Recognition is an acknowledgment and affirmation of the personal growth in an individual. It can be public or private. It can be within the individual or provided by others. Recognition in 4-H is the encouragement and support for learning. It comes as a result of participation in educational experiences.
4-H uses recognition as one strategy to help youth become more capable and competent. It does this through recognizing and appreciating each person's effort and providing positive reinforcement to continue participating in learning activities. 4-H'ers experiences must be structured so as to incorporate opportunities to build positive esteem and self-reliance. Recognition is a significant incentive to further learning. Recognition properly used can inspire young people to continue participating and learning. If properly designed and used, it will match the needs of young people. Young people become active in 4-H because they benefit personally, not because it is a good program. They make choices depending on their need for security, new experiences, response or recognition.
Recognition must be continually revised to meet the needs of individual participants. Individual progress must be recognized and individual enthusiasm must be encouraged. There is no one way of encouraging and supporting young people. They come from varied backgrounds and with different experiences. They vary in their interests, values, needs, attitudes and aspirations. For some youth intrinsic, or internal, recognition is far more powerful than any extrinsic, or external, recognition. Motivation is determined by a complex blend of environment, attitude, and self-concept. It is what energizes a person and directs individual activity.