I had a week to judge the local 4H Creative Writing projects, and got it in just under the wire. Don't let anyone tell you judging is easy, especially in an area that can be so subjective. If I was a sports judge, I suppose I'd rather be in track and field rather than figure skating, for instance. Plus, I get cold easily.
What makes it harder is that there are three categories: beginner, intermediate, and why the heck wasn't I that good in high school? You can't judge them by the same standards; it would be like failing a fourth grader because he couldn't do advanced trigonometry, which is maybe a bad example because I never could do advanced trigonometry. I don't even know what it is. I'm still trying to figure out what x equals.
My problem is that I tend to go too easy, out of empathy for how I might have reacted to a harsh comment at that age. (Hint: not well.) Being too easy on young writers can be just as bad as being too hard. They need to know if they have weak areas to be worked on, but they don't need me turning into that jerk chef on those cooking shows. So I try to be--I don't know--gentle, but guiding. All this stressing myself out is also why I struggle to do book reviews.
In any case, I've never seen a 4H entry that didn't show potential for great works to come. That's some of what the world needs more of: imagination, industry, interest, and literacy. Which comes awfully close to the 4H motto of head, hands, heart, and health.