NEED Youth Awards

All NEED schools have outstanding classroom-based programs in which students learn about energy. Some schools have student leaders who extend these activities into their communities. To recognize outstanding achievement and reward student leadership, The NEED Project conducts the National Youth Awards Program for Energy Achievement. Free to participate, this program combines academic competition with recognition to acknowledge everyone involved in NEED during the year – and to recognize those who achieve excellence in energy education in their schools and communities. The students and teachers set goals and objectives and keep a record of their activities. In April, the students combine their materials into presentations and submit them online.

The Youth Awards Program is great for all schools—new to energy education, or veteran. Projects and outreach completed for the program provide opportunity for enrichment and engagement, as well as an opportunity for your students, classroom, and school to shine.


Obtain a loose leaf binder or keep a digital file in which to compile all of the activities, work samples, photos and videos you collect along the way as you work through your project. Use these items to help create your digital slideshow in PowerPoint or other similar software. Your slideshow must be able to be saved as a PDF for uploading once complete. Make sure your slides follow this format.

Reporting and documentation is limited to the slide limits set for each type of project. Projects with excess slides will not be considered in judging.

Outline of Slides to include in your project documentation

  • 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.

Sample display of 15 slides Level 1 – Signature Project

  • 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


Sample of 4 presentation slidesLevel 2 – Foundation Project

  • 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.


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.

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 project


All Guides in the NEED Shop are available for FREE e-publication or PDF download.



Youth Awards Program Guide

Includes information and instructions for completing a project and entering the program.

Download the Guide

Submit Your Project

Projects are due April 15th! All projects must be uploaded in PDF format. Please make sure the file name includes your school name and category (schoolname.level.pdf).

Click here to submit your project

Youth Energy Leadership Award

Leadership Award Application

Details and to apply click here! Applications must be submitted by April 30th.

Apply to be on Youth Staff!

Youth Staff Application

The deadline to apply was 12/15/21. Please email with any questions.



2021 Winners

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2020 National Winners

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Students who participate in the Youth Awards Program and meet criteria as determined by their Lead Teacher or parent are invited to attend the Youth Energy Conference and Awards in Washington, D.C.

The Annual NEED Youth Energy Conference and Awards gives students more opportunities to learn about energy and to explore energy in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). The annual June conference will have students from across the country working in groups on an Energy Challenge designed to stretch their minds and energy knowledge.