Information and Instructions Illinois 4-H Award Application Instructions
The Illinois 4-H Award Application follows this cover page. Applicants for state award consideration must be 15-18 years of age by September 1 of the 4-H program year in which they are applying. The Application consists of a 3-page form and attached pages with responses to two required essay questions. No additional pages (besides those required for the essay questions) may be added to this application.
Members may submit in more than one Award Area, but may not submit more than one application in the Project Mastery area. (For example, a member may submit applications in Community Service, Leadership, and Project Mastery – Robotics, but may not submit two applications in Project Mastery in the areas of Robotics AND Photography.)
Information placed on this form (except as noted for the essay questions) should include up to, but no more than, the member’s past three years of 4-H membership.
State 4-H Award Selection Process
4-H members should provide a hard copy of the application to their local Extension office prior to the State deadline (early January). University of Illinois Extension staff will review the application, sign the application, then scan and email the application to the State 4-H Office for consideration. University of Illinois Extension staff, 4-H volunteers, and past State 4-H Award winners will review and score the applications. Depending upon the number of applications, a specified number of semi-finalists will be named in each award area.
Semi-finalists will be required to participate in a 4-H award interview in order to be selected as a State 4-H Award Winner. Interviews will be conducted by a team of selected individuals. All interviews will be scheduled on the same day at a location in Champaign/Urbana. Scores for the interviews will be added to scores from the award application to obtain a final score for each 4-H members. State 4-H Award Winners will be the top scoring applications in each area. Should a member score the highest in more than one area, they will be named a State 4-H Award Winner in the area with their highest score and another winner will be named in the second category.
Youth who are selected as State 4-H Award Winners will have the opportunity to choose their award from one of three options: 1) Trip to National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, GA, 2) College Scholarship, or 3) Scholarship to help cover expenses to a national 4-H event/conference such as Citizenship Washington Focus, National 4-H Dairy Conference, or a national 4-H competitive event to which the awardee is eligible to attend. Each award is worth approximately $1,000 or the actual cost of the event, whichever is less. Twenty Illinois State 4-H Award Winners will be selected each year.
For 2016, any 4-H member who has been selected as a State 4-H Award Winner is not eligible to apply for the award again. However, the youth may apply for State 4-H Blue Award Winner status by submitting an updated award application. In order to receive Blue Award status, the member must receive no fewer points on their application than the semi-finalists for the category entered. (*The State Blue Award will not be available after the 2016 State 4-H Award Selection process. The Blue Award will transition into a new recognition opportunity that will focus on growth and excellence of the individual 4-H member.) (continued)
Illinois State 4-H Award Areas
Community Service – Focus of your 4-H work in service to/for others. Work should focus what you have done as an individual, not only as a member of your club working on group projects.
Communications – Focus of your 4-H work in the art of communicating with others, including but not limited to public presentations, 4-H ambassadors, Speaking for Illinois 4-H, presentations to elected officials, television/radio interviews, etc.
Leadership – Focus on the development of your leadership skills, including offices held, committees served on, programs lead, public presentations on behalf of 4-H, any of the following Teen Leadership roles - teaching, mentoring, planning, promoting, advocating, or advising, etc.
Personal Growth – Focus on your own personal growth through participating in the 4-H program. Could include, but is not limited to growth in skills, demonstrated initiative, self-confidence, interpersonal interactions, poise, etc.
Project Mastery – Focus on your 4-H work in your primary project (i.e. Woodworking, Photography, Beef). Only one project should be included in the application and members should not submit an application in more than one “Project Mastery” area. For award purposes, “project” is defined as those areas of enrollment as listed in the Illinois 4-H Clover or as a county-offered project (i.e Llamas, Reading, etc.). A member could include multiple areas of study in their project mastery application if the member was enrolled in multiple areas within a specific project during those 3 years. (i.e. A member could complete their application in Food and Nutrition and include information on Cooking 301, Meat and Other Proteins, and Food Preservation OR a Woodworking Project Mastery application could include information from Woodworking Levels I, II and III.)
Illinois 4-H Award Application 90221 Revised September, 2015
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension Work, Acts of May and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, George F. Czapar, Director, University of Illinois Extension. University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. The 4-H Name and Emblem are protected under 18 U.S.C. 707.
Illinois 4-H Award Application Please check the award area in which you are applying. If a member is submitting in multiple areas, the first 3 pages will be duplicated. The two questions on the last pages will need to be individualized for the award area(s) in which you are applying. Descriptions of the areas are included with the first page of instructions and information..
Verification Statements I personally have prepared this application and certify that it accurately reflects my work.
