4-H Standards of Excellence are tools to help individual members and clubs set and achieve goals and are part of our recognition model. Recognition is an important part of the 4-H experience; it helps master skills and knowledge by providing feedback on progress towards goals. Standards of Excellence is one of my favorite ways to recognize youth and clubs. Here’s how it works:
At the beginning of the 4-H year, youth decide which level of recognition they would like to receive. The levels are bronze, silver, gold and emerald. To help youth decide, they should review the Standard of Excellence matrix with their parent or club leader. The matrix outlines what a member needs to do in order to achieve each level of recognition. For example, if a junior member (ages 8-10) wants to achieve the gold standard, he/she would need to plan to do the following throughout the course of the 4-H year:
- Attend at least 2/3 of club meetings (or number established by club).
- Share project experiences by giving a presentation.
- Attend three different activities
- Participate in three different activities
- Participate in three community service activities
- Participate in four different competitions / exhibitions
- Complete two project record reports
- Teach one club level activity
- Make a poster on “My 4-H Experience” or submit Building My 4-H Portfolio
But wait, that’s not all! 4-H Clubs can also achieve Standards of Excellence. During the club organizational meeting, members can choose which type of club they want to be (bronze, silver, gold or emerald), and build those requirements into their club plan (most of the items are things that clubs would want to do anyway, so why not be recognized for it?):
- Bronze club- 12/20 items on the list
- Silver club- 14/20 items on the list
- Gold club-16/20 items on the list
- Emerald club- 18/20 items on the list
Once a member or club establishes their goal, they can submit their plan to their club leader. Towards the end of the 4-H Year, the member submits their application to their leader, who signs off on it and submits it to their 4-H agent. Youth are recognized during their County Achievement Night, or Awards Banquet.
Interested in helping? We need volunteers to serve as project mentors, review/judge awards applications or help plan annual recognition programs. Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office if you would like to get involved.