H (it is a cumulative record of all their years in 4-H). In addition, they submit from one to five Project Records; these include information from the current year only. It is recommended that each member submit a Leadership and Community Service Record (where appropriate) and up to three Project Records of their choice. A 4-H story is also required and up to 5 pages of support materials may be included with the record.  In order to be a complete packet a 4-H Summary Record, at least one Project Record and a 4-H story must be included. Members may submit a portfolio in place of a project record. Review documentation below for guidelines.

For help on completing the Project and Summary Record forms:

Record packets are due in your local 4-H office Oct.1.

Members ages 15 and older:

We encourage older members to summarize the information from their records into a resume format. Go to the Resume Guidelines section (part of the Communications section) for details. Resume packets are judged at the state level to select the Massachusetts delegates to National 4-H Congress and National 4-H Conference. There are additional items required to apply for these national events; go to Teen Leadership for complete instructions on how to apply.

What are 4-H records?

A 4-H record is an organized, written account of the progress, personal growth and accomplishments of the member, gained through participation in 4-H as well as other programs and activities. The process of record keeping teaches youth valuable skills in goal setting, planning and organizing, critical thinking, record keeping and other life and work skill areas. All youth are encouraged to keep records in 4-H.

Why is it important to keep records?

  • to keep track of dates and important information.
  • to recall events, experiences and activities.
  • to compare progress and growth from year to year.
  • to document and show what has been achieved.
  • to provide assistance in managing resources, such as money and time.
  • for use in selecting members to receive recognition for their accomplishments.
  • as an important resource for future use such as college or job applications and resumes.

How can the 4-H member keep track of valuable information for his or her records?

Each member is encouraged to keep track of valuable information throughout the year in a way that is simple for him or her to do. This valuable information includes the member's participation in:

  • 4-H club activities.
  • 4-H county, state and national activities.
  • community service activities and leadership activities.
  • programs and activities that he or she is involved in outside of 4-H.

Some members keep a calendar during the year and write down important information directly on the calendar. Other members keep a 4-H notebook and record their information there. Another method is to jot down information on scrap paper or index cards and drop into a shoebox or card file designated for this. It is important for each member to determine a way to keep track of this information. Otherwise, at the end of the year the member will not be able to remember all of his or her activities to include on the record forms.

How can we encourage 4-H members to keep records?

Convincing members that 4-H records are valuable and motivating them to keep records can be a challenge! We hope that parents will work with group leaders to encourage youth to keep 4-H records so that they may develop those valuable record keeping skills. Here are some suggestions to motivate youth:

  • explain to all new members and parents what is expected in record keeping.
  • discuss the reasons to keep records.
  • show them examples of records done by other 4-H members.
  • remind them periodically about record keeping; you may wish to set aside time at club meetings (leaders) or at home (parents) to work on records.
  • record keeping is easier for some youth than others; recognize all youth who make progress, even though their record books may not be the best ones.
  • parents, leaders and members are encouraged to attend 4-H record keeping workshops offered by UMass Extension.
  • be enthusiastic – believe in records yourself!

What do we do with the complete record packet?

Completed record packets are due in the local 4-H offices October 1st. If October 1st falls on a Saturday or Sunday, they are due on the following Monday. Records are judged by 4-H staff and/or volunteers. All members receive valuable feedback for improvement. County medals are awarded by each county or region based on the results of the 4-H record judging process.