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Effective communication drives all aspects of day-to-day life. You’ll learn how we communicate, learn different modes of communications, and strengthen your own communication skills. Learn active listening, conflict resolution, social media, and digital storytelling among other skills.

Project Levels

Communications 1

In level 1, learn about active learning, communication preferences, aggressive communication, visual aids, making introductions, and letter writing.

Communications 2

In level 2, learn about conflict resolution, communicating in social media, understanding cultural differences, writing press releases and speeches, and working in communication careers.

Communications 3

In level 3, learn about electronic communication, evaluate advertisements, write resumes and cover letters, and become a digital storyteller.

Creative Writing

Find the writer in you! Find inspiration for writing, develop a theme, create a plot using SWBS, and develop main characters.


Learn about the different types of news, explore careers in journalism, gather news and write different kinds of news stories, and compare the difference between opinion pieces, photo journalism, and news stories.

Public Presentations

Youth learn to speak with confidence. The introductory manual is intended for youth with little or no public speaking experience. More advanced speakers may wish to download the advanced guides.

Resources to help you learn

  • Communications Module 1
  • Communications Module 2
  • Communications Module 3
  • The Writer in You 
  • Journalism
  • Finding Your Voice: Public Speaking Made Easy
  • Advanced speaking guides are listed in the resources below including: 
    • Demonstrations
    • Extempore Speaking
    • Formal Speech
    • Illustrated Speech
    • Master of Ceremonies
    • Oral Interpretation
    • Original Works

State Fair Exhibit Rules

Each county may submit 2 entries total from 50367, 30568, 50369; and 1 entry from 50370.

Communications 1-3 (SF 50368)

For 1st year enrolled in project: Exhibit a binder portfolio showcasing at least three activities from the project manual. Show basic activities and anything that extended lessons. For 2nd and 3rd years in project: Include everything from earlier years’ work and add section showcasing at least four additional activities per year.

Creative Writing (SF 50367)

To provide the best learning experience, it is suggested that counties receive submissions in this class prior to the exhibition date to allow a judge adequate time to read the submissions and provide meaningful review. Each member may submit only one entry per class. Each entry is to be typewritten on 8 ½ x 11 paper and include exhibitor’s name. Entries must be original and written for the 4-H project. Stories should be double-spaced. Poems may be single-spaced.

  • Rhymed Poetry – An interpretation of a subject in rhymed verse. Submit a collection of three poems.
  • Free Style Poetry– An interpretation of a subject in unrhymed verse. Submit a collection of three poems.
  • Short Story– A fiction piece comprised of three basic elements: a theme, a plot and characters. Submit one story, maximum length –2,000 words.
  • Essay– A short nonfiction composition in which a theme is developed or an idea is expressed. Submit one essay, maximum length –500 words.
  • Feature Story -- Nonfiction human-interest story judged on interest to readers, writing style, readability, and thoroughness of coverage. Submit one story, maximum length –1,000 words.

Journalism (SF 50369)

Exhibit a binder portfolio showing the results of the appropriate year’s activities noted below:

  • Year 1: Accomplishments of a minimum of 5, 2-star activities from Part 1, answering all of the questions in the activities.
  • Year 2: Results of doing a minimum of 5, 2-star activities in Part 2, answering all the questions in the activities.
  • Year 3: Results of doing a minimum of 5, 3-star activities from Parts 1 and 2. One of the activities must include writing an advance story, a follow-up story, or a feature story.
  • Year 4: Results of doing at least 2, 2-star activities and 3, 3-star activities from Part 3. If the activities include making an audio or videotape, State Fair will provide a way for the judge to view or listen to it.

Communications Ready4Life Challenge: (SF 50370)

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Communications project. Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.

Communications Maker (SF 50400)

Counties may submit 3 entries TOTAL combined from all Maker exhibit divisions.

Exhibits in this category are designed to be multi-disciplinary in nature, innovative, and must not fit into any other exhibit category. To qualify for this category, your project MUST abide by the following guidelines:

  • Exhibits must be an object or device that has an intended purpose and uses technology in either a mechanical way, digital (computer) way, or combination of the two.
  • The device must be something that can be used in everyday life by multiple people (a target audience), and MUST be manufactured/built by the exhibitor (If not fully manufactured by the exhibitor, the device MUST be modified structurally or be reprogramed to perform a different function other than what it was designed to do
  • Exhibit MUST be able to interact with the outside world. (e.g. an on off switch, input sensors, feedback, etc.)
  • Exhibits MUST include a detailed build log with instructions on how to make or build the exhibit, AND contain either a 3D rendering or detailed and labeled sketches of the device/product.
  • All parts and software used in the design/build MUST be listed in a detailed Bill of Materials including cost per item and total cost. Total time spent on the build must be documented in your build log.

In addition, exhibitors are HIGHLY encouraged to use tools such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, routers and/or other hand/power tools to help in the manufacturing process (NOTE: Simply 3-D printing or laser cutting an object without the other specifications does not qualify as a Maker Project). It is also HIGHLY encouraged that exhibits use Open Source Software and/or Hardware in the build.


Enrollment in the Public Presentations project is required to participate in this section. No live animals are allowed in speeches. The state contest will be held at Richmond Community College. Counties may advance a total of 3 entries from any category to the state contest. A 4-H member may advance in one individual category and one team category.

dates of state speaking contest

April 30, 2022

Formal Speech

Self-written | Notes Allowed | No props | Individual | 4-6 minutes

Formal Speeches share the presenter’s own unique view and are intended to motivate, persuade, or inform an audience and may include a call to action. Youth deliver a speech on any topic they wish.

Illustrated Speech

Self-written | Notes allowed | Illustrations Required | Individual | 4-6 minutes

Illustrated Speeches may be used to inform, persuade, or motivate the audience while using a visual aid. Visual aids may be two-dimensional, three-dimensional, or digital. Youth may include audience participation. Digital visual aids must be stored on a USB flash drive. Illustrated speeches may be:

  • How-to demonstrations which show the audience how to do something.
  • Object lessons which use objects as metaphors to share a message.
  • Educational models where drawings or diagrams help explain a topic.

Original Works

Self-written | Notecards allowed | Props and Costumes Allowed | Individual or 2-Person Team | Manuscripts sent in Advance | 4-6 minutes

Original works must be written entirely by the presenter. It may be presented as an individual or a two-person team entry. Manuscripts must be sent in advance to the contest. Presentations may be designed for TV, radio, or online media and must be presented live. The types of entries could include:

  • Prose and Short Stories
  • Poetry
  • Broadcast Media Program
  • Theatrical
  • Combined Program: Combine any number of the above elements along with other creative presentation forms

Oral Interpretation 

Published work | Props and Costumes Allowed | Individual or 2-Person Team | Manuscripts sent in Advance | 4-6 minutes

Presentations in Oral Interpretation must be published works, and manuscripts or transcripts must be submitted prior to the event. They may be presented as an individual or a two-person team entry. The types of entries could include:

  • Prose and Short Stories
  • Poetry
  • Theatrical Interpretation
  • Published Speech Recitation: Excerpt from a spoken presentation delivered by a public figure, such as Winston Churchill, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or Maya Angelou
  • Combined Program: Combine any number of the above elements along with other creative presentation forms