4H Record Book Tips
Record books help you keep track of what you did and what you learned.
Be sure to show evidence of what you learned and done in 4-H!
- Make sure all record sheets are signed – first page, livestock, etc.
- Include a picture of youself on the My 4-H Year form.
- You may use the records found online or use ZSuite online record books.
- Include year tabs on the side. Records should include all years of 4-H membership.
- Write goals for your project and 4-H year at the beginning of the year. Tell whether you met your goals at the end of the year.
- Be sure to include all projects for which you enrolled. If you did not complete a project, add a note to say that you didn't get it completed.
- Use the "Record Book Completion Criteria List" and the "Record Book Quality List" as guidelines for filling out records.
- Proofread. Pay attention to grammar and spelling.
- When listing project costs be sure to include all costs and to assign a fair price
to items that you didn't have to pay for out of pocket.
For example, if you are raising a steer and you are using hay from a family ranch it still costs something. Figure out how much a ton of hay costs at market price and then figure how many tons of hay you used to feed your steer. The point of the project is to learn what it would take to raise a steer. Include any postage costs or advertising costs for marketing your animals.
Another example might be if you are taking several projects in foods. You may want to compile an expense sheet for basic ingredients.
Flour 5 lb bag $2.79
Sugar 5 lb bag $3.29
Vanilla 6 oz. $5.89
Then you can estimate how much of each item you used. The true cost of your project may be hidden in your family's grocery budget, but the project cost something just the same. You will have to work a little to find costs for some of your projects. Save receipts, use online resources to estimate prices and visit stores to determine true cost. You may have travel costs involved with getting to meetings, fair, camp, etc. Believe it or not, gas and vehicles do cost. The state rate is roughly $ .55 per mile. Figure out how many miles you travel for 4-H and add that into your project costs. For income, fair premiums should be recorded as well as any other prize money or money made from a sale of your project.
- When asked about promoting 4-H, you could include any thank you’s sent to donors for awards, livestock project buyers, wearing a 4-H t-shirt, talking to friends about 4-H projects/activities, participating in the food drive, sending buyers invitations, writing letters to the editor, submitting thank you notes for publication and more.
- You could insert a project story for each project. This story can be handwritten or done on the computer and could include what you learned in the project.
- You may include a calendar, but you should still list out activities where requested on forms, etc.
- Record books should have clear detail on animal feed records. Some of the books we have seen make us wonder if the animals ever got fed, since nothing was written down in the feed record.
- Your book should tell about you and your learning experiences in 4-H. We want your book to be a reflection of the high quality work you do in 4-H. We like to see books that show that a 4-H member sees the value in what they learn in 4-H and is willing to invest the time and effort to share that value with others.