Marion County

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Marion County 4-H Standards of Excellence

July 5, 2018

Marion County 4-H Achieving Standards  of Excellence


We encounter standards at all ages and stages of life. Most have been developed by experts. Sometimes the individual responsible for achieving or living up to the standards is involved in developing them.  Some standards have developed over time and are generally understood and accepted, though not written down.

Many “rites of passage” can be called standards. These include religious and civil ceremonies that indicate a stage of life has been reached. Examples include marriage; bar mitzvah, confirmation or catechism; voting eligibility; and registering for military service. Other rites of passage include buying a house, moving out of parent’s home, and retirement.

Societal requirements that indicate a level of ability of skill can be called standards. They include a driver’s license, Red Cross life saving certificate, CPR certificate, etc. Some standards define a level of education or qualifications to perform a specific job. These include a high school diploma; post high school degree; or licensing for nursing, engineering, social work, or teaching certificates.

Expectations about personal behavior often are less obvious standards. Examples include ground rules for a youth group or family rules. In some situations, adults set standards for young people.  In others, youth and adults together establish standards. In some situations, standards are determined by the individual or group of people who are working toward the standards.  Examples are social clubs, behavior expectations for a field trip, or grade contracts for academic work. It is important to remember that standards for behavior set by adults may be very difficult for youth to understand, and these standards often fail to take into account personal standards set by the young person.  

Standards relate to a socially accepted product or positive behavior. However, standards can encourage deviant behavior. Examples of deviant behavior are when rules are used by groups to promote racial hatred, gang violence, or hazing.

Permission to use content received from

Florida University IFAS Extension, 2016

Why Are Performance Standards a Part of the 4-H Program?

Performance standards make youth aware of the opportunities available in the 4-H program and to encourage members to become active participants. 

Who awards the members for achieving performance standards? 

The club’s volunteer leader will verify the achievement of the standard when the 4-H member has completed their work.  Additional recognition will be given to members at the county or state level based on the performance standard achieved.

What is awarded to the members?  

4-H members at each age level should have age appropriate awards.  It is suggested that the County Office provide awards based on their ability to recognize youth.  An easy way for counties to recognize youth might be to take the following suggestions:

RUBY Clover

Member will receive a RUBY Clover Certificate and name printed in the 4-H newsletter.


Member will receive a SAPPHIRE Clover Certificate, Clover points and name printed in the 4-H newsletter.


Member will receive an EMERALD Clover Certificate, Clover points, and name printed in the 4-H newsletter. An invitation to age specific activities may be included.


Member will receive a DIAMOND Clover Certificate, Clover points, name printed in the 4-H newsletter and name in a news article submitted to the local newspaper for publication.  An invitation to age specific activities may be included.

When Are These Awards Given to Members

These awards might be presented during a 4-H meeting or during a special recognition program.

Are Clubs Eligible for Performance Standards Recognition

Clubs may strive to meet specific standards of performance just as many club members will work to achieve standards. Each of the four levels of standards are available for clubs to achieve.

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