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Summary Record Instructions


4-H records are an important written summary of what you have learned and the skills that you have gained within your 4-H work as well as other parts of your life. Over a period of years your records will show how you have grown. The information on your 4-H records will be useful as you fill out other forms in your life such as resumes, job applications and college applications.

Your records must be bound in a folder. 4-H Record Book folders are available in the "Sourcebook" published by National 4-H Council. You may wish to use tabs/dividers to separate the sections. Your record book must contain the following sections in the order listed:

  1. 4-H Summary Record
  2. 4-H Story
  3. 4-H Project Record(s); minimum of 1, maximum of 5
  4. Support materials (optional)

The 4-H Summary Record is cumulative: add on to the same Summary Record form each year so that all of your 4-H years are included on this one form. The Project Record forms are for one year only. Each year you must complete a new Project Record for each 4-H project, even if you have the same project from year to year. You must write a new 4-H Story each year and update the support materials (photographs, news clippings, etc.). Only the current year's project records are turned in as part of your record book to the county office. You may want to keep your previous years' project records for future reference.

It is best to do your records on the computer. This way, it is easy to make changes and corrections and to save your work. If this is not possible, the forms must be printed neatly in ink.

Accuracy is important! All signatures must be included! Check spelling, punctuation and grammar. Do not use slang language. Be concise on the Summary and Project Record forms: use brief statements with as few words as possible. All information on the Summary Record should be listed in chronological order.

Do not duplicate information! Record each event or activity under one section only. For example, do not list a Visual Presentation in Section E and then list it as a 4-H Activity in Section F.

A. 4-H Projects

A 4-H project is an area of interest that the member spends a significant amount of time and effort on during that year. For example, if a member bakes for the holidays during the year and helps to set the table and clean up after dinner twice a week throughout the year, this does not constitute a Foods project. A project requires that members set goals relating to new things they want to learn and new skills that they want to gain during the club year. They must work in a deliberate manner and spend a significant amount of time to meet these goals. On the Project Record the member must demonstrate that he or she has taken part in learning experiences related to this project and document the skills learned. Every project that you submit a record for must be connected in some way to 4-H.

4-H members must choose one to five projects each year and focus on the development of these projects. If five projects are chosen, these five must include community service and leadership. In other words, this is a maximum of three projects of your choice plus community service and leadership. The focus of 4-H records should be on quality and not quantity.

All work on 4-H records is to be done by the member. Of course, the member may receive assistance and encouragement from others.

4-H Year Comm. Service Project Leadership Project Project(fill in name) Project(fill in name) Project(fill in name)
2013-2014     Rabbit Photography  
2014-2015 Community Service   Rabbit Foods and Nutrition  
2015-2016 Community Service Leadership Rabbit Rocketry  

B. Community Service

Community Service is an important part of your 4-H experience. Every 4-H member is expected to do community service.  Be sure to include all community service that you do both as part of 4-H and with other organizations. Community service activities must benefit people who are not related to you. If you receive any sort of compensation for this activity it becomes a job and not a service activity. Compensation includes money, services or favors such as reduction in board or other fees. It is important to be very specific about activities and results; use numbers wherever possible. Community Service activities should show increasing complexity and growth over the years.  Be sure to keep track of the number of hours you spend on each service project.

4-H Year Describe Activity/be specific Who I Helped/# of people helped/Results 4-H/
# of Hours
2013-2014 Sang Christmas Carols 15 elderly people in nursing home United Church 1 hour
2014-2015 Collected and donated cans of food 3 different times People using the food pantry in my town My 4-H club 7 hours
2014-2015 Member of Relay for Life team - collect pledges and walker Raised $125 for cancer research American Cancer Society 8 hours
2015-2016 Organized local river bank cleanup 6 members and 6 adults worked 4 hours to clean and improve environment 4-H club 6 hours
2015-2016 Coordinated food drive for my 4-H club with 11 members Everytown food pantry received 340 pounds of food 4-H club 22 hours

* In all examples given, italics text are examples suitable for experienced members

C. Leadership

4-H members are expected to develop and practice leadership skills. You should grow in this area by taking on more complicated leadership roles each year. As you grow you should be taking on more responsibilities such as running your club, becoming a junior leader or taking on leadership roles at the county and state levels in 4-H. Extend your leadership skills to other organizations and groups outside of 4-H.

When writing about your leadership experiences, be very specific. It is not enough to say that you are president of your 4-H club. You must say what you did as the president; for example, ran 6 club business meetings, set up a telephone chain, met with leader 3 times to set up yearly program for the club, etc. Use numbers whenever possible.

In addition, evaluate each activity carefully to determine if it belongs in the leadership section. For example, serving on a committee is not always a leadership experience. Being in a leadership role on a committee would be listed in this section. This would mean that you were in charge of organizing the committee and insuring that the committee worked to accomplish its task. You need to be specific about what you did that enabled the committee to carry out its function.

4-H Year Leadership role Responsibility and What you Did - be very specific # Hours spent 4-H/
2013-2014 Chairperson of Refreshment
Committee for my 4-H club
Set up refreshment schedule, called 2 members before each meeting to ask them to bring refreshments 5 4-H club
2014-2015 Secretary of Photography Club Kept minutes of 4 meetings of this club at my school 8 Kennedy School
2014-2015 Chairperson of Freshman Banquet Chaired 3 committee meetings, coordinated purchase of all committee decorations, supervised the decorating committee, set up budget for banquet 17 Amherst H. S.
2015-2016 Served as club president and conducted business meetings Learned Robert's Rules of Order in order to be able to conduct a good business meeting and presided over 6 meetings of an 8-member club 19 4-H Teen Club: County level
2015-2016 Served as 4-H Ambassador Attended 2-day training session to learn to be an ambassador; spoke to 2 community groups about 4-H and wrote and distributed 3 press releases about 4-H events 26 4-H: State level

D. Communication Skills

Identify all types of oral presentations that you have given which can include club demonstrations, 4-H Visual Presentations, radio presentations, T.V. appearances (including local cable T.V.), video-taped productions or others. Also include other written communications such as news articles, press releases, or newsletters that you have written and promotional items such as posters and flyers that you have developed and produced.

