University of Maryland Extension

Record Book Information

Record Book

Junior/Intermediate
Record Book Example

Senior
Record Book Example

One of the most important “Life Skills” a 4-Her will learn is to keep good records. Completing a record book is a good way to learn these skills. Here are some tips for completing a “Blue Ribbon Record Book”.

Tip #1 – Start Now.

Don’t wait until the night before record books are due to begin working on your record book. If you have completed a project already, fill out the record sheets now. This is one less you will have to do later. Start working on your story. If you write it a little at a time and keep adding to it, the job will be much easier and you will have a great story. Collect pictures of things you have done in 4-H and keep them altogether so you will know where to find them. Remember you must have an exhibit and a demonstration in order for a project to be considered complete.

Tip #2 – Keep a Diary.

A good way to avoid forgetting what you’ve done in 4-H is to keep a diary. It’s important to keep notes on your activities “as you go”. Don’t try to remember everything you’ve done for the past year. And, remember – this isn't your Mom’s job!

Tip #3 – Use a Binder.

Probably the easiest way to keep all of your 4-H “stuff” together is a three ring binder. (newspaper clippings, newsletters, programs, pictures, project supply receipts, etc.) you’ll know just where to look when you need a date, number or amount for your record book. Fair premiums count as income, so keep a record of these also.

 

Tip #4 - Neatness Counts !!

It's important that others can read your writing. Take the time to write legibly and use black ink (black photocopies better than other colors.) Better yet - use a computer. The summary and project records are available to download from the Maryland 4-H web page.

Tip #5 – Don’t Leave Blanks.

You probably won’t have something to write in every space, but don’t leave the space blank. Write n/a (not applicable) or none to let the judge know you didn't skip the section. Blank spaces look like you have not completed the project. Remember the judge can only judge you by what you have written in your book.

Tip #6 – Proof Read.

Check your spelling and grammar. While your record book won’t be graded like an English assignment, correct spelling and good grammar are important. It’s very difficult to proof read your own work, so having a family member proof read your record book is a good idea.

Tip #7 – Think About Eye Appeal.

Do your best to make your record book look its best. Use a 4-H record book cover. A title page, table of contents page and divider pages, will make your record book look great and easier to grade. Try to avoid smudges, erasures, white-out and finger prints.

Tip #8 - Write an Interesting Story.

An important part of your record book and a good place to include information that doesn't fit in the summary or project record is your story. Often, your story tells more about you and your 4-H work than what you wrote in the summary and project records. Your story is the place to be creative. Think of it as telling a tale. Try to write a story that will be so interesting to judge will not want to put it down. Include everything into one 4-H story. Talk about the things you did, what you learned, why you liked them, or why you didn't like them. Feel free to make suggestions on how 4-H activities could be improved or may suggest new ones. Try to use colorful, descriptive phrases. Avoid simply listing what you did. Do your best to make the story flow. Remember, every interesting story has a good beginning, middle and end. If you are a senior and are doing a portfolio remember, if you are chosen to go on for state competition only your resume and story will go to state. This makes your story the most important part of your book.

Tip #9 – Signatures.

Your signature and your club leader’s signature are required on both the summary record and the project record. Your signature states that everything you have written in your record book is true and accurate. Make sure you allow time for your club leader to read and sign your record book before the deadline.

Tip#10 – Pictures.

Have someone take pictures of you with your 4-H project (ex. Sewing your outfit, fitting your animal, giving a demonstration).

The Most Important Tip!  

Read Tip #1 again.

If you haven’t already started your record book – start now.

The surest way to guarantee failure is to wait until the last minute to complete your record book.

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