This page is a reference for 4-H members and their mentors and families, addressing some of the most common situations related to using forms for 4-H exhibits, opportunities, and events. If you have additional information on the use of forms or other documents, please contact us.
Are 4-H Forms Required?
In many cases, the provided form is a suggested format, not a required one. For example, record keeping forms and exhibit goal sheets are not required in the presented format, but rather are a suggested template you may use. In many cases, you may use any type of document or program you wish to provide the requested information. When choosing a format for a form, we encourage you to select a format that is convenient, familiar, and supports your personal learning style and preferences. This could include but is not limited to, handwriting, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Adobe PDF, or even an audio recording. If you are uncertain if the form you want to use has a required format, please check with your county 4-H staff, youth program specialist, or contact the Iowa 4-H office.
Accessible Adobe PDF Forms
We offer many statewide 4-H publications as Adobe PDF documents. This file type is our preferred format for creating and updating digitally accessible fillable forms. For more information on ISU Extension and Outreach’s eAccessbility Initiative, you can watch this video, or visit this webpage. Staff should note that most fillable PDF forms are not fully accessible without taking some additional steps in the design process or in Adobe Acrobat Pro.
Using Fillable Adobe PDF Files
- Remember to download the document to your computer and save it before entering information.
- Save your work as you go.
- PDF form fields typically do not expand. The instructions may tell you whether you should add additional pages or edit your responses to fit the space provided.
Alternatives to Typing into a Fillable PDF
- If you are on a Windows PC, you can utilize windows speech recognition to fill out a fillable Adobe PDF form. You can search “start” for “windows speech recognition.” This option may not be available on all operating systems.
- You may print the document--or ask your extension office for a printed copy--and handwrite your responses.
- If you have a platform or program that you prefer to use (Microsoft Office, Google Docs), please do so. You can use the provided form as a guide for what information should be included.
- If you would prefer not to use a paper format, discuss with the 4-H event/program staff if other formats such as video or audio recordings can be submitted.
Ask the 4-H event or program staff how to return your form if you have questions. Options usually include the following.
- Attach the document to an email. This will require scanning any documents that were filled out by hand. For privacy and security, avoid sending forms via email that contain sensitive information, such as your date of birth or social security number.
- Return the document to your club or local Extension office in person.
- Mail the document to your local Extension office.