Shaping the Future: Florida 4-H Standards of Excellence

In the world of 4-H, the ‘Standards of Excellence’ is more than just a fancy term. It is a process designed to measure the engagement and achievements of our members and clubs. Think of it as a roadmap that not only sets clear expectations for everyone involved in 4-H but also guides us on how to reach and surpass those expectations. And the cherry on top? It’s a way for our members and clubs to get well-deserved recognition and scholarships to attend 4-H events. In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the nitty-gritty of the 4-H Standards of Excellence, shedding light on its significance, the goals it sets for 4-H members, and how to conquer them.

What is Florida 4-H Standards of Excellence?

The Florida 4-H Standards of Excellence (SOE) is a collection of benchmarks that identify a successful 4-H member or club. Standards of Excellence is categorized in five divisions listed below. To be eligible for an SOE award, you must meet all minimum Florida 4-H membership requirements and be enrolled in 4-H Online.

Download the Standards of Excellence Information Packet

Each division has certain criteria that a member must meet. Download the SOE Information Packet above to view the criteria for performance. A member’s performance is categorized into the following levels: BRONZE, SILVER, GOLD and EMERALD Clover Awards. The expectations become greater as the 4-H member matures through Cloverbud, Junior, Intermediate, and Senior levels.

Youth will score highly on SOE for activities like completing a project record book, performing community service hours, participating in events, exhibits, and competitions, giving demonstrations, speaking at engagements, and being elected as an officer. The application should only reflect the accomplishments made within the current 4-H Year (Sept. 1 – August 31). See the information packet and application documents above for details.

Why Should I Apply?

It truly PAYS off! The Standards of Excellence application serves as a scholarship for members, or clubs, to fund attending a county, district, or state event. Some of these include Florida 4-H events like 4-H University, 4-H Day at the Capitol, 4-H Legislature, or other educational activities. If you are applying for SOE to attend a non-4-H event, it must be approved by the 4-H Office prior to your application.

Awards will be given based on individual merit, division, and level of achievement. Awards are also contingent on the availability of funds held at the county and state level. It is not guaranteed that full scholarships will be awarded to attend the chosen event.

How & When Do I Apply?

Miami-Dade County 4-H accepts SOE applications year-round, from September 1st through July 31st! No applications will be accepted during the last month of the 4-H year (August). You should always be planning ahead. Choose which event you wish to attend before applying. Consider the deadline of this event. You should submit your SOE application at least 3 weeks prior to the registration deadline.

Example: Jenny is a Senior 4-H member of the CloverQuest 4-H Club. She is interested in attending 4-H University, which is scheduled for July 22nd, 204H. The deadline to register for this event is June 30th, 204H. If Jenny wishes to apply for a scholarship to attend this event, she must submit her application to the 4-H office, no later than July 9th.

Awards are given on a first-come -first-served basis.  Activities listed in a SOE application should reflect activities completed within the current 4-H year (Sept. 1 – August 31). It is best to plan ahead and submit your applications early. Once the application is received, the member will be notified within one week. As mentioned in the previous section, the amount of the award is contingent upon the level of achievement and availability of funds. A maximum of two awards will be given per person/club each year.

Example Continued: Jenny has planned ahead. She submitted her SOE application to the 4-H Office five weeks before 4-H University. She scored GOLD on her application. Jenny was awarded funds to cover 70% of her cost. Jenny is responsible for the remaining 30%.

Calendar of Events:


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Posted: August 28, 2023

Category: 4-H & Youth, Clubs & Volunteers, Community Volunteers, Curriculum, UF/IFAS Extension

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