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Awards and Recognition
One of the main goals of the Oregon 4-H program is to provide a positive environment in which youth can grow and develop confidence, a sense of accomplishment, and a greater level of competence. This environment is created, in part, by the recognition offered to 4-H members as acknowledgment and affirmation of their growth, development, and contribution. Oregon 4-H understands the importance of recognition and award programs as a way to foster the development of self-esteem and self-reliance, two important self-concepts that help ensure a healthy adult life. Recognition, awards, and competition can have a large influence on young people, often providing an incentive for further learning and the inspiration to continue learning. In addition, recognition and award programs provide individuals and businesses an opportunity to publicly support young people and their accomplishments, leading to a better connection between youth and community.
Consistent with the National 4-H Recognition Model, Oregon 4-H members are recognized when they participate in a 4-H learning experience, make progress toward goals, achieve a standard of excellence, excel in competition, or participate in collaborative and group efforts. The Oregon 4-H program provides a variety of informal and formal opportunities for youth to gain recognition. In most cases, recognition opportunities begin at the local or county level and then proceed to the state level. Older youth are provided significant opportunities for recognition at both the state and national level. While the recognition programs vary somewhat from county to county, statewide recognition programs are available to all eligible 4-H members.
The National 4-H Recognition Model includes five types of recognition. It is important for adults who work with 4-H'ers to provide appropriate recognition to all participants. Recognition of 4-H'ers for participation in educational experiences acknowledges involvement as a first step in building a positive self concept. Recognition of progress toward personal goals enables youth to gain experience in goal-setting and realistic self-assessment. Recognition of the achievement of generally recognized standards of excellence gives youth an external, pre-determined target for their learning experiences. Recognition through peer competition is a strong motivation for some but not all young people. It is not appropriate for youth under age eight. Recognition for cooperation helps youth learn and work cooperatively, preparing them for living in today's inter-dependent, global society.
This type of recognition program emphasizes the importance of acknowledging young people who have been involved in 4-H educational experiences. For some youth, participation in a 4-H learning experience is an accomplishment.
2. Progress Toward Self-Set Goals
Parents and other adults can help youth set realistic goals. Recognition for progress toward self-set goals, no matter how small, is an integral part of this type of recognition.
3. Achievement of Standards of Excellence
Standards of excellence are established by experts in a given area. By measuring personal progress against standards of excellence, youth can gain insight into their own efforts and abilities.
4. Peer Competition
Peer competition is a part of the model for recognition. This type of recognition subjectively identifies, in a concrete time and place, the best team or individual. It is a strong motivator for some youth but is inappropriate for youth under age eight.
Learning and working together promotes high achievement. Cooperation may take advantage of all the skills represented in the group, as well as the process by which the group approaches the learning task/goal. Everyone is rewarded.
The Recognition Model can be used to design a recognition system to meet the needs of all youth. Designing a recognition system involves: Looking at the young people: their needs, interests, attitudes and aspirations. Understanding differences between people based on background and experiences; differences in behavior in people; differences between similar types of people. Using recognition that encourages and supports learning, and satisfies intrinsic and extrinsic needs. It has to balance recognition for participation, progress toward self set goals, achievement of standards of excellence, competition and cooperation.
The State Recognition Committee is composed of up to six county Extension agents and up to twelve volunteer 4 H leaders, each of whom serve for a three-year term. Preference is given to applicants from counties not currently or recently represented on the committee. The committee meets twice yearly, once in March and again in June. The State Recognition Committee is chaired by the 4-H Specialist who is responsible for recognition programs.
In March the committee meets to review the 4-H Resumes of 4-H members applying for National 4-H Congress, State 4-H Scholarships and State Level Recognition Awards. Resumes are submitted to the State 4-H Office by March 1 of each year. Please refer to the section entitled Submitting Your 4-H Resume for more information on the submission process.
Following the March meeting the State Recognition Committee announces:
- State Scholarship Recipients
- State Fair 4-H Scholarship Finalists
- Babe Coe Scholarship Finalists
- National 4-H Congress Finalists
In June the committee meets in conjunction with the State Summer 4-H Conference held each summer at Oregon State University. The purpose of the June meeting is to select the National 4-H Congress Delegation and select the state award winners for Citizenship, Leadership, Communication and the Community Service Team Award.
County Recognition Committee
Each county may elect to have its own county recognition committee. It is suggested that the establishment of such a committee be done by the county Extension agent in cooperation with the county 4 H advisory committee. Terms of service should be established to allow for new membership each year while keeping a number of experienced members on the committee.
County Recognition Committee membership may include:
- 4 H club and community leaders, school enrichment teachers, special program leaders
- Donors to the 4-H program including local and/or representatives of national donors
- Resource/Activity Leaders
- Community leaders (i.e. news media, school or business)
Suggested functions of the committee may include:
- Train volunteer leaders/members on the use of recognition in the development of 4 H members.
- Inform volunteer leaders/members on opportunities available in the 4 H program.
- Train volunteer leaders/members on preparing records in the 4 H programs.
- Train volunteer leaders/members on preparing the State 4-H Resume.
- Identify needs in the recognition program (usually in cooperation with other committees).
- Solicit donors, screen awards and make arrangements for donor's involvement in 4 H program.
- Arrange for appropriate recognition activities.
- Select or provide for nomination of recipients of awards.
Although each county's recognition committee may vary from the suggested form, it is very important that the county 4-H faculty or any one other individual does not select the award winners.