4-H is an organization that strives to help youth learn life skills. An important life skill that 4-H teaches is record keeping. Record keeping helps 4-H'ers learn how to set goals, make plans for action, and evaluate their progress. It helps them lean organizational skills and responsibility. 4-H'ers learn to communicate, summarize, and evaluate.
Record keeping is all about keeping records of the goals achieved in 4-H. There are five steps to this process. The first step involves determining an interest. During the months of September to December, a 4-H'er has time to decide what they want to learn. Do they want to learn more about animals, safety, foods, woodworking, electricity, etc?
Once a 4-H'er has decided what they are interested in (the project area), they can proceed to Step 2: Deciding what they want to accomplish in the next year or setting a goal. A 4-H'er who is interested in food and nutrition may want to learn how to make soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies.
A goal has three parts: the action, result, and timetable. A food and nutrition goal could be: I want to find the best recipe to make soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies by Valentine's Day. Now the 4-H'er may decide to find different recipes for chocolate chip cookies and try a new one every two weeks during December and January. Step 4 is to do what you decided to do.
During December and January, the 4-H'er would make the cookies. The 4-H'er is now ready for Step 5: Evaluating and making future plans. The 4-H'er would evaluate each recipe and the cookies every time he/she baked. Maybe some cookies were hard, so the 4-H'er would decide why. One cookie recipe may make the best soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies, so the 4-H'er decides to enter them in the county fair. The 4-H'er would then use this as a goal and go through the steps to prepare the cookies for the fair.
Cherokee County 4-H'ers are currently evaluating and completing records of their progress throughout the year. There is no one way to do a 4-H record. A 4-H'er could complete "Project Record" forms to put in a green 4-H record book. They could create an audio or videotape or write a 4-H story. Another alternative is to create a portfolio.
4-H records can be as diverse as the 4-H'ers are.
4-H'ers in Cherokee County will hand in their record keeping systems to the Extension Office by September 30, 2010. The records will then be reviewed by a committee of adults and county council members. The committee will make comments and suggestions before returning the records.
The record keeping systems are also used to determine the winners of the various 4-H awards handed out at the Cherokee County 4-H Awards Ceremony in November. A 4-H'er can apply for 4-H project awards by turning in a record keeping system and/or an award application form by September 30.
The new 4-H year is about to begin and Cherokee County 4-H invites all students in grades 4-12 to join 4-H. If you would like to know more about 4-H, please call Brenda Medick at the Extension Office at 225-6196.