Why do a record book?

Record books can provide a large list of benefits for youth.

It is record book time! Whether a completed record book is required or is a choice for you to add to your project, why should you complete a record book?

Any project, including completing a record book, has some challenges such as the time it takes, the materials it might require and the opportunities to forget to record some important detail. However, the pay-off, over the long term, exceeds the challenges.

Let’s consider a few of the benefits that Michigan State University Extension identifies for keeping a record book:

  • It helps you organize your time and develop skills in record-keeping, time management, goal-setting, decision-making, planning/organizing, self-motivation and in marketable skills. This will help you with future projects and your job or careers in life.
  • All your project information is in one place so it is easily accessible for reference.
  • It can be displayed at the auction, exhibit halls or in other venues (science fairs, portfolios, etc.) to inform others about the work you have done on your project.
  • It can be used to reflect on what went well this year as well as what can be improved for next year.  Comparing record books from year-to-year will help you see all that you have learned by doing the project.
  • It helps with goal-setting and being able to track progress towards goals.
  • It can be worked on year-round. You can keep a small notebook in with your project materials that you won’t worry about getting wet or dirty and make notations in it to help you keep up on your record book.
  • You can showcase your creativity by including pictures, recipes, making it into a PowerPoint or more.  Think outside the box!
  • It can help you to complete 4-H State Awards portfolios, college applications, an employability portfolio or scholarship applications. 

Completing a record book helps you develop skills that, ultimately, will help you in your future career and in life. The 4-H Youth Development Program has lots of tools to help young people build these skills and create a strong record book. Take the time to create a fantastic record book and watch yourself benefit exponentially in the process!

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