Project Guidelines

Content Guide
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    Youth Awards projects are energy outreach activities that are student-driven and student-run. Students work together to plan and track their goals, meet timelines, complete activities and outreach, document their hours of work, and create partnerships. They document their learning by taking and cataloging photos, letters, work samples, and other media. Students evaluate their efforts and successes, and will submit a digital project summarizing their project goals, activities, and accomplishments. Projects will be judged on the local, state, and/or national levels and students will receive recognition for their work.

    This is an abridged version of the full project guidelines which can be downloaded as a free .pdf from our Online Store

    Creating a Project

    Step 1 - Set your Goals & Get Focused

    Decide on the audience or people you would like to reach with your outreach activities, and decide on the focus or goal for your activities. Discuss the goals as a group. Once the group has outlined your goal(s), create a folder, binder, digital file, or poster for each goal. If your group has several goals, you may need to divide your group into committees.

    Step 2 - Plan It Out

    • Each committee should meet separately to develop a work plan. Each plan needs to address how the group will achieve the assigned goal.
    • Meet as an entire group to discuss each committee’s work plan. Offer suggestions and make revisions.
    • As a group, create a master work plan and calendar that outlines the entire project.

    Step 3 - Work it Out

    Use your master plan and calendar as a guide to create task lists to execute your goals. Make sure each task for each goal has a sufficient number of staff. As you work, gather documentation - Photos, notes, video, anything that might be useful in your final project.

    Step 4 - Evaluate

    Evaluate the progress of the individual goals and entire project at your group meetings and upon completion of your project. Discuss your successes and challenges as a group. 

    Step 5 - Create Your Presentation

    Use your folders, binders, digital files, and/or posters to help you create a digital slideshow in PowerPoint or other digital presentation software. You will need to be able to save the presentation as a PDF for uploading once it is complete. 


    The following are the formats of slides to include in your project documentation. You can see examples in the sample projects below.

    • School Name
    • Project Title
    • Advisor’s Name
    • Summary of the Project that emphasizes the activities, one to two paragraphs in length
    • Project reporting information including your well-defined goals and activities
      Refer to the Outline and Information Planner and the Rubric for Evaluation on page 16 to help organize your slideshow. Use the outline to help you report about each project goal.
    • Back-up documentation
      Include documentation following each goal that highlights the activities. This includes, but is not limited to: photos, work samples, etc.

    Two Levels of Entry

    Not every classroom or group will have the ability to complete a multi-faceted outreach project each year. Youth Awards Projects can be submitted in one of two categories. 

    Level 1 – Signature Project

    15 Slide Maximum

    • Multi-faceted outreach project that is student-driven.
    • Covers several energy content areas and activities.
    • Completion of a 15-slide digital slideshow that showcases goals of projects, activities completed, and results achieved.
    • Projects are uploaded to the Youth Awards Project submission website.
    • Projects will be judged at the state and national levels with the opportunity to attend the National Recognition Ceremony in June.
    • Special recognition may be given to projects that excel in one the following areas:
      – Exemplary Community Energy Education
      – Energy Engineering and Design
      – Exemplary School Energy Efficiency
      – Connecting to Careers in Energy

    Level 2 – Foundation Project

    4 Slide Maximum

    • Single activity outreach project that is student-driven.
    • Focuses on a limited content area or set of activities.
    • Completion of a 4-slide digital slideshow that showcases the goals and results of the project
    • Projects are uploaded to the Youth Awards Project submission website.
    • Projects will be recognized at the local level for outstanding efforts in the classroom and the community.
    • Projects will not be judged.
      *Foundations Projects will not be eligible to attend the National Recognition Ceremony in June.

    Optional Video Submission

    Groups may elect to submit video documentation with their submissions. Videos will be considered but are not required, and will be displayed throughout the National Recognition weekend and on the NEED web site.

    • Videos should be no longer than three minutes.
    • Videos should be created and uploaded to YouTube for hosting.
    • A link to the video must be shared when completing application information on the Youth Awards Project submission web site
    • Programs should ensure students have completed their school’s media release documentation, if necessary.

    Sample Video Submission

    Step 6 - Submit Your Project

    The deadline to submit projects is April 15 each year. Projects must be uploaded to the site by this date, and projects submitted after the deadline will not be judged.

    Call NEED at 1-800-875-5029 with any questions about your project, judging, or technical difficulties related to the submission website.

    Save your project as a PDF for uploading to the submission site. All projects must be uploaded in PDF format. Please make sure the file name includes your school name and category (schoolname.level.pdf).

    Submit your Youth Awards Project