NDSU Extension - Cass County

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National 4-H Recognition Model

The National 4-H Recognition Model includes five types of recognition. It is important for adults who work with 4-H'ers to provide appropriate recognition to all participants. Recognition of 4-H'ers for participation in educational experiences acknowledges involvement as a first step in building a positive self concept. Recognition of progress toward personal goals enables youth to gain experience in goal-setting and realistic self-assessment. Recognition of the achievement of generally recognized standards of excellence gives youth an external, pre-determined target for their learning experiences. Recognition through peer competition is a strong motivation for some but not all young people. Recognition for cooperation helps youth learn and work cooperatively, preparing them for living in today's inter-dependent, global society.

1. Participation 
This type of recognition program emphasizes the importance of acknowledging young people who have been involved in 4-H educational experiences. For some youth, participation in a 4-H learning experience is an accomplishment.

2. Progress Toward Self-Set Goals 
Parents and other adults can help youth set realistic goals. Recognition for progress toward self-set goals, no matter how small, is an integral part of this type of recognition.

3. Achievement of Standards of Excellence
Standards of excellence are established by experts in a given area. By measuring personal progress against standards of excellence, youth can gain insight into their own efforts and abilities.

4. Peer Competition
Peer competition is a part of the model for recognition. This type of recognition subjectively identifies, in a concrete time and place, the best team or individual. It is a strong motivator for some youth but is inappropriate for youth under age eight.

5. Cooperation
Learning and working together promotes high achievement. Cooperation may take advantage of all the skills represented in the group, as well as the process by which the group approaches the learning task/goal. Everyone is rewarded.

The Recognition Model can be used to design a recognition system to meet the needs of all youth. Designing a recognition system involves: Looking at the young people: their needs, interests, attitudes and aspirations. Understanding differences between people based on background and experiences; differences in behavior in people; differences between similar types of people. Using recognition that encourages and supports learning, and satisfies intrinsic and extrinsic needs. It has to balance recognition for participation, progress toward self set goals, achievement of standards of excellence, competition and cooperation.

For more information and questions, please contact:
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Sarah McNaughton, NDSU Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
701-241-5798
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