4-H Awards & Recognition Program

“It’s great to be recognized!”

Whether you’re a youth or an adult volunteer, if you’re doing great 4-H work, there are lots of ways to be recognized for it! Check with your county to see which opportunities are available where you live. 


4-H State Awards Program

A 4-H State Award is the highest honor bestowed on a Michigan 4-H member. 4-H State Award winners become part of an elite group of 4-H youth who have demonstrated the highest level of excellence in learning, leadership, and service.  The purpose of this awards program is to provide 4-H youth a learning opportunity where they can receive recognition while developing important life skills. Through the experience, members apply skills in communication, organization, and self-motivation.  

A select number of 4-H State Award applicants are invited to attend the prestigious 4-H State Award Recognition Event held during 4-H Exploration Days as State Award delegates.  4-H State Award delegates are selected through an application process that showcases their knowledge, skills and experiences in their chosen 4-H project area.  Participation in the State Awards Program helps all applicants develop workforce preparation skills such as communication, time management, goal setting, and record keeping.

Recognition for 4-H State Award winners include a plaque and cash award.  The program recognizes 4-H members in 19 project areas in both junior (13-15 years old) and senior (16-19 years old) age divisions, as well as a group award area (13-19 years old). 

To participate in the 4-H State Awards Program, start by downloading the application and instructions here:
2019 Overview and Instructions for Michigan 4-H State Awards Program and Mark of Excellence Award
2019 4-H State Awards Junior Application (4-H age 13-15)
2019 4-H State Awards Senior Application (4-H age 16-19)
2019 4-H State Awards Group Application (4-H age 13-19)

4-H members should begin working on their State Award application early.  Although the deadline is February 1, it may take several weeks to complete the application and finalize editing.  The finished portfolio should represent the 4-H member’s best work.  4-H leaders and 4-H county staff are great resources to provide feedback during the application process.  The finalized application is submitted by email to MSUE.4HAwards@campusad.msu.edu and the local 4-H Program Coordinator by February 1.

Applications are carefully reviewed by selection committees and delegates are announced in March. During 4-H Exploration Days, delegates participate in either an advanced leadership development program (juniors), competitive interviews (seniors) or presentations (groups).  All delegates are invited to attend the Recognition Program, where the 4-H State Award winners are announced.

Congratulations 2018 State 4-H Awards Delegates!
Past Michigan 4-H State Award winners

4-H Mark of Excellence Award

The 4-H Mark of Excellence Award is a division of the 4-H State Awards Program for 11 and 12-year-old 4-H members. 

To enter, a 4-H member writes an essay on the theme, “Because of 4-H I can …” Essays are submitted to the local county MSU Extension office by February 1. County 4-H programs then select up to two youths’ essays as their representatives and submit those names and essays to the State 4-H Awards Committee. For more additional information and instructions, view the 2019 Overview and Instructions for Michigan 4-H State Awards Program and Mark of Excellence Award.  Copies of the Mark of Excellence essays are on display at Kettunen Center.

County Submission Form
Congratulations to the 2018 winners of the 4-H Mark of Excellence Awards!
Past Mark of Excellence winners

Project medals

While each county establishes its own criteria for giving these medals, if you are an outstanding member between the ages of 11 and 13, you may be especially likely to be considered for one of the medals which celebrates your excellent work in a particular project area. There is no general application process, but each county may have a process of their own for determining medal recipients.

Michigan 4-H Key Club Award

The 4-H Key Club Award is intended to be the top county 4-H honor, and selections are made at the county level. To be eligible, a 4-H member must:

  • Be 15 years old by the beginning of the project year (September 1)
  • Have completed three calendar years of club work as of January 1 of the current year
  • Have completed 4-H projects in at least two project areas
  • Have completed a teen leadership project
  • Have participated in three regional or state 4-H events
  • Be recommended by his or her 4-H leader

You may download the Application for Michigan 4-H Key Club Award here.

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

If you are a 4-H’er in 5th to 12th grade who does a lot of volunteer activities, you may want to apply for a Prudential Spirit of Community Award, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals. You can apply online at http://spirit.prudential.com or www.principals.org/spirit. Applications must be submitted to a county 4-H educator by November 1. 

Volunteer recognition

Michigan 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards

The Michigan 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards highlight the important work of 4-H volunteers across the state. Volunteers are, undeniably, the “heart and soul” of 4-H, and in an age when time is at a premium, the Michigan 4-H Salute to Excellence Award serves as an opportunity to acknowledge our volunteers’ unwavering dedication to Michigan 4-H Youth Development. These awards honor outstanding volunteers for their dedication to youth. There are two categories for nominations:

  • The Lifetime Volunteer Award is presented to a 4-H volunteer with more than ten years of service.
  • The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to a 4-H volunteer with ten years of service or less.

These awards are patterned after the national 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards. Currently, Michigan 4-H does not have an organized system for providing state, regional or national recognition to its volunteers.  Instituting this award in Michigan provides us with this opportunity and assists in the identification and selection of individuals to be nominated for the national Lifetime Volunteer Award and Volunteer of the Year Award.

Each year, counties are invited to nominate two outstanding individual volunteers, one in each of two categories. A state winner and runner up will be selected in each category. Recipients of the Michigan 4-H Salute to Excellence Volunteer Recognition Awards will be chosen from nominees submitted by county 4-H offices.  Each year the recipients of the Michigan 4-H Lifetime Volunteer Award and the 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award will be submitted for regional and national recognition honors. Recipients of each award will be presented with a plaque and asked to designate a 4-H program, club or activity to be the recipient of a $400 monetary award in their name. Awardees will also have their name engraved on the Salute to Excellence Perpetual Plaques to be located at Kettunen Center in Tustin Michigan. 

Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award

Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in AgricultureThe Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes outstanding achievements of Michigan 4-H volunteers or groups that have exhibited excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership development in the areas of 4-H beef cattle; dairy cattle; goats; horses; horticulture, crops and soils; poultry; rabbits; sheep; swine; and veterinary science. Honorees choose where their $1,000 recognition award will go to advance Michigan 4-H youth development programming in agriculture. Visit the Michigan 4-H Foundation website for the application materials.


Jennifer Weichel, Volunteer Specialist
Email: weichel@msu.edu
Phone: 517-432-7606

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