Judging teams are a part of the 4-H curriculum that helps to build life skills. Arising as part of the early 4-H club work, judging teams were noted to have begun prior to 1921. In fact, 4-H Clubs were originally called corn clubs, because youth were taught how to grow a better crop of corn and in turn, would bring their corn into town to be judged.
In Florida, participants may currently compete on a multitude of different judging teams and events. These include: consumer choices, agriculture, livestock, poultry, dairy goat, dairy quiz bowl, meat, forest ecology, horse, hippology, land, marine ecology, and horticulture judging. While most of these categories focus on different agricultural aspects, the steps used in evaluation are all very similar. In Escambia County, youth can participate in agriculture, livestock, poultry, meat, horse, consumer, dairy quiz bowl, and horticulture judging teams among others. Participants develop a variety of life skills while studying for and participating as members of judging teams.
4-H judging teams provide a safe, positive environment for individuals to learn and develop life skills. Judging teams emphasize experiential activities, organization, allowing youth to take part in leadership activities, and providing opportunities for volunteers to act as mentors to youths.
Benefits of 4-H judging teams
- Build self confidence and problem solving skills
- Communication and public speaking opportunities
- Meet new friends
- Travel the state and country
- Receive a scholarship for college
- Learn observational and critical thinking skills
- Find a new career
- Selecting an animal for a 4-H project
Participating on 4-H judging teams offer many benefits to participants. Team members are exposed to team work, effective communication skills and analytical thinking. Team members also build self-confidence as they become comfortable with all components of judging and evaluation. Development of these skills benefits every area of the 4-H judging team members life. An additional benefit from participating on a judging team is having the opportunity to travel to new places and meet and interact with industry leaders. Many times these relationships will aid 4-H members in the future as they choose career paths in any industry.
Competitive events at the Pensacola Interstate Fair, Florida State Fair, North Florida Fair, GCA/NRYO show and several other area fairs teach youth teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, stress management, communication, and cooperation life skills
Escambia County 4-H members benefit from participating on judging teams. Lessons in responsibility, leadership, maturity, pride, dedication and success are all part of 4-H judging teams. For more information about Escambia County 4-H judging teams or participating in 4-H, please contact the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Escambia County at 850-475-5230.