Record Book & Project Record Guidelines and Resources

Crafting Your 4-H Record Book Presentation

Sample Summary Record

Sample General Project Record

Record Books & Project Records

The 4-H program has a long history of record keeping. The focus reflects the importance of this life skill in our daily lives. In 4-H, young people have tracked their activities, events, profits and losses, skill development and learning experiences, and much more using the iconic 4-H Record Book. In addition to record keeping, the 4-H Record Book gives members an opportunity to reflect on their year, measure their achievements and growth, and set goals, and develop plans to meet those goals. 

What is the difference between a Record Book and Project Records? 

A Record Book is a complete book that reflects the 4-Hers work for the current year and also serves as a cumulative record.  A 4-H Record Book is documentation of all 4-H activities at the club, county, state level, and national level in which a youth has attended and participated. This also includes community activities and the progress of a youth in each respective 4-H project. Many 4-H members will attest to the benefit and importance of Record Books and record keeping as they apply for higher education, prepare their resume, and submit applications for jobs. Included in the record book are:

  • Title page (including photograph of the 4-H member)
  • Resume (Senior age 4-Hers only)
  • Essay (Senior age 4-Hers only)
  • Summary Report Form (Starting in 2017, a new Maryland 4-H Summary Report Form was used.  In 2018, there were a few edits for the form so please be sure to click on the link. The new form only reflects the current year's work. However, 4-Hers will include all summary report forms to show their cumulative 4-H work)
  • 4-H Story
  • 4-H Pictures
  • 4-H Project Records

Project Records can stand alone or be included as part of the larger record books. Project Records are individual records about one particular project that require the 4-H’er to document the goals they had for the specific project, what they learned, what they would do differently, life skills learned, project activities, and budgets for materials/activities associated with the project.

See the table below for a more detailed comparison between 4-H Record Books and 4-H Project Records.


  Record Book Project Record

Record Books are a long standing tradition in 4-H programs throughout the country. They are a compilation of the 4-H'ers Project Records in addition to other learning artifacts such as photos and reflective writing samples that help to summarize the 4-H’ers personal growth and learning throughout the year.

Project Records can stand alone or be included as “chapters'' within the Record Books.  Project Records individual records sheets about one particular project that require the 4-H’er to document the specific details about each project that they carried for the year.

  • Title page 

  • Resume (Seniors only)

  • Essay (Seniors only)

  • Summary Report Form 

  • 4-H Story

  • 4-H Pictures

  • 4-H Project Records (see links below)

  • Introduction

  • Goals

  • Lessons learned

  • Improvement ideas

  • Life skills gained

  • Project activities, communications, and exhibits

  • Financial Summary


15-100 pages

7-10 pages

Required to participate as a 4-H exhibitor in the Great Frederick Fair?



Required to participate as a 4-H exhibitor in the Maryland State Fair?



Required for 4-H Membership?



Judged on a local level and eligible for awards at Achievement Night?



Required for state or county 4-H scholarships & awards?

Sometimes, check each individual application

Sometimes, check each individual application


Why Should I Complete 4-H Record Books and/or Project Records?
  • Reflect: 4-H Record Books and Project Records give members an opportunity to reflect on their yearly work. They document their skill development and their learning experiences in a written report. 4-H members measure their achievements and growth in their total years in 4-H.
  • Think Ahead: 4-H Record Books and Project Records encourage members to set goals, pursue strategies to meet those goals, and to shift gears in the face of challenges and obstacles.
  • Succeed: Project Records are required to show in the county and state fairs and be a member of the local 4-H program. Project Records and Records Books are required to apply for certain awards, scholarships, competitions, and events.
  • Future: The records that you keep in your record book (education, service, awards, activities, etc) are VERY useful when it comes to applying for Honors Society
Who Should Complete a Record Book or Project Record?

As of 2023, 4-H record books are no longer a requirement for being a member of Frederick County 4-H or Maryland 4-H. They are also not required in order to be able to show as a 4-H’er at the Great Frederick Fair or Maryland State Fair. 

The FULL Record Books are no longer required to be a member in good standing or to show at The Great Frederick Fair or Maryland State Fair. However, the county still requires every youth to complete at a minimum a project record for every project they are enrolled in as of June 1st in order to be fair eligible. 

  • If youth are planning to show animals, Project Records are required for each animal species that a youth intends to show at the fair. (ie. If a youth is exhibiting market steers, market sheep, and rabbits, they must complete 3 total project records, one for each project.)
  • If youth are planning to exhibit only entries in the indoor building, youth are required to complete at least one Project Record for their indoor exhibits. (ie. If a youth is exhibiting photography, baking, clothing, and woodworking, youth must pick at least one of these project areas and complete one project record, they do not have to complete all four.)

If you have a question, please contact your Organizational Leader or the Frederick County Extension Office at 301-600-1595.

While not required, all 4-Her’s (including clovers, first year members, and others) are encouraged to complete a record book each year as this is a great way to gain valuable experience within their project area. 4-H record books and project records will still be judged on the county level every year and awards given to those winners at our county Achievement Night. In addition, completing a record book each year is good practice as a 4-H Record Book is still required in order for a 4-H member to qualify for some County Level, State Level, and National Level awards, scholarships, and competitions. Please check in advance all opportunities that you or your child may be interested in to verify if they need to complete a full record book or just project records.

4-H Record Books and Project Records should be filled out completely and accurately. Parents should oversee the member’s work, but the member must do his or her own writing or typing. There are provisions for youth with an IEP.  Parents and project leaders should encourage each 4-H member to work on his or her Record Book and Project Records throughout the year. 

When Are Record Books Due?

Record books are due to your club leader at the beginning of the calendar year. Ask your club leader or check your 4-H online emails for the specific deadline.

