4-H Opportunities

Many of the applications and forms referenced below can be found online at www.nc4h.org. There you need to click on “Youth”, then “Awards and Incentives Program”. Don’t forget to visit our Calendar of Events for specific dates and deadlines. Forsyth County deadlines are BEFORE state deadlines.

4-H Project Records

Project records highlight what a 4-H’er has learned and done in a specific project area for a period of 12 months. The books are judged in age categories of: 5-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-15 and 16-18. They are submitted to the County 4-H office at the end of your 4-H year. The top county winners in each of the curriculum areas are then submitted to Raleigh for district competition. They are usually due the first week in January.

4-H Portfolios

This is an accumulation of up to three years of 4-H project work in a major project area. Records are submitted in age categories of 13-15 and 16-18. These are due the first week in January. State winners receive cash awards.

4-H Presentations and Public Speaking

Presentations are a method of presenting information by demonstration or illustrated talk for competition, while a Public Speech involves no props. The time limit is generally between 5 and 12 minutes, with specific time regulations in specific categories. Two county winners in each age group (9-10, 11-13 and 14-18) are selected in a county competition held annually every spring to advance to the district competition. In the 9-10 category, the first place winner from district competition goes on to compete at the State level. In the senior age divisions, the first and second place winners can compete at the State level. State winners in sponsored categories receive cash awards. In specific categories, the state-winning 14-18 year olds may go on to compete at the national level.

4-H Ambassadors

Applicants must be at least 13 years old and a 4-H member for two years as of January 1. Ambassador registrations and portfolios must be approved by a county 4-H professional before submitting to the state 4-H office. 4-H’ers may earn Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald Ambassador levels by completing portfolios for each level. Each level has specific requirements. A 4-H member can only achieve one Ambassador level per portfolio submission. Ambassadors portfolios are submitted in April and October.

Application, Interview, Resume & Essay (AIRE)

Due the first week of May to the County 4-H office. Applicants must be at least 14 years old as of January 1. This program is used to select the delegations to attend National 4-H Congress, National 4-H Conference and the International Leadership Conference. Participants must complete a two-page application and submit a resume of no more than two pages. The resume should highlight the 4-H’ers achievements, project work and leadership throughout their career. The County 4-H Agent must sign off on the application before it is submitted. Interviews are held during 4-H Congress.

Teen Retreat

The North Carolina State 4-H Program is divided into six districts; West, Southwest, South Central, North Central, Northeast and Southeast. Each district has a teen council and elected officers. These teen officers help to plan the district-wide 4-H events for the year, including: District Activity Day, Teen Retreat, and other district teen activities. Teen Retreat is usually held in March and is a lock-in type leadership building retreat that generally offers training and workshops centering around the state 4-H project. 4-H’ers ages 13 to 18 are able to attend. District teen council officers are elected at Teen Retreat.

NC 4-H Congress

Held the third or fourth week of June, NC 4-H Congress is the culminating 4-H event for the year. The event is geared for teen 4-H’ers ages 13-18. Congress is held on the campus of NC State University. Activities of the week include: State 4-H Entertains Showcase, State Presentation Finals, Honor Club Tapping, State-level Hands-to-Service Project, State 4-H Council Officer Elections, Banquets, Dances and lots more.

4-H Camps

The North Carolina 4-H Camping Program offers programming for 4-H’ers of all ages. Counties generally take a delegation of 4-H’ers (ages 8-14) to one of the 4-H camping centers for 4-H Junior Camp each summer. County camp locations and dates change each year. A few of the general 4-H camps utilize Leaders In Training. These are 4-H’ers not quite old enough to be a full time camp counselor – but at least 16 years old. LIT’s generally work at a camp for a week to gain counselor experience. Other 4-H Specialty Camps available are: Fur, Fish and Game, Shooting Sports, Horse, Marine Science, Cloverbud and others. Camp recruitment begins in January of each year.

4-H Electric Congress

North Carolina 4-H Electric Congress is a FREE educational event designed to recognize excellence in the Electric Program throughout the state. Electric Congress travels from region to region of the state, thus allowing for a variety of programming opportunities for everyone. 4-H members participate in workshops, meet their Power Company Representatives, and interact with other electric winners. 4-H’ers must be at least 11 years old to attend. Counties may send 2 project winners, 2 cumulative record participants, and one program recruiter. April 15 is the deadline to register. 4-H Electric Congress is usually held the 2nd week of July.

Livestock and Horse Shows

Each county and district offers a wide variety of animal shows. Generally, the following shows are offered across the state: District Horse Show – held in May, State 4-H Horse Show – held the second week of July, State Dairy Judging – held the end of June, State 4-H Horse Bowl – March, State 4-H Horse Judging – April, State 4-H Livestock Judging and Skill-a-thon – July. There are also opportunities for youth to “borrow” an animal to show at the fair (the farmer keeps it, feeds it and even takes it to the show for you, but you MUST train the animal with the help of extension staff and volunteers).

Clover Classic 4-H Livestock Show

Youth ages 5-18 can exhibit breeding meat-type ewes (female sheep), breeding meat-type does (female goats) and breeding beef heifers (female cattle) at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds in Winston-Salem. The show is held the middle of March. This show is OPEN to youth that live anywhere. Entries are due before the end of February (check the entry information that is linked for a specific date).

4-H College Scholarships

High School Seniors may apply for 4-H scholarships. The application is due to the County 4-H office the first week in January. Applicants need only complete one application form to apply for numerous scholarships. Several of these scholarships are restricted to youth that meet certain criteria. The County 4-H Agent receives information on these scholarships in early December. Scholarship awards range in amounts from $500 to $2000.

