Judging 4-H at fairs and challenge events
Minnesota 4-H depends on the skills, talents and dedication of hundreds of adult judges. They make possible our county fairs and other competitive events across the state.
Judging makes our program possible
To be a judge, you don't need to be 4-H alum or an expert. You do need to know how to evaluate the learning that a 4-H'er has done. We will train you to do that.
Once you are signed up as a judge and have done your basic training, your name will be in our judges database, which 4-H staff use to locate judges for events. Some projects require specialist judging training. Judges can be paid for their time and travel expenses.
Find out how to become a judge.
If you are already a 4-H judge in Minnesota, you are likely listed in our database of judges. You can log in to 4HOnline to update your profile information and take online training. If your eligibility has lapsed, we can get you active again. Log in or contact our office.
For help with 4HOnline, your profile and the online training, see the user guide.
How to be a judge
- Judges must be at least 19 yrs old and no longer eligible to enroll in 4-H.
- If you prefer to complete and send us a hard-copy (paper) application form instead, please call or email Karen Nelson, 612-624-8197 or email@example.com.
- Horse judges must complete specialist training. Learn how to become a 4-H horse judge.
Creating high-quality 4-H conference judging experiences
All Minnesota 4-H judges are invited to take this online course, available at: z.umn.edu/4hjudgestraining
Our job in 4-H is to build blue ribbon young people -- not blue ribbon projects! It's important for judges to know how best to interact with young people and how to help them learn and grow through this experience. For 4-H members, a judge is a very special person. In many cases members have spent significant time preparing their projects for exhibit. The judge at the fair or showcase event is there to help them reflect and apply what they have learned.
At the completion of this training, conference judges will be able to:
- Describe the domains of a high-quality youth program experience.
- Choose appropriate questions and responses when communicating as a 4-H judge.
- Guide a high-quality learning experience for young people.
This training has three parts and will take about 45 minutes:
- Downloading and printing three handouts - 5 minutes.
- Viewing the Course Module "Creating Quality 4-H Conference Judging Experiences: A training for 4-H Judges" - 30-35 minutes.
Some projects require specialist judging training. For example, horse project judging. After you have applied, a staff member will notify you if any special training is required.
- A welcoming atmosphere
As a 4-H judge, your comments and questions can encourage and support youth!
It is important that 4-H Cloverbud evaluators understand the importance of their role with our youngest members. Judges should model the positive behavior we wish children to develop.