• By Erin McSpadden
  • Posted Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The 5 W’s (and an H) of 4-H PRBs and Portfolios

A great way to keep up with your 4-H accomplishments and activities is to complete a 4-H Project Record Book and/or a Portfolio. These make applying to college and for college scholarships easy! This article explains these activities and answers questions about both of these 4-H competitions. Note that this article contains A LOT of information about both Project Record Books and Portfolios. Be sure to read all the way to the end, so you do not miss important information.

Forsyth County 4-H was very well represented in the 2015 Project Record and Portfolio judging and brought home many medals. You can read about them on the county 4-H homepage. Consider asking these young people (or their parents) for advice on your book.

If you need help with Project Record Books or Portfolios, please contact April Bowman at the 4-H office at 336-703-2855 or email Mrs. April at awbowman@ncsu.edu.

Project Record Books (PRBs)

Who can make a PRB?

PRBs are completed in the following age categories: 5-8 year olds (at the county level only), 9 - 10 year olds; 11 - 12 year olds; 13 - 15 year olds; and 16 - 18 year olds.

What are PRBs?

PRBs allow you to track your knowledge and experiences in a particular subject area over the course of a year. Usually, 4-H’ers follow a 4-H Curriculum Guide over the course of a year and use a PRB to track and show what they’ve learned. Curriculum Guides exist in a wide array of categories and subjects. (Note: we try to keep a copy of all the curricula available in our office and can typically provide them at a cheaper cost than you can order them directly. Contact Ms. Erin or Mrs. April to schedule a time to view our curricula.) You do not have to use a Curriculum Guide to make a PRB. You can choose your own topic to research and track for a year.

Once the 4-H records are turned in to our office, we sort them by the following categories:

  • animal science
  • communication arts
  • citizenship and civic education
  • personal development and leadership
  • environmental and natural resources
  • family and consumer sciences
  • healthy lifestyles
  • plant science
  • 4-H discovery (only for 9 - 10 year olds)
  • science and technology

You can submit as many books to county as you would like, but 9-18 year olds may each send only TWO books, (in two DIFFERENT categories) to district each year.

How do I make a PRB?

Begin your PRB by downloading the forms for your "4-H age" (the age you were on January 1, 2016) from our county website (under project forms). These forms provide guidelines and the structure for you to create your PRB.

Those of you who have submitted PRBs in the past may notice that the forms for 9-12 year olds have changed this year (the forms for 13-18 year olds changed last year).

PRBs should have a label in the upper right-hand corner when you turn them in with the 4-H'ers Name, County, District (which is North Central), Age Category, and Project Category. If you need help determining a category please let us know! PRBs should be either three hole punched or placed in protective sleeves and then placed in a three pronged folder.

When are PRBs due?

PRBs for 2016 are due on January 10, 2017. NO EXCEPTIONS!

Note that PRBs track a 4-H’ers project for a calendar year, so they are always due in January and should contain the previous year’s work. If you haven’t completed a project in 2016, now is a great time to plan your work for 2017.

ALL PROJECT BOOKS should be signed by your 4-H club leader (if you are a member of a 4-H club). Their signature is a way for them to say, "Yes, I believe that this 4-H'er participated in these activities and completed this book as their own work." Please schedule a time to have your club leader sign your book! Please do NOT assume that you will “run into them” at the Extension Center.

Where do I turn in my PRBs?

Turn in your PRBs to April Bowman at the Forsyth County Extension Building (1450 Fairchild Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27105). You may mail them in or bring them in-person but they must be received by close of business on January 10th.

Why should I do a PRB?

Project Record Books sound a little boring, but you can make them interesting and exciting! As members work on their projects, we encourage them to take pictures of their progress. These pictures help to tell a powerful story of learning and fun that happens at club meetings, community service projects, county 4-H events, and so much more.

Moreover, PRBs provide a way for you to organize and present your 4-H activities. That way, when you apply to college and/or scholarships, all of your information and activities are organized in one location. Your book shouldn't be a copy of someone else's work. Even though you may have done similar activities as a sibling, this is YOUR individual work.

Youth earn 4-H scholarship dollars just for turning in a project book. How much they earn is determined by the quality of the book. The top two books in each of the age categories and in each curriculum area advance to district competition where the winners can earn cash prizes. However, each 4-H member may send a maximum of two books to district judging.

4-H Portfolios

Who can make a 4-H Portfolio?

Our teenage 4-H'ers, i.e. 13 - 15 year olds and 16 - 18 year olds, are eligible to compete in the 4-H Portfolio Competition.

What are 4-H Portfolios?

Three consecutive years of PRBs (including this year, 2016) can be submitted together as a Portfolio for judging at the county, district, and state level. The information in this book should all be in one project area. They are just like a project book, but contain three years’ worth of data.

Categories for Portfolios include:

  • Animal Science
    • Agriculture
    • Beef
    • Dairy
    • Poultry Production & Preparation
    • Horse
    • Sheep/Goat
    • Veterinary Sciences
    • Swine
  • Citizenship & Civic Education (Citizenship & Community Service)
  • Communication & Expressive Arts
    • Public Speaking
    • Expressive Arts
  • Environmental Science (Forestry & Natural Resources)
  • Family and Consumer Science
  • Healthy Lifestyles
    • Foods & Nutrition
    • Health & Safety
    • Sports Nutrition
  • Personal Development
    • Achievement
    • Leadership
    • Personal Development and Careers
  • Plant Science (Plant & Horticultural Sciences)
  • Science & Technology
    • Electric Energy
    • Science & Technology

How do I make a 4-H Portfolio?

You may visit our county website (also under project forms) to download your portfolio. Portfolios should have a label in the upper right hand corner when you turn them in with the 4-H'ers Name, County, District (which is North Central), Age Category, and Project Category. If you need help determining a category please let us know! Portfolios should be placed in the official 4-H record book holder that is available for free in our office or can be ordered online at the 4-H mall.

When are 4-H Portfolios due?

Portfolios are due on (or before) January 17th (this gives you an extra week to work on them after PRBs).

Where do I turn in my 4-H Portfolios?

Turn in your 4-H Portfolios to April Bowman at the Forsyth County Extension Building (1450 Fairchild Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27105). You may mail them in or bring them in-person but they must be received in hand by close of business on January 17th.

Why should I do a 4-H Portfolio?

You should complete a 4-H Portfolio for all the reasons you do a PRB. Portfolios provide a way for you to organize and present your 4-H activities. That way, when you apply to college and/or scholarships, all of your information and activities are organized in one location. And don’t forget - you can earn 4-H scholarship dollars just for turning in a 4-H Portfolio!

4-H Awards

Learn more about all the 4-H awards and read specific rules for PRB, Portfolios, and more in the NC 4-H Awards Handbook.

Contact April Bowman, Extension Agent, Livestock, Forages and 4-H Youth Development for more information or with specific questions (awbowman@ncsu.edu or 336-703-2855).

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