NC 4-H Honor Club

A 4-H’er must be 16 years of age or older as of January 1 to apply. Membership is based on a point system involving community service, 4-H activities, leadership and citizenship. Applications are due to your county 4-H office the first week in January. To be inducted is the highest honor available in North Carolina 4-H.

4-H Group Awards

There are several group awards that clubs and other 4-H groups can apply for each year. The NC 4-H Honor Club sponsors the NC 4-H Community Service award. This award is given judged on ONE community service project completed by a 4-H group. Return with supporting materials to your county 4-H office in mid-February. The 4-H Electric Group Form is also due mid-February. A club/group or county program can submit for this award. The form for these awards can be downloaded from the NC 4-H website. State 4-H Project awards change each year with the state 4-H project theme. These awards are generally due in May to the State 4-H office and are presented during NC 4-H Congress.

4-H County Council

Youth ages 11-18 help plan county 4-H events such as Achievement Night, Talent Show and Summer Adventures. Members also help promote 4-H involvement and take on officer roles in the council. Meetings are held the second Monday in January, April, and October (meetings are usually not held in July because of summer events) at 4 PM.

Nutrition Fair

Nutrition Fair

Youth ages 5-18 prepare a dish or beverage in one of the following categories: beverage, breads, desserts, salad/vegetables, main dish or snack food. The dish will be presented along with a place setting to a panel of judges who will review the entry. Each participant will receive prizes, ribbons and scholarship dollars for participating. The contest is typically held the first Tuesday in March, but entries are due the middle of February.

Operation Military Kids Visual Arts Contests

Photography Contest—8 X 10 size images in color or black and white. The themes include: Images of America, Spirit of Patriotism and Celebrating Our Soldiers...Past and Present. Entries are due end of April.

4-H Horse Communication Contests

  • Short Story Writing – 200 to 1000 words, typed, double-spaced or handwritten in ink
  • Poetry – less than 50 lines, typed, double-spaced or handwritten in ink
  • Essay – 200 to 1000 words, typed, double-spaced or handwritten in ink
  • Drawing – matted size 9”x12” to 18”x24”, pencil, chalk, charcoal, pen and ink, or pastels, matted w/3” border
  • Painting – matted size 9”x12” to 18”x24”, watercolor, acrylic, oil, or tempura (Juniors only), matted w/3” border
  • Crafts – woodworking and craft items including horse and rider
  • Photography – 5”x7” - 10”x12” mounted, black-and-white or color
  • Poster – Standard 22”x28”, ANY horse related topic
  • Sewing – articles to be worn by a horse or rider (blanket, saddle pad, grooming apron, boot bags, etc.)

Entries are due the end of April along with a $5 entry fee. Short stories, poems and essays are due the end of April. All other non-writing horse entries are due the middle of June.

Photography Contest

Youth may submit up to four photographs for judging: one each in Beef Cattle, Nature’s Beauty, 4-H in Action and a TBD category. Photos may be in color OR black and white and any size, 8"x10” or smaller will be accepted. Entries in the 9-12 and 13-18 year old categories will advance to the State Competition. Entries are due at the beginning of June.

4-H Poster Contests

Youth may enter the Poultry, Dairy, Career, Beef Contest(s); or can enter all four. Poultry and Dairy entries are due the second week in July. Beef posters are due the end of May and Career posters are due first part of June. All entries must be on standard poster board (22” x 28”). Entries from 5-8 year olds will only be judged on the county level, while the winners in the 9-18 year olds will advance to the state competition. All entries will receive 4-H scholarship dollars. NO clipart or copyrighted material (cartoon characters, etc.) are accepted — original artwork only. No cut-out letters, etc.

  • Dairy Poster Contest - The theme changes every year. Due the middle of June. Age divisions are 5-8, 9-12, 13-15 and 16-19.
  • Beef Poster Contest - The theme changes every year. Due the beginning of June. Age divisions are 5-8, 9-12, 13-16 and 17-21.

4-H Target Sports

Every October, there is a 4-H Shooting Sports tournament (typically held at Millstone 4-H Center in Ellerbe). You may compete as an individual or as part of a team, but you MUST have a 4-H certified shooting sports instructor. Training is held every fall for approved 4-H volunteers to earn certification. Categories include: shotgun (12 or 20 gauge), muzzleloading, rifle match sporter, air pistol, rifle sporter, air rifle, archery compound and archer recurve.

4-H Forestry Judging

Enjoy the fall leaves as you participate in tree identification (25 species), tree measurement (15 trees), forest insect identification (10 species), forest disease identification (10 samples) and forest evaluation (as a team). Teams consist of 3-4 members and the contest is typically held in Raleigh at the Schenck Memorial Forest.

4-H Horticulture Judging and Identification Contest

The contest is a great way to introduce the very cool stories that plants are hoping to tell. Youth learn to recognize and identify some of the most important horticultural crops, learn criteria influencing quality and to be able to answer questions and solve problems relating to the art and science of horticulture. There are three portions of the test, including knowledge, judging and identification. You can compete individually or as a team.

4-H at the Fair

4-H’ers may enter crafts, decorated cakes, photography, entomology (insect) collections, and exhibits at the N.C. State Fair. Entry forms are due Sept. 25th and entries must be received the week before the fair opens (check the current year’s fair catalog for specific rules). 4-H clubs may also do fair booths at the Dixie Classic Fair. Entries are due September 1st, but are first-come, first-serve.

All 4-H events or activities operate under the 4-H Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure. The NC 4-H Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure is a condition of participation in 4-H events and activities.