State Program Contact

Catherine (Cathy) Johnston
Extension Educator
cjohnston1@unl.edu
402-472-1762
4-H Youth Development, 114 AGH,
Lincoln, NE 68583-0700

Public Speaking Contest
General Rules and Regulations

New for 2014 Contest | Age Divisions | Eligibility
Procedural Guidelines | Speech Category Rules | PSA Category RulesScoring


New for 2014 Contest

  • The state theme for the 2014 Public Service Announcement is "Making a Lasting Impact."
  • The age divisions have been modified.
  • Radio PSA's will be submitted on CD along with the PSA text and registration form two (2) weeks prior to the Regional Contest. Electronic PSA submission should be approved by the Regional Contest coordinator.
    • Please use .wav or .mp3 audio formats when recording your PSA

Age Divisions
Three age divisions are used in the 4-H Public Speaking Contest and are based on the 4-H member's age. 4-H age is age of member before January 1 of the current year.

  • Junior Division: 4-H ages eight (8) to ten (10)
  • Intermediate Division: 4-H ages eleven (11) to thirteen (13)
  • Senior Division: 4-H ages fourteen (14) to eighteen (18)

Each county may send three (3) contestants in each of the three age divisions (Junior, Intermediate and Senior) in both Speech and Public Service Announcement (PSA) categories to the Regional Public Speaking Contest. Only Senior Division regional winners in the Speech and PSA categories will advance to the State Public Speaking Contest.

Eligibility

  • Youth must be currently enrolled in 4-H to participate in the Regional Public Speaking contest.
  • Youth must be selected at their County Public Speaking contest to compete in Regional competition.
  • Youth may participate in both the Speech and PSA categories.
  • Previous state winners in Speech or radio PSA's are no longer eligible to compete in the Regional contest in the category won at the State contest.
  • Only individuals may compete in the speech or radio PSA competition at the regional or state level.

Procedural Guidelines

  • Contestants must qualify at their county contest to compete in regional competition.
  • Youth selected to advance to regional competition in the speech category may participate in one Regional 4-H Public Speaking Contests of their choice. Regional contests are held in North Platte, Norfolk, Lincoln and the Panhandle via distance education.
  • Registrations are due to the Regional Contest coordinator two (2) weeks prior to the contest.
    • Registration must be submitted electronically to the appropriate Regional Contest coordinator by the county extension staff, followed by hard copies of entries & outlines.
    • Counties must provide three (3) copies of speech/PSA outlines along with the 4-H member's registration form.
    • Radio PSA's will be submitted on CD along with the PSA text and registration form two (2) weeks prior to the Regional Contest. Electronic PSA submission should be approved by the Regional Contest coordinator.
      • Please use .wav or .mp3 audio formats when recording your PSA
  • All PSA contestants must compete in the Region/District where the 4-H member is enrolled.
  • The time limit for all PSA's is 60 seconds.
  • Only Senior Division Speech and PSA Regional winners will advance to state competition.

Speech Category Rules

  •  Length of Speeches:
    • Junior Division: 1 to 3 minutes.
    • Intermediate Division: 3 to 5 minutes.
    • Senior Division: 5 to 8 minutes.
  • All speeches must be original and include 4-H as the major component of the speech.
  • Many speakers in the Public Speaking Contest have given speeches in other contests. This is fine; however, previous speeches may not be used verbatim for the 4-H contest. It is okay to use the same ideas from a speech previously delivered in competition, but it must be 4-H related. Enough changes should be made to make that speech new to the speaker and the audience. 4-H public speakers may not use an old speech written by a sibling, other 4-H member, or anyone else.
  • Acknowledge the source of information used in the speech. For example, an article from a magazine may be used for reference, but should not be quoted directly unless you tell the audience your source.
  • Use of visual aids and props are not allowed.
  • Dress appropriately. Do not wear costumes or special effect clothing.
  • No team speeches are allowed.

Public Service Announcement (PSA) Category Rules, All Age Divisions

  • All PSA's are 60 seconds in length.
  • The state theme for the 2013 Public Service Announcement is "Taking the Lead."
  • All radio PSA's must promote 4-H and be general enough to be used anywhere in Nebraska at anytime of the year.
  • All 4-H PSA's must include the following tag line within the last ten seconds of the PSA: "Learn more about the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension 4-H Youth Development Program at 4h.unl.edu and Know How. Know Now." The tag line is included in the 60 second time limit.
  • Sound effects and public domain music may be used. Copyrighted material may not be use.
  • All PSA's must be the original work of the presenter. Contestants may not use PSA's written and provided by the state or national staff.
  • No team PSA's are allowed.
  • Radio PSA's will be submitted on CD along with the PSA text and registration form two (2) weeks prior to the Regional Contest. Electronic PSA submission should be approved by the Regional Contest coordinator.
    • Please use .wav or .mp3 audio formats when recording your PSA

Scoring

  • Judges will deduct three points from the contestant's speech score for each 30 seconds under or over the time limit. (Senior division only.)
  • See score card for additional judging criteria.