Record Book Information


2018 Record Book Checks

  • May 23, 4-7pm, office
  • May 30, 4-7pm, Green Acres School, Lebanon
  • June 6, 4-7pm, Scio
  • June 13, 4-7pm, office

Please use the forms from the State 4-H projects website for your record book.


So, you are wondering about record books? You are in good company! Many new members and leaders have no idea what a record book "is," much less how to "do" one. Even experienced members are unsure of what to do. They avoid the task, figuring that it is more trouble than it is worth. You will be relieved to know that completing a record book is not difficult and it is definitely worth the effort!

This is a guide for leaders, parents, and members who want to know more about the "why's," "how's," and "when's" of 4-H record books, including page by page examples and notes.


Records are a written summary of 4-H activities and projects. Records need to show what the member has learned, what they have done in their projects, how 4-H has helped them, and the activities in which they have participated. Your county Extension office has specific forms (records) to help members keep track of important information. Go to your project area on the following link to get specific forms like Feed and Growth Record, Production Record, Explanation Cards, etc.

Junior Animal Science Record

Intermediate/Senior Science Record


Your records show your growth through the years. It lists how you have helped others, what you have been able to teach and share as well as learn. It shows profit and loss and goals set and accomplished. It is a reflection of YOU.

As you keep your records you will be developing personal skills in financial management, recording useful information and memories, and evaluating your experiences and personal growth. This will give you a tool to share your experience with others and will also help plan for the next year.

There are many reasons to keep Record Books such as:

  • Record books are often used to select a member for special opportunities such as camps, exchanges, and other exciting adventures.
  • A resource to use when completing employment, college, and scholarship applications.
  • Learning important skills, attitudes and habits.
  • To receive county and/or state recognition.
  • To have an invaluable personal history and memory book.
  • To document what you have done. (This might come in handy to a prospective employer.)
  • To learn how to establish goals and plan for next year.
  • To reflect and evaluate progress and personal growth.
  • To promote 4-H at various speaking engagements.


Records should be started at the beginning of the official 4-H year (October 1st) and be completed by the end of that year (September 30th). Write things down right after they happen, either on a piece of notebook paper, on a calendar, or in the proper place for records. This helps with accuracy and neatness. New members start at the time of enrollment. If you are new to doing records you are not required to do previous years except by choice. You may just begin with your current year of participation.


  • Use pencil, ballpoint pen, or type. A computer can also be used. If you use a computer, use size 10 or 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font.
  • Fill in as much information as you can, but sometimes there may be blanks. This is quite all right.
  • Write the year only once (08-09) at the beginning of each section, each year.
  • Do not cover pages with plastic sheets.
  • Use any type of binder to hold pages together (3-ring is ok) just be sure that all of your pages are secure.
  • Adventurer members may keep their own records for personal reference and memories, but do not need to submit.


Be Specific

  • Tell all there is to know.
  • Instead of using letters like A.R.B.A, write out American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) the first time it is used. Maybe others have never heard of the letters.
  • Use numbers: tell how many dishes you prepared, how many times you gave a presentation, how many in the audience, how much profit or loss, how many cans of food collected, how many photos you took, how many animals in your project(s), how many hours worked. Numbers show growth.

Do Not Repeat

  • Each item should be entered only once in the record book. The exception to this rule is when an activity covers two areas, like leadership and community service. For example: the club might do a canned food drive and members enter it under community service; however, if the member has planned the details, arranged for transportation, and supervised delivery of the food - those activities would also be listed under leadership.

How to Share Knowledge

  • Tell about the animal you helped, the friend you taught, the grandmother or elderly neighbor you assisted with chores, presentations you gave about your project or 4-H, the needy for which you collected food or clothes.
  • Any of these things can be expanded upon in the 4-H Notes section of your record book.

4-H Story / Notes - revised 10/23/14 

There are several different ways to complete your story, you may use pen or pencil, or it may be typed or computer generated. You may chose to use the 4-H Notes page or a plain white 8 ½" x 11" sheet of paper. The story is to be single sided on a sheet of paper and a maximum of 3 pages long. It is a good idea to use the story to introduce yourself. Each time your record book is submitted you will write a new story to reflect the past 4-H year.

