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onyxravnos
03-04-2011, 03:28 PM
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?

Batgirl
03-04-2011, 08:18 PM
Yes, I'd love to know, too.

Nessa
03-06-2011, 12:41 PM
I was in 4H from 3rd grade to my senior year in high school. I was Vice President my last two years. I highly recommend getting involved.

Every chapter is different. Our chapter cost $5 monthly for dues. We paid everything out of pocket for my projects, I did Rabbits, Pigs, Heifers and Horses. I also did livestock judging, dog training, public speaking and lots and lots of volunteer hours.

Some chapters focus on agriculture, some focus on Equestrian, but all concentrate on Volunteering.

You just need to find a chapter that has the program you want to take part in. It's very easy to get involved once you find the chapter you want to be part of. The club you join has contacts and support for different programs and if they don't, you can easily get information from the county extension office. They are a wealth of information and work very closely with the 4H groups.

I wish I could say something bad about the program but I really can't. I formed life long friendships and learned a lot.

Topsy
03-07-2011, 10:52 AM
We were involved in 4H for a couple of years. There are several groups in our area, and we got involved in a science-focused one. There are a lot of homