Green & Growing

Franklin County 4-H News - July 1, 2020


We’re happy to share we’ve received approval from Ohio State University leadership to resume in-person 4-H club meetings and activities starting immediately and do not have to wait until July 7. Ohio 4-H clubs that choose to begin meeting in-person must follow the guidelines listed below to promote the health and safety of our 4-H community, as we face the challenge of COVID-19.

Clubs choosing to meet in-person should provide virtual connection options for members who have that preference. Please note that in-person 4-H club meetings, activities and other events may be suspended at any time if local, state, federal, and/or university authorities issue new restrictions. 4-H meetings and activities can only be held in person if Ohio 4-H Planning Guide for In-Person Meetings & Events guidelines can be followed. These guidelines provide expectations for all members, volunteers, and their families while participating in 4-H club meetings and activities.


Why do we evaluate 4-H projects?

Children join 4-H to have fun and make new friends. One reason why 4-H is so successful is because children choose to do whatever interests them. As participation increases, 4-H’ers learn more, begin to assess progress for themselves, and look to others for evaluation of their work. The judging process in 4-H is like real life. 4-H’ers set goals, work to achieve them, and reap rewards for their efforts.

Having one’s accomplishments evaluated can be motivating and educational for 4-H’ers. When judges critique their work or performance, it serves as a guide to further improvement. The judging process is probably more valuable than the award or recognition. To plan, practice, and present a finished product is to “learn by doing.” To graciously accept constructive criticism of one’s work is a real life experience. 4-H’ers learn quickly that judging results reflect a personal opinion, and that evaluation will vary among judges.

Source: New Jersey 4-H Understanding 4-H Judging - Rutgers Cooperative Extension

How are 4-H projects evaluated?

The judge interviews the participant as he/she evaluates the product against a set of standards. The purpose of this judging is to determine what the 4-H’er learned in completing the project. Comments are provided verbally and also in writing on a scoresheet.

In 4-H, most judging involves the Danish system of judging. In this system, the judges do not judge one person’s work by comparing it to another. The evaluation is made against a standard. A judge looks to see whether requirements are met.

Project Evaluation Ribbons

  • Superior Ribbon - If the work meets high standards and receives an excellent rating in all criteria, the member receives a blue project ribbon as well as a another ribbon called the superior ribbon.
  • Outstanding Ribbon - If the work represents excellent ratings or very good ratings in all criteria, the member receives a blue project ribbon as well as another ribbon called the outstanding ribbon.
  • Blue Ribbon - If the project receives an excellent, very good, good, or satisfactory rating in all of the criteria, the member receives a blue project ribbon.
  • Red Ribbon - A red ribbon signifies a project that shows some good work that will benefit from further improvements
  • White Ribbon - A white ribbon signifies the project meets some standards but does not complete all of the project requirements.

One advantage of this system is that everyone whose work fulfills minimum qualification can receive a ribbon. If all entries are judged to be of great quality, all receive blue ribbons. The purpose of using the Danish judging system is to give every 4-H member the recognition deserved for the work that was done. It also helps young people recognize the need to improve their skills and to “make the best better.”

Peer Competition

Danish judging focuses on set standards, the other part of the Franklin County 4-H project judging process compares one 4-H member's work to another. This is peer competition. This type of judging may be used to select the “best” projects within a class. An example of this would be awarding a “Best of Show” rosette or a "State Fair Selection" rosette to the project that the judge deems most deserving of the award.

*Note - This year, while the State Fair has been canceled, it was determined that many of our youth still very much look forward to striving for the State Fair Selection rosette and we will therefore still be awarding these rosettes to keep the process as normal as possible for the youth. However winners of this award will not be able to continue on to the State competition.

Source: New Jersey 4-H Understanding 4-H Judging - Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Score Sheet for all 2020 4-H Project Interviews

Big picture


Judges have a special interest in young people, and may have knowledge in a particular subject matter area, as a hobby or career. They are selected by staff and volunteers for their knowledge and interest in youth. All of them are generously donating their time this year. Judges must know the rules and criteria agreed upon by the 4-H participants, the 4-H leaders, and the 4-H staff.

Each judge should is given information about the judging activity including scoring sheets. In addition, judges should be aware of and understand the philosophy behind the 4-H program and the purpose of evaluating 4-H member's projects and performance. A judges’ orientation helps to ensure a fair judging experience for everyone.


Our top priority is making sure that youth have the opportunity to showcase their effort in an environment that is safe for 4-H members, families, judges, volunteers, and staff. All 4-H project judging interviews will:

  1. Require masks to be worn by members and judges.
  2. Utilize table barriers between judges and participants.
  3. Require hand hygiene and/or gloves when touching books, etc.
  4. Mandate cleaning judging tables and chairs between each interview.
  5. Be offered as in-person and virtual for the member to choose between.
    (you can contact us for last minute illness by emailing
Project Judging What to Expect


Members will schedule an appointment for each of their projects using the SignUpGenius website. An appointment MUST be made for in-person AND virtual evaluations.

What if I have multiple projects to schedule? - No problem. Be sure to schedule at least 20 minutes between each appointment time so you aren't rushed. Don't schedule two project appointments at the same time! If the projects are judged on different days, just click the Back to Sign-Up button after scheduling for each event/day. That will take you back to the appointment page. ONLY MAKE AN APPOINTMENT FOR PROJECTS THAT YOU MADE A FAIR ENTRY FOR.

What if I'm showing an animal the same day as an interview for another 4-H project? - Most of the livestock shows take place in the morning. We suggest scheduling an appointment for as late as possible. If that isn't an option, just schedule an appointment for a time that is available, and we'll work with you that day to make sure you can do both. It may require a parent or sibling walking over to the interview check-in table to let us know you're showing.

Watch the video above and then make an appointment with SignUpGenius:

Accomodations for Project Evaluations

If you have a disability and have questions about accessibility or wish to request accommodations you can complete a Winning 4-H Plan.

If you have any questions, please contact Beth at


Pre-fair livestock and horse evaluations will not take place this year. All livestock and horse project books will be turned in at show check-ins. Participants MUST submit a completed book in order to be eligible to show.


Members with the following horse project and have made fair entries for them will schedule an appointment for their interview.

  • Horseless Horse
  • Horse Not on Special Exhibit Project Interview
  • Relationship Project Interview
  • Partnership Project Interview

Make an appointment with SignUpGenius:

2020 Rabbit Exhibitors

In order to maintain a surface that can be easily disinfected between shows the Junior Fair Board has decided not to use the carpeted tables. This year we are asking all rabbit exhibitors (breeding and market) to provide a carpet square for the day of the show. The size of your carpet square should be no bigger than 24 x 36 inches.

This we believe...

  • 4-H youth are more important than 4-H projects.
  • Learning how to do a project is more important than the project itself.
  • “Learning by doing” through useful project work is fundamental in any sound educational program and characteristic of the 4-H program.
  • There is more than one good way to do most things.
  • Our job is to teach 4-H members how to think - not what to think.
  • A balanced program of work and play, geared to the individual’s needs, is more important than “grooming winners”.
  • Competition is a natural human trait and should be recognized as such in 4-H work. But it should be given no more emphasis than other 4-H fundamentals.
  • No 4-H award is worth sacrificing the reputation of a 4-H member or a 4-H leader.
  • Every 4-H member needs to be noticed, to feel important, to experience success and to be praised!
  • A blue ribbon 4-H member with a red ribbon project is more desirable than a red ribbon member with a blue ribbon project.

Source: New Jersey 4-H Understanding 4-H Judging - Rutgers Cooperative Extension