Signature of Member
I personally reviewed this application and certify that it accurately reflects the member’s work
Signature of Parent/Guardian
Signature of 4-H Club Leader
I have reviewed this application and believe it accurately reflects the member’s work and approve it for state competition.
Signature of Extension Unit Representative
ID Code: ________
Section 1: 4-H Project/Program Summary
In this section, list your top projects (i.e. Woodworking, Cooking 401, etc.) or programs (i.e. Teens as Teachers, Teens as Mentors, 4-H Federation) within the past three yearsof your 4-H membership. Show size or scope of the projects or programs by number of animals owned/leased, dishes prepared, articles made, youth taught/mentored, events planned, etc. (not just exhibits for the 4-H show). (30 points)
Name of Project/Program
Project/Program Size or Scope
(what I made, did, raised or cared for, # taught/mentored)
Made 200 recipes; Prepared 52 meals/4 people; Catered 3 parties
Raised 15 beef animals, taught fitting/grooming workshop to 9,
Artificially inseminated 2 heifers
Raised 13 beef animals, donated 1 calf to Calf Scramble,
Planned 4 Cloverbud Camp sessions/12 youth, led “Head”
Station for “Passport to 4-H”/25 youth, taught Records 101 to
15 club members, Gave tour of fairgrounds to 20 daycare youth
Prepared 50 ‘snack packs’ for hunger, led “Heart” Station for
Passport to 4-H” during Fair week for 35 youth
Created display on decision making. Taught club workshop to
15 on decision making skills
Created display on working with others; lead teambuilding
session at 4-H meeting for 12
Section 2: Participation in Other Community/School Activities/Events
Include your participation in sports, band/choral, school clubs, drama, other youth organizations, religious groups, etc. from the past three years. You can also include any employment you’ve had. Tell what you did and the skills you learned. Check all locations that apply. L = Local club or community; C = County; M = Multi-county/Unit; S = State; N = National; and I = International. (30 points)
Kind of Activity
What I Did & Skills Learned
Secretary, fundraising, Trip to Mexico, cultural learning
Member, learned promotion of beef, speaking skills
FFA Petting Zoo
Provided animals for zoo, shared facts with those
attending; learned public speaking
State Fair Pork Patio
Server. Learned food safety and promotion of pork
Food Pantry worker
Collected canned goods, stocked shelves. Learned
organization and time management
Read scripture and gave announcements at services.
Learned attention to detail, public speaking
Tutored 3 students after school. Learned patience,
different learning styles, communications skills
Prepared food and ran register. Learned food safety,
teamwork, customer service
Section 3: Participation in 4-H Events/Activities
Include training activities, workshops, clinics, field trips, and special club or program activities and events during the past three years of 4-H membership. Show where you participated (L = Local Club; C = County; M = Multi-county/Unit; S = State; N = National; and I = International) and also indicate things learned. Do not include 4-H show results. Activities that have occurred during multiple years may be grouped onto one line. (40 points)
Kind of Activity
What I Learned
Conformation of animals, decision-making, presentation
Speaking for IL 4-H
Public speaking skills, facts about Extension/4-H
Decision making, prioritizing, and teamwork with others to
plan and implement activities & community service projects
4-H Officer Training
Learned tearmbuilding, parts of club meeting, making motions,
duties and roles of club offices
Livestock Judging Team
Time management, anatomy of livestock, teamwork,
conformation of livestock
Vet Clinic Tour
Health of animals, importance of vaccinations, grooming
impact of a specific project area on your family relationships,
effects of overcoming challenges,
impact on your future goals, etc.
A 4-H member needs to receive a minimum of 125 points out of the 200 points available and score in the top 10% of the Award Area to be named as a semi-finalist.
Section 1: 4-H Project/Program Summary
Illustrated Growth in Projects or Programs over time (30)
Section 2: Participation in other Community/School Activities/Events
Participation in Activities (6)
Leadership Exhibited (6)
Community Service (6)
Knowledge/Skills Gained (6)
Advanced Levels of Involvement (6)
Section 3: Participation in 4-H Events & Activities
Participation in Activities (5)
Leadership Exhibited (10)
Community Service (5)
Knowledge/Skills Gained (10)
Advanced Levels of Involvement (10)
Essay 1: Excellence in Mastery Essay
Demonstrated Mastery/Goals Achieved (20)
Sharing with or Teaching Others/Giving Back (10)
Leadership Demonstrated (10)
Extended Application of Learning (5)
Organization, Flow of Ideas - Spelling, Punctuation, Grammar (5)
Essay 2: Impact Essay
Impact on Applicant/Impact on Others (20)
Challenges Faced/Overcome (20)
Impact on Future Goals (5)
Organization, Flow of Ideas - Spelling, Punctuation, Grammar (5)
LEADERSHIP ESSAY #1 – MASTERY (538 words) I have done many things throughout my 4-H career and as I have gotten older I have been called upon to lead many different times. In my own 4-H club I have held almost every office and my favorite was getting to be President just this past year. As a club officer I have enjoyed the teamwork with other officers and our club leaders to plan organized meetings and interesting speakers and events. It takes brainstorming skills and ‘out of the box’ thinking to come up with some different ideas for our club meetings each 4-H year.
