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Top Ten Tricks & Tips to Keep Record Books from Stressing You Out

Each year we encourage our youth to be thinking about and work on record keeping throughout the year. Yet there are many who ignore the hints and wait until the very last minute to complete their record books. It is important to understand that, your 4-H project will be more fun and less frustrating if you spend some time each month working on record keeping as opposed to stressing out and rushing to complete them at the last minute.

Here are the top ten tricks and tips to keep record books from stressing you out:

  1. Do NOT procrastinate! The record book deadline is not a moving target. Record books are meant to be completed over the length of your project. Working on your record book throughout the year is far less stressful than rushing at the last minute. In addition, you will get more out of the 4-H experience.
  2. Focus on what you are good at and don not dwell on what you did not enjoy. Everyone has something they enjoy doing. If you participate in those types of programs then you can display what you learned and the fun you had doing it in you record book.
  3. Consider a peer tutor. There are many 4-H members who excel at record books, chances are one is in your 4-H club.
  4. Have your record book reviewed. You record book should be reviewed BEFORE you submit it. Ask your 4-H leader, 4-H agent, or English teacher. It is important to catch your mistakes beforehand.
  5. Attend a Record Book Clinic. By attending one of the Record Book Clinics, offered through the 4-H office, you will learn exactly what is expected and what the judges are looking for.
  6. Record Books = $$$$. Who knew keeping good records since you were eight years old could be your source of income for college! The information recorded each year is used for your 4-H Senior Portfolio which is submitted to the State 4-H Office for scholarships. The greater the participation the greater your chance for winning one. Not to mention you can win record book awards and money at the 4-H banquet.
  7. Parents: Be a guider not a doer. Record books are your child’s responsibility NOT yours. This does not mean leave your eight year old to fend for themselves. You may guide them, but the 4-H member must complete the work. This includes all of the writing! Remember, if you are doing it what life skill are you teaching them?
  8. Set Goals. All project records include a space for members to set one or more goals. This could also include what they would like to learn this year.
  9. Technology is on your side. There are apps out there to help you with your record books! Smart phones allow us to take as many pictures as we want throughout the year.
  10. Understand the true relevance of record books. Record books are NOT a form of punishment set forth by the 4-H leaders or 4-H agent. Completing records and bookkeeping are a truly valid life skill. As adults, we use the skills you are learning daily, get good at it now in order to succeed later on in life.

Records are a part a life. When you are an adult you’ll have records related to money, insurance, taxes, and property. Record books are an important way to keep track of your 4-H experiences. Project pictures and stories are a fun way to capture your experiences. While the content of your record book allows you to track your skill development and learning experiences. 4-H projects measure your achievements and growth cumulatively throughout the years. This information can then be used to help you fill out scholarship applications, college applications, and resumes. Filling out 4-H record books is an important part of life and are useful well beyond your time as a 4-H member.

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