anyone doing 4H ? DSD is 7 and i think she might dig it but i'm unsure. I've been to the local website but they have very little information about what they actually DO and how you get involved int he different activities. Can someone give me a run down on the good the bad and the ugly of it? and how much does it COST?
My children aren't old enough for 4-H either and I don't know how it works now. But it likely is very similar to how it worked when I was in 4-H. I can write a novel on the merits of being involved in 4-H.
What do they do? They learn. Anything from sewing, horsemanship, marksmanship, bugs, leadership, citizenship, veterinary science, whatever. You are issued a project manual and are expected to work through the knowlege issued. It's not book learning. It's learning by DOING and the project manual is just a guide to give you the knowledge. It is very project oriented. The pride of 4-H is the county and state fairs. 4-H is not judged by 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. You either do blue ribbon work (best), red ribbon work (good), or white ribbon work (needs improvement). This way it is not competitive in the normal sense The project may be a collection, an animal, a cage, a diorama, something you made, etc.
How do you get involved? Visit or call your local 4-H extension office and they will lead you in the right direction.
Cost? The actual 4-H program costs very little. When I was in 4-H the project manuals cost less than a dollar. No club dues. You do incure the cost of your projects though so you would have to buy sewing machine, horse, or whatnot. To enter in competitions is kept as low as possible as well. I was in 4-H horse and it cost me about $10/class (horse is one of the most expensive ones).
The good. Great experience, good friends, learning, if your child wants to go to college it is good for college entrance, leadership opportunities for children,
The bad. Some people think 4-H is hokey. Only typing that because I couldn't think of anything else but I've heard that said.
The ugly: ??? I suppose if you are involved in a bad group but then you just change groups or make your own.
Does that help? Do you need anything more specific?
We had no luck with the 4-H here. We signed up at the county fair this year because DD was 5. It took over 3 months for a letter to come, and the list of local groups in her age group all said they were full.
The only way we could be involved was to start a new group. I had already signed on to be a Girl Scout leader so we just scrapped 4-H for now.
I hope you find a good fit!
I'm looking into it for my DD as well. Dues here are $15/yr. I know of two very different 4H groups in my area. One is located at a local farm/park, so the kids start their meeting by feeding the animals and collecting eggs, ect. The second one meets at a church during a co-op. They focus on different types of projects. One of the children there did her end-of-season project on photography and another did rocket ships.
Kids can start 4-H when they are 8; under 8 they can be in a club called Cloverbuds. We just started 4-H this year with our 2 8-year-old boys, and so far we love it. Ours is expensive ($50 per kids per year) compared to others here, but on the county and regional level they offer all kinds of free workshops and festivals.
One of our main reasons for joining was that we had bought a small farm, and needed to get some agricultural know-how both for ourselves and our kids. Also, I can see that as a homeschooler, it is great to have the structure that 4-H provides to kids as they work on independent projects in their area of interest. They have to keep all kinds of records as they learn new skills. For example, my son is working on a chicken project, and has to track all of the the expenses associated with the project as well as any income. I sure wish that I had learned to do that kind of thing when I was a kid. . .
If you have the choice to attend the meetings of a few different clubs, that might give you an opportunity to see which is the best fit.
We live in an area in which 4H is a huge part of life. It might be different where you live, but where we are, kids 5-9 are called primary members. They can do most of the same things as the older members, but they cannot place in a contest (participation only) or sell their animals at auction. My daughter started 4-H this year, at age 6. She is involved in arts and crafts, cooking, and she raised a rabbit to show at our county fair. Our fair is actually going on this week, so we are in the midst of craziness! She did her showmanship with Bob the Bunny a few days ago and it was awesome!
I can't say enough about how awesome 4-H is. It teaches kids so many valuable lessons about many different things. It also teaches them things like responsibility, public speaking, citizenship, etc. We will probably be involved with 4-H until the kids are done with high school. I think it's a valuable resource for homeschooling families.
As for cost, it depends on what you want to be involved in. If you just want to do gardening, arts and crafts, rocketry, etc. it doesn't cost very much. I believe our yearly dues are somewhere between $12-$15 per child and a few dollars more for adult members (at least one adult in the family has to be a registered adult member with our club) If you want to raise an animal, it will cost a bit more. Small animals are a pretty minimal investment. We probably spent about $200 for everything needed to raise a rabbit, and after this year the cost will go down since we won't have to buy cages, etc. again. Rabbits themselves cost from $20-$70 or more. We spent about $40 on Bob. We will not be able to go to auction, so we won't make money back this year. The experience is definitely worth it to me. Oh, and if you're nervous about "auctioning off" a beloved pet - the buyer doesn't usually take the rabbit, it almost always stays with the child and they decide what to do from there. We will be keeping Bob :)