Leadership is a project that I have taken for a number of years and even when sometimes the activities in the manual didn’t seem all that interesting I do know that I have picked up some valuable skills such as how to work with others and make good decisions. Last year, as Club President, I encouraged our young new members to participate in our meetings by pairing them with older 4-H members when we did some club activities like the Boys vs. Girls Bakeoff. Being able to lead rather than follow is an important skill for everyone to have. Being in 4-H for so many years and having different opportunities has helped give me the self-confidence to run a meeting or lead almost any activity.
As a county 4-H Ambassador I have given tours of the Fairgrounds to new families during our Fair Orientation program so that they feel comfortable knowing where their projects will be exhibited for the first time. I also gave tours of the Fair to daycare students during fair week and presented information to them about different 4-H projects. Hopefully some of these younger children were inspired at what they saw and will become 4-H members themselves in a few years!
Every summer that I could, I attended 4-H Camp. It is one of my favorite places in the world! A goal of mine was to work at camp when I was old enough. I became a CIT (Counselor in Training) and learned various ways to manage campers and activities so that when I applied for a Cabin Counselor job I was thrilled to be hired! You have to be very responsible as a counselor and ready to give advice, feedback, instruction, and correction to campers that attend each week. My years as a club officer and being in charge of club meetings were very helpful to me in transitioning into the role of a cabin counselor.
Another goal I had for myself was to get involved in things beyond our county 4-H program. I have achieved this goal by attending the Illini Summer Academies on the U of I campus and gaining lots of new ideas through the Leadership Academy to bring back to my 4-H club and implement. I also use some of the icebreakers I learned at ISA with my campers when I work at 4-H camp each summer.
I’m sure I would not have some of the opportunities that I do without learning so many things in the 4-H program. I hope to continue to be able to lead rather than follow in groups that I get involved with when I start college.
LEADERSHIP ESSAY #2 – IMPACT (546 words) Leadership is an important skill for everyone to have! Being a leader rather than a follower only be helpful in my future. The self-confidence, teambuilding, and speaking skills I have gained through my 4-H involvement will be a definite asset during my college years and “real life” afterward.
When I first started 4-H it was a challenge to stand up at 4-H meetings and give a talk. It seemed very scary and intimidating to be up in front of others doing this. However, when you do this each year it becomes more a more natural thing and after a few years of club talks and speaking up at club meetings I was ready to be a club officer! I have actually held almost every club office now, including being Club President just last year.
My family has always been very supportive and encouraging to me with my 4-H projects. Working with my 4-H projects and getting advice from my parents has helped us have a close relationship. They are there for me every step of the way in 4-H. I recently was asked to give a talk about my 4-H work to the local Kiwanis group. Talking in front of my club members is pretty easy at this point, but talking in front of adults is a little bit different and you want to do a good job. My Mom was helpful by listening to my speech and giving me feedback and my whole family came to the Kiwanis Banquet which was nice to look out and see them in the audience! Afterward, members of the Kiwanis complimented me on what I had to say and the Kiwanis also have a better idea of how important 4-H is to youth in our county.
4-H Memorial Camp was one of my favorite things each summer when I was young, so when I got hired as a 4-H Cabin Counselor it was a dream come true! Planning activities, giving guidance, and keeping campers involved can be challenging, but I usually make plans and brainstorm with the counselor in the cabin next to me and one way or another we come up with solutions to keeping our campers excited! I have actually gotten letters from some of my campers after the summer because they enjoyed their camping experience so much.
I am a teen 4-H Ambassador in our county and community service and promotion of 4-H have been a focus of our work. Helping prepare weekend “snack packs” for youth who have hunger issues gives you a good feeling to know they will have something nutritious to eat when they are not at school where lunches are provided. I’ve been involved in promoting 4-H leading a learning ‘station’ for “Health” during our Passport to 4-H program at the county fair. We designed a fitness ‘obstacle course’ for youth that came through the program. Many of them were not already in 4-H, so we were able to give information to them on how to join and hopefully some of them will!
