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One of the tenants of the 4-H program is the opportunity for youth to showcase what they have learned. Sometimes this occurs during the county fair or a contest. But youth also have the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills during county and district events. This competitive opportunity is the culminating experience of a 4-H project. County and District events are typically held in the spring and qualify for state demonstrations, illustrated talks, public speaking, and share the fun (talent) acts.  While participation is optional, this program was designed to give youth a safe space to practice life and leadership skills and receive recognition for all their hard work during the 4-H year. Together, this helps build youths’ self-confidence and poise. If you are new to 4-H, or not familiar with county and district events, this article will provide an overview, as well as some resources to help prepare!

What are County/District Events?

County and District events are an opportunity for youth to showcase what they have learned about their project and practice communication skills. Of all the life skills we teach in 4-H, communication is probably one of the top skills that can benefit youth regardless of what career path they choose. During this event, youth have the opportunity to showcase their skills and knowledge through a variety of contests which include: prepared public speaking, demonstrations (show and tell presentations), illustrated talks (speeches with visual aids), graphic design, photography, and talent show.

What Skills Do Youth Learn Through This Program? 

County and District events are an opportunity for youth to learn how to communicate with others. It also helps them work towards a standard. Judges provide positive feedback about their presentation and suggestions for improvement. This helps youth build poise and confidence when speaking in front of groups. Youth who receive a red or blue quality ribbon at County Events have the opportunity to proceed to District events and compete with youth from surrounding counties. Agents and volunteers can work with the youth between competitions to polish their presentations, but the overall topic/theme should remain the same. Senior youth (ages 14-18) who receive a red or blue quality ribbon at District events can proceed to the state competition which takes place during 4-H University.

Why Should My Child Get Involved?

County and District 4-H Events provide a safe space for youth to learn and provide a positive competition experience. While not everyone gets a trophy, youth compete against themselves- that means they are judged against a standard and earn a ribbon based on the standard score. They also receive constructive feedback on how to improve.

What Resources Are Available to Help My Club/Child?

Most county extension programs offer a workshop to help youth prepare their presentations. You can find more information in our 4-H Events and Activities Handbook. We also have previous blog posts with links to the criteria, judging sheets, and training videos. If you are interested in more opportunities like this for your child, OR if you are willing to serve as a judge for competitive events, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office.

Heather Kent
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