4-H presenter

Through the 4-H Public Speaking Contest, youth have an opportunity to write a speech or a public service announcement (PSA) that incorporates the topic of 4-H and deliver it to an audience. The 4-H Public Speaking Contest helps youth develop skills for communicating about current issues to real audiences, learn how to organize and prepare a speech, develop speech delivery skills, learn how to present themselves to others, and develop self-confidence.

After participating at the county level, three (3) contestants in each age division (Junior, Intermediate, and Senior) in both speech and PSA categories will be selected to advance to the District Public Speaking Contest. The District Public Speaking Contests are typically held in April and May. Please see the calendar of events below for specific dates, times, and locations. 

District Public Speaking Contest Senior division contestants have the opportunity to advance to the State Public Speaking Contest, which is held at the Nebraska State Fair. Please see the Nebraska 4-H State Fair Fairbook for more information about the State Public Speaking Contest.

2019 District Contests

EventDateLocationRegister byContact
Panhandle District April 13 Distance Learning 3/29 spaisley3@unl.edu
West Central District April 27 West Central Research and Extension Center 4/12 ashley.benes@unl.edu
Southeast District May 16 UNL Animal Science Complex 5/9 maria.walker@unl.edu
Northeast District May 31 Wayne State College 5/17 lkaslon@unl.edu


  • Youth must be currently enrolled in 4-H to participate in the District Public Speaking Contest.
  • Youth must be selected at their County Public Speaking Contest to compete in district 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 district contest in the category won at the State contest.
  • Only individuals may compete in the speech or radio PSA competition at the district or state level.

Age Division

Three age divisions are used at the District Public Speaking Contest and are based on the member's 4-H age (the age of the youth before January 1 of the current year).

  • Junior: 4-H age 8-10
  • Intermediate: 4-H age 11-13
  • Senior: 4-H age 14-18


County Contest speech and PSA winners will need to submit the 2019 District Contest Entry Form and $10.00 to their county contest coordinator. The county contest coordinator will then submit the form and registration fee to the district contest coordinator. Please contact your local Extension office for more information about District Contest registration.

Procedural Guidelines

  • Contestants must qualify at their county contest to compete in district competition. 
  • Youth selected to advance to district competition in the speech category may participate in one District 4-H Public Speaking Contest of their choice.
  • All PSA contestants must compete in the region/district where the 4-H member is enrolled. 
  • Registration must be submitted electronically to the appropriate district contest coordinator by the county Extension staff, followed by one hard copy of entry. Radio PSA's will be submitted electronically as a .wav or .mp3 audio format. No CD's will be accepted.
  • Only Senior Division speech and PSA district winner will be eligible to advance to the state contest.

Rules & Regulations

Public Service Announcement (PSA)

  • All PSA's are 60 seconds in length.
  • The state theme for the 2019 Public Service Announcement (PSA) is "Inspire Kids to Do".
  • All radio PSA's must promote 4-H and be general enough to be used anywhere in Nebraska at any time of the year.
  • All 4-H PSA's must include the following tagline within the last 10 seconds of the PSA: "Learn more about the Nebraska Extension 4-H Youth Development Program at 4h.unl.edu." The tagline is included in the 60 second time limit. 
  • Sound effects and public domain music may be used. Copyrighted material may not be used. 
  • 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 electronically as a .wav or .mp3 audio format along with the registration form. 


  • Length of Speeches:
    • Junior Division: 1-3 minutes
    • Intermediate Division: 3-5 minutes
    • Senior Division: 5-8 minutes
  • All speeches must be original and include 4-H as the major component of the speech.
  • 4-H public speakers may not use the old speech written by a sibling, another 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 is not allowed.
  • Dress appropriately. Do not wear costumes or special effect clothing.
  • No team speeches are allowed.


Speech Judging Criteria - PDF | Doc

  • Subject: 20%
  • Organization: 20%
  • Delivery: 40%
  • General: 20%

Judges will deduct three points from the contestant's speech score for each 30 seconds under or over the time limit (Senior Division only).

PSA Judging Criteria - PDF | Doc

  • Introduction: 20%
  • Body: 20%
  • Closing: 20%
  • General Delivery: 40%

Recognition & Awards

Each participant will receive a ribbon and a certificate. Top Junior and Intermediate PSA individuals will receive a medal. Top Senior speech and PSA individuals will receive a medal and an opportunity to compete in the state contest. The winning PSA tapes/CD's will then be provided to the Nebraska Rural Radio Network for use on their three radio stations.

For questions about this program or the information on this page, please contact:

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COORDINATOR: Cathy Johnston
EMAIL: cjohnston1@unl.edu
PHONE: 402-472-1762