In the future I plan to attend college. I am not certain of my major, but the leadership opportunities and self-confidence I have gained through 4-H will only give me an advantage no matter what career path I choose!
PROJECT MASTERY/BEEF - ESSAY #1 – MASTERY (504 words) I have been in 4-H for eight years and it has been a terrific experience. One of my favorite projects has been Beef.
I started out with my beef project years ago when I caught a calf in the county calf scramble. Since that first calf from the scramble, I have raised many beef animals since. I have learned a lot along the way such as different breeds of beef, types of feed for beef, how to groom my cattle, medication for cattle, showmanship skills, and how to break a calf to lead. Some years this is a challenge because every animal has its own personality and they can be super stubborn!
After raising & showing my scramble steer, T-Bone, I was inspired to get some breeding stock and start my own small herd of beef. I always anxiously await the birth of the new calves. Just last year I was able to donate a calf back to the calf scramble so that another 4-H’er might be able to get a start in a beef project. I have also been able to donate packages of beef to fundraisers that benefit our community.
As a Junior leader for beef I have mentored some of the younger members in my 4-H club. I have also been able to teach a fitting & grooming workshop to those who recently caught calves in the 4-H Scramble on how to prepare them for shows. It’s rewarding to see these new beef project members leading their animals into the show ring with confidence after learning more about showmanship. I have used my beef showmanship knowledge to assist others on the county beef show day with their animals too.
One of my goals every year with each of my steers is to get them to a decent market weight by fair time. In order to achieve this I have experimented with different feeds to find the right combination for the best rate of gain. Another goal was to increase the size of my beef herd and each year I’ve added at least one animal to raise and show so that now I have increased to a small herd of 15 cattle. The past couple of years I have taken at least four or five head of cattle to shows.
Some of what I have learned through working with my beef project has really been helpful when I became part of a livestock judging team at school, preparing a speech for the Junior Beef Association Contest, and also when our school hosted a petting zoo. It was fun to bring in one of my steers and share facts about cattle with the students who attended the petting zoo.
I rarely get to sleep in due to the fact that I have to get out to the barn each morning to feed, water, and care for my herd. It takes a lot of dedication and responsibility, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything, because I really love my beef project and showing cattle!
PROJECT MASTERY/BEEF - ESSAY #2 – IMPACT (533 words) My favorite 4-H project has to be beef. I got my start in the project years ago by catching a calf at the Calf Scramble during our county fair and have only grown to love it more every year!
Raising beef has become something my whole family gets involved in and it has brought us closer together. I get in a lot of quality time with family members as we work on chores like feeding & watering the cattle, fixing fences, and working with the show animals. I have been able to breed some heifers and we always eagerly await the birth of the calves. My Dad has helped me the most with learning about raising beef and it’s also been fun to go to auctions together and pick out some new stock for my beef project. All my family members help out on show day with making sure my cattle look their best for the showing.
One challenge in raising show cattle is breaking a calf to lead. It takes a lot of time, patience, and perseverance. Every animal seems to have its own personality and one year I actually had to tie my steer to a tractor and pull him along for a couple of weeks to really get him broke to lead! He was one stubborn steer! Another challenge is weather – you have to get out and take care of chores no matter what the weather – regardless of blizzard conditions or a heat wave. When there are extreme temperatures it is even more important to check on your herd to be sure none are getting sick. It takes close monitoring and dedication to keep all the cattle healthy.
I’ve enjoyed sharing my cattle when I provided a calf for a community petting zoo. It’s fun to see people get ‘up close and personal’ with a calf and to share some facts with them to help them learn about farm animals. I’ve given packages of beef to local fundraisers like the 4-H Spaghetti meal which helps them raise funds to keep providing excellent programs for youth! I’ve spoken about my 4-H projects to the Kiwanis group which helps promote the benefits of 4-H for youth.
Something I got to do with my beef project that was really neat was be on the planning team for a Cloverbud Camp session about farm animals. The kids who attended were so interested in all the activities and it was great to see them excited to learn.
I have also taught fitting & grooming to those who recently caught calves in the 4-H Scramble on how to prepare them for shows. It’s rewarding to see these new beef project members leading their animals into the show ring with confidence after learning more about showmanship.
In the future, I plan to attend college and major in Animal Science. The beef project has really helped me to love animals even more. I know that I will be able to use many things that I have learned in 4-H such as time management, record keeping, patience, teamwork, and public speaking. Regardless of what my future holds, all of these skills I learned in 4-H will help my future!