Stories may be written as creatively as you wish, in a story or diary format. If using a diary format you might want to write it as the year progresses. If something within your permanent records needs further explaining, this might be an ideal place to do that.

Write about your 4-H projects and activities. What did you learn that year? What made you select that project? Have your projects grown in size or gotten more advanced? How were you successful or unsuccessful? If you were unsuccessful, what might you have done differently to achieve a different result? Did you make any money from your project? What about loss? What was a special activity you did? Did you meet any new people? Was there an embarrassing or sentimental moment? What was the best experience you had?

Explain how 4-H has helped you become the person you are. How have you grown as a leader or citizen? What have you learned from your experiences working with others? Describe a community service you have completed. What have you learned from the experience? Did it make you think differently? What have you learned about yourself?

Tell about your plans for the future. Did 4-H play a part in shaping these plans? Have you achieved any of the goals you set? How have you grown over the past year? Is there someone who has been especially helpful to you? Did you participate in activities alone or with others? What was their impact on what you were doing? Were there any new leadership responsibilities you took on? What was your favorite or least favorite experience?

These are all great questions to consider when beginning to write your story.

Newspaper Clippings / Photographs

Newspaper clippings and photographs may be included in your 4-H Record Book. These can be neatly attached to a sturdy 8 ½" x 11" sheet of paper, either plain or colored. A heavier card stock is a good choice. Be sure to include dated captions under each photo to give a brief explanation of the picture. You may use up to 3 single sided pages to display your photos or clippings. Feel free to be a bit creative in how you arrange your photos. A high quality color copy or computer printout of the entire page is acceptable if the member prefers not to send actual photographs. Page protectors may be used for this section ONLY. Please do not include items such as registrations or pedigree papers. Ribbons, certificates or other scrapbook type items should not be included in your book.

Project Records

Records for each project enrolled should be included in your book. Each project needs to have its own divider separating it from the other projects or sections. Project records detail what you did or learned. They also help you to keep track of expenses and income for the year. Project records are a good journal for every project you have completed or worked on that year. The project size should match what you have written on page II of your permanent record.

Advancements are optional but highly recommended. Certificates are available for completed steps; ask your leader about them. They may be securely attached to a sheet of card stock behind the advancement books.

Helpful Reminders and Suggestions:

  • All project records should begin at the beginning of the project year (October 1st) or when project was started if it was after October 1st. All records close on September 30th of the following year.
  • Your project records help to show the size and involvement of your project.
  • A new set of project records are required each year except for Advancements and production records. This includes leadership projects.
  • If you are a Junior or Teen Leader you must submit a leadership record every year.
  • The photography project is allowed to have additional pages of photos to show your work. This is limited to 10 single sided pages. The use of a card stock is recommended.
  • You may want to keep a calendar or log of all expenses, income and activities you did through out the year.
  • Only approved forms may be used. Check with your local county Extension office or the state website for necessary forms.

Assembling Your Record Book

  • Use any type of binder to hold pages together (3-ring is ok) just be sure that all of your pages are secure. A green 4-H folder can be ordered from the 4-H Source Book.
  • You must use dividers in appropriate locations. Each project must have a divider.
  • Please do not use plastic sheet covers on record book pages.
  • Assemble your record book in the following order ( a divider should be placed between every section:

    1. My Resume pages
    2. 4-H Story/Notes
    3. Project Records (including Advancements with each project)
    4. Photos and News clippings
  • Watch for workshops throughout the year on how to assemble your record book.
  • For additional assistance contact a member of the County Record Book Committee.
Adapted from: Clackamas County Awards & Recognition Committee  
200 Warner Milne Rd, Oregon City, OR 97045  
Compiled by Sheila Kester and Loyal Hjelmervik  
Some material adapted from material developed by Yvonne Kam, Yamhill County 4-H Leader  
We also acknowledge the input from Jan Martin, Educational Program Assistant, Department of 4-H Youth and Development and Duane P. Johnson, State 4-H Program Leader  
2007 Revised by the Metro Awards and Recognition Committee  
Some material adapted from Josephine, Jackson and Polk County Record Handbooks.  


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