In 4-H, there is a set of benchmarks that assess involvement and achievement of participants and clubs called the Standards of Excellence. Achieving the Standards of Excellence set forth by 4-H sets expectations for all 4-H members and clubs and gives them goals to attain with an explicit roadmap on how to achieve them. Additionally, it allows 4-H members and clubs to be recognized for going above and beyond!
Standards of Excellence are awarded by age division and achievement level. For Cloverbuds, there is only one level of achievement: the Clover Award. In order to earn a Clover Award, Cloverbuds must complete a set list of activities during the 4-H year and have their club leader sign off that they have been completed. The form with all the information and club leaders signature is then turned into the county agent for their award to be processed. Below is a list of the activities Cloverbuds must complete in order to receive a Clover Award:
- Complete a show and tell activity with your club
- Exhibit something made in the cloverbud project
- Complete at least one cloverbud workbook or project book
- Complete a Level 1 Participation summary on one project
Juniors, Intermediates, and Seniors
For Junior, Intermediate, and Senior 4-Hers, the process is similar, but the expectations increase according to age division. Further, Juniors, Intermediates, and Seniors may achieve various levels of performance, from the Bronze Clover, to the highest recognition, the Emerald Clover Award. In order to be awarded a Bronze Clover, 4-Hers must complete the following activities:
- Establish a plan for the member’s project and report it to project leader
- Attend at least 2/3 of club meetings
- Share project experiences by giving a presentation
- Attend two club activities
- Participate in one service project
- Complete one record book
- Serve on a club committee or hold an office (Intermediate and Senior)
- Participate in one competition or exhibition (Senior)
In order to receive Silver, Gold or Emerald Clover awards, members must go beyond these basic activities and do things like teach club activities, share 4-H with their community, and attend district- and state-level events.
The great thing is, most 4-H members are ALREADY DOING these things, it just needs to be documented! Florida 4-H keeps it simple with forms that can be found under the “Standards of Excellence” drop down here Members – UF/IFAS Extension (ufl.edu).
Clubs can also be recognized for achieving Standards of Excellence via a similar process. In order to be recognized, clubs must complete activities such as planning an annual program with group goals, creating an annual calendar for the club, election of club officers and fulfillment of duties by those elected, and completing community service projects. Proof of completion must accompany the application. This can be provided by meeting minutes, treasurer’s reports, and pictures. The application can be found under the “Club Awards” drop down here Members – UF/IFAS Extension (ufl.edu).
Go for Gold!
As a 4-H Youth Development Agent, I implore both youth and clubs to go for the gold! Set personal and club goals that align with reaching the Gold Clover Standards and work towards that throughout the year. As a result, you are bound to grow as a 4-H member, develop as a young person, and accomplish more than you thought possible!