While a 4-H awards banquet or similar recognition event can happen any time of year, summer seems to be an especially popular season. Regardless of when, the why is always the same. The primary reason for a recognition event at the culmination of a 4-H year is to recognition youth growth in five primary areas:
* Participation in experiences, as a first step toward building positive self-concept (i.e. attendance at 4-H camp)
* Progress toward self-set goals (i.e. individual recognition of a young person’s growth toward meeting a goal).
* Achieving standards of excellence (i.e. earning a blue ribbon for demonstration at 4-H County Events)
* Cooperation (i.e. acknowledgement of the cooperation of an officer team).
* Peer Competition (i.e. first place ribbon for the biggest cabbage in the cabbage growing contest).
While banquets are only one piece of the awards and recognition framework for the county 4-H program, they are a highly visible piece. As such, a balanced approach must be taken to create incentives for continued development and growth among 4-H members, such that all young people can reach some type of “success” (not just the one that grows the biggest cabbage).