4-H Year Type of Presentation # of Times Given

Audience -
who and how many

2013-2014 Visual Presentation titled "Child Care" 2

For my club (12 people) and at County Visual Presentation Day (27 people)

4-H; club & county levels
2013-2014 Report on child care 1 22 classmates ad 1 teacher English class at Oakdale School
2014-2015 Visual Presentation titled "A, B, C's of Rabbit Care" 2 For my club (14) and at County Visual Presentation Day (26) 4-H; club and county levels
2014-2015 Cable T.V. show about local government A series of 3 30-minute shows cable TV audience Primetime Cablevision
2015-2016 30-minute presentation to PTO group Once 25 parents Horace Mann PTO
2015-2016 Submitted a press release on our local club awards banquet Once Submitted it to the weekly paper Community News and the Daily Oakdale News 4-H
2015-2016 Visual Presentation titled "Feast or Famine" 3 Once for my club (11), once at County Visuals (27) and once at State Visuals (35) 4-H; club, county, state levels

E. Youth Development - Events and Activities

Identify activities that you participated in; be specific about important skills that you have developed as a result. These may be life skills such as communicating, decision making, coping, managing resources or learning more about yourself and others. You may also include job related skills such as learning to do spreadsheets on the computer, how to ring up a sale on the cash register, work as a member of a team, etc.  Activities may include fairs, contests, field trips, 4-H camp, lessons, employment, athletics and school related activities.

4-H Year Activity or event & total hours What you learned and Skills Gained 4-H/
2013-2014 Participated in 3 county horse judging clinics - 7 hours Learned how to explain why I selected a specific horse by doing oral reasons 4-H; county level
2014-2015 Member of Franklin Kickers Soccer team - 28 hours of practices and games Improved my soccer skills and learned the importance of teamwork Franklin Youth Soccer
2014-2015 Worked at a women's clothing store at mall - one night a week (5 hours), average 15 hours a week in the summer Learned how to take inventory, customer service skills, how to ring up a sale and how to dress appropriately for work Fashion Corner in Riverdale Mall
2015-2016 Exhibited 5 clothing articles, 4 food items, 9 craft items, and 7 photographs at the County 4-H Fair Learned a new way to finish the seams on my dress, learned how to prepare photographs for exhibiting Hampshire  County  4-H Fair
2015-2016 Exnibited  my 4 sheep at 3 4-H fairs I learned that I am very patient in the show ring with my animals even when things do not go as I planned Barnstable, Norfolk and Worcester County 4-H Fairs

F. Awards/Achievement

List personal recognition and/or awards that you have received. You may include awards received through 4-H, school, church and other organizations.  Summarize where possible.

4-H Year Award Received Achievement/Reason You Received Award
2013-2014 2 blue ribbons, 3 red ribbons, 1 white & 1 special rosette Crafts, foods and photography ribbons at the Hampden County 4-H Fair
2014-2015 1st prize Our Geography Bee team won first place at the Smithfield School spelling bee
2015-2016 County 4-H Medal; rabbit project County medal based on my 4-H rabbit project record
2015-2016 Inducted as a member of the National Honor Society For meeting qualifications and being accepted based on application, references and an interview

G. 4-H Story

This is a written narrative about how 4-H has made an impact on your life or the lives of your family or others. You should not list various events that you have participated in throughout the year that can be read on the record forms. Instead, you need to focus on impact. How has 4-H made a difference in your life? Is there something that happened as part of your 4-H experiences that was very significant to you?

This is one of the important parts of your record! It is a chance to really "tell your story" and be creative! Make sure that you write in complete sentences and that your grammar and spelling are correct.

Each year you must write a new story. As you get older, the stories should become more involved. At age 9, one or two paragraphs is appropriate. By age 15, your story should be 3 to 4 pages in length. Maximum acceptable length is 5 pages (typed, double spaced).

H. Project Records

You must include a project record for each project that you have listed in section A of the current year.

You must include at least one goal for each project. New goals must be written at the beginning of each 4-H year even if you carry the same project(s). Select goals that will challenge you and help you to grow over a number of years. Not having met your goals for a particular year is acceptable; give reasons why this is the case. See "4-H Project Record Instructions" for additional details.

On the knowledge and skills section of each record what you learn must be listed in bullet statements as shown in the examples. A bullet statement is a brief statement which includes the most important facts.

I. Support Materials

It is recommended that you include up to 5 pages of support materials. The purpose of including these materials is to help give a complete picture of your experiences. Include a variety of items and pictures: for example, don't include 2 pages of photographs of your pet! Photographs should show you involved in different activities. Do not write on the photographs!

In additions to photographs, you may include news clippings and letters of commendation or recommendation. Do not include ribbons, certificates, programs or flyers, ticket stubs or other memorabilia. Fasten items securely to one side only of each sheet. Do not overlap items. You will probably have more than you can use; choose carefully. Use captions to explain the significance of the photographs and other items that you have included.