Our county's fair closed yesterday, and our family had the task of taking our projects--about a dozen of them--back home along with the kids' ribbons and medals. Having received the.....not completely coveted....red ribbon for my bread, I was interested to see what kind of feedback I, my wife, and my kids would get on their projects. After all, there were point schemes listed on the advertisement for projects, and one of the reasons I submitted a project was I thought it would be a decent way of getting some expert feedback.
Here's the sum total of the feedback our family received:
No point scores, no comments, zero zip zilch. "Here's your ribbon." In short, if you wanted to design a judging system to lead people to suggest that it was all a popularity contest, it's exactly what you would do.
(I'm not accusing; the grand champions were in general worthy--selected because even a haphazard judging system couldn't ignore that there was something special about those projects. On the flip side, my wife noticed that all the blue ribbons for baking went to sweet breads....suggesting that the judges didn't appreciate or understand yeast breads)
Along the same lines, after working a few hours in the 4-H food stand making hot dogs and hamburgers, and doing my best to make sure the three day old black hot dogs did not get served, I got to chat with a friend who remembered that they used to serve a decent "hot beef commercial". And at that point, I understood exactly why the gyros and lemonade trailers were doing excellent business, but the 2000 square foot, air conditioned 4-H food shack was getting only intermittent customers. As those wiser than I have noted,
your process is perfectly designed to give you exactly the results you have obtained.
And does it surprise anyone, having read this, that 4-H is a government-led program?
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