You may also download a printable Cascade County 4-H Leaders Guide to Judging Record Books.

Books will be judged at the club level. Leaders should not be judging their own children's record books.


  • One Record Book Review Card shall be filled out by the leader for each member's record book.The information from this form will be used to fill out the Club Completion Report. Afterjudging, this form will be returned to the member with their record book. All projects that themember is enrolled in (after the add/drop date in May) must be included in the judging,regardless if the member finished them or not.
  • Fill out Member's Name and Club
  • Mark each section of My 4-H Year as either complete or incomplete (with comments)oIf any section of My 4-H Year is incomplete, the member did not complete the recordbook and did not complete the current 4-H year. Areas that did not apply to themember must be marked N/A.
  • Fill out the Non-Animal Project Journal and Financial Record and Animal Project Journal andFinancial Record checklists. Use the 4-H Activities Required by Project table to verify thespecific project requirements (Required Activities and Learning Experiences Fulfilled). Learningexperiences do NOT have to be in the project manual to count as an activity--it must be relatedto the project and be documented in the "What I did-What I learned" section, project manual,or livestock interview judging summary.
    • If any section of an individual project journal is not included (and therefore, cannotbe marked off), then the project is not complete. If one or more project is notcomplete, then the member is not eligible for a Seal of Excellence.
    • It is acceptable for members to add narrative to document activities experiencedthroughout the year in addition to the "What I did-What I learned" section.Reference to narrative should be made in journal section.
  • Using the Summary, determine if the member completed any projects for this 4-H year.
  • Using the Seal of Excellence checklist, determine if the member qualifies for a Seal of Excellence. (A Seal of Excellence must be obtained to qualify for Memorial, 25 or 30-YearLeader, and Special Achievement Awards.)

Judging is based on completeness, not content. The goal is to verify that all sections are complete according to the guidelines. Members will not be penalized or compensated in judging for:

  • Handwritten versus Typed
  • Spelling or Grammar
  • Sentence Structure
  • Neatness or Organization

If any of these are issues, it would be appropriate to include suggestions for improvement in the comments section but should have NO effect on the outcome.

Pictures are NOT required for a completed record book.

In the event of omissions or errors found during the record book review by club leaders, it will be possible for members to make corrections to their record books. This will be subject to coordination by club leaders and members and must be completed in a timely fashion to meet the county deadline.

Club Completion Report:

  • One Club Completion Report will be completed per club. This is to be turned in to the CascadeCounty Extension Office for any awards.
  • Members who are eligible for Memorial, 30 and 25-Year Leader, or Special AchievementAwards will have their Seal of Excellence awarded record books, AND nomination forms, AND any required narratives turned into the Cascade County Extension Office with this report.
  • Ensure all information (name, years in 4-H, years in project) are correct on the Club CompletionReport•On the same line as each project listed and under the heading "Did Member Complete (Project)Year:”
    • Enter Yes or No
      • Based on the information from the Record Book Review Card listed eitherunder the Non-Animal Project and Financial Journal section or AnimalRecord and Financial Journal section as "Project Year Complete"
      • Each project will be recorded as Yes or No.
  • On the same line as the “Member Name” and under the heading "Did Member Complete (4-H) Year:”
    • Enter Yes or No
      • Based on the information from the Record Book Review Card.
  • On the same line as the Member's Name and under the heading "Seal of Excellence:”
    • Enter Yes or No
      • Based on the information from the Record Book Review Card.
      • Both questions under the Seal of Excellence Checklist must be recorded as Yes for the member to qualify for the Seal of Excellence.

Memorial, 30-Year Leader, and Special Achievement Awards:

4-H Leaders may make nominations for Memorial Awards, 30 or 25-Year Leader Awards, and Special Achievement Awards. Members must submit a narrative (see below) for a Special Achievement Award in a specific project.

Special Achievement Awards nominations must be submitted with a narrative written by the 4-H member that includes information specific to each award they are nominated for that clearly outlines achievements by the member befitting the award. More detailed descriptions of required narratives can be found on the Award Description Form. All award nominated record books, nomination forms, and any required narratives must be turned into the Cascade County Extension Office by the deadline set out in the Record Book and Project Completion Guidelines.

Leader’s Guide to Judging Record Books Revised 2020.11, previous editions obsolete

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Montana State University and Montana State University Extension prohibit discrimination in all of their programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status.