How Are Record Books Evaluated?
  • Organizational Club Leaders review each of their club members books and verify that all parts have been included which includes a check off sheet.
  • Record books are then judged by our local county volunteer team which consists of Frederick County 4-H All Stars, current Frederick 4-H volunteers, and/or University of Maryland Extension Educators from other counties.  Judges have had a variety of experiences with records books and most are former 4-Hers who have completed a Record Book themselves.  In addition, the majority of judges have served in this role for many years so they have a great deal of knowledge and background.  Judges receive specific instructions as well as all materials that are available to our 4-H members as resources.
  • Judges evaluate each member’s Record Book according to the rubric provided and assign an award (blue, red, white or participation).  Judges provide feedback to 4-H members by notes written on the evaluation sheet which is returned to the 4-H member and through sticky notes placed in the book.
  • All blue books are judged a second time by a new set of judges.  From this second round of blue book judging, County Achievement awards are selected.   
  • All books that receive a red, white, or participation ribbon are judged a second time by a new judge to verify the placing.
How Are Project Records Evaluated?
  • Project Records are evaluated by veteran 4-H University of Maryland Extension Volunteers and/or Frederick County 4-H All Stars.  As Project Records are reviewed, the evaluator reviews to verify if members have accurately documented all aspects of his/her individual project.  Evaluators will often make individual notes on the project records and/or sticky notes that are placed on individual pages.
  • Another component of evaluation of Project Records includes the completion of all components of the project record.  It is the 4-Her’s individual responsibility to make sure his/her records reflect all project work.  A project is considered complete when the following have been done in the calendar year in relation to that project:  at least one communication (demonstration, visual presentation,  project talk, etc.) has been given/presented by the 4-Her during the current year, project work has been demonstrated (exhibition, etc.), and learning has taken place in relation to the project.
  • There is a rubric utilized to evaluate each individual project record.  This rubric is utilized to provide feedback to the 4-H member about his/her project records.
  • Project records that are incomplete, contain incorrect information, and/or are plagiarized will be returned to have corrections made

How to Start a 4-H Record Book

Record Book Forms

  • If you click on any of the Google links, it'll take you to a webpage and will ask you to "Make a Copy", and then feel free to begin typing! 
  • If you are using a Microsoft Word document it will open up with a protected view warning at the top, click on the 'Enable Editing' button to be able to edit the document and save your work. Frederick County 4-H Protected View for Editing - Microsoft Word Documents
  • If you have any questions, please contact Dawn at or Kim at
4-H Clover (ages 5-7 as of January 1st)

Clovers have the option of doing a simplified record book, which is a great opportunity for them to practice before doing the bigger one later on! Below you'll find your choice of forms that can be typed and printed, or are printed out and then written on, depending on what your Clover prefers. Show your 4-H experience by sharing pictures from your year in 4-H. (This should be a couple pages with pictures on them with captions.)

Each Clover Record Book contains:

4-H Junior (ages 8-10), Intermediate (ages 11-13), and Senior (ages 14-18) Regular Record Book Forms. Ages are as of January 1st.

Title Page - Microsoft Word, Google

Summary Record - Microsoft WordGoogle

4H Story (template) - Microsoft WordGoogle

Project Records

General Project
(Non-Animal Projects)
Microsoft Word Google
Shooting Sports Microsoft Word Google
Camelid Microsoft Word Google
Dairy Cattle Microsoft Word Google
Dog Microsoft Word Google
Horse and Pony Microsoft Word Google
Large Animal Breeding Microsoft Word Google
Market Livestock Microsoft Word Google
Poultry Microsoft Word Google
Rabbit and Cavy Microsoft Word Google
Small Pet Microsoft Word Google

Picture Pages Microsoft WordGoogle 

A 4-H’er may include up to 3 pages of pictures behind each project record in addition to 3 to 5 pages of project pictures in this separate section of the book. Be sure to include captions.  

Seniors (ages 14-18)

4-H Seniors have 3 options to choose from. For details about each option, go to the Maryland 4-H webpage for 4-H Record Books and Senior Portfolios to choose what is best for you.

Option 1: Regular Record Book (Title Page, Summary Record, 4-H Story, Project Records, Picture Pages)
Option 2: Senior Record Book (Title Page, Resume, Essay, Project Records, Picture Pages) 

Option 3: Senior Portfolio (Resume, Essay, Interview)

  • Senior Portfolios are REQUIRED to apply for National 4-H Leadership Trips.
  • For more information on Senior Portfolios for National 4-H Leadership Trips go to the Maryland 4-H webpage for Youth and Adult Leadership then,
    • Scroll down and open up the National 4-H Leadership Opportunities tabbed section.
Club Leader Responsibilities

Below are step by step instructions for club leaders who are responsible for collecting, checking, and submitting member record books to the county office.

1. Collect and check  your club's record books to make sure they have all parts. 

Record books are typically due to leaders at their January meeting so they have enough time to be checked, and the books eligible for county judging can be sent onward. You can use the checklist below to guide you through the process.

Leader Check List - Microsoft Word, PDF

2. Fill out the "All Member" Record Book & Project Record Form.

The "All Member" form is for leaders to use to document every member of their club who submitted a record book and project records for the fair. This list is used by the county to determine the 4-H'ers’ fair eligibility since all 4-H’ers (except 1st year members and clovers) are required to complete project records in order to compete in the county or state fair.  This list also helps us to keep track of those members who have submitted record books since this is important for judging purposes and other awards that 4-H’ers might be eligible for in the future. 

Record Book All Member Form - Microsoft WordGoogle

3. Submit your club’s record books and the accompanying forms to the office. 

Everything is due to the county typically by the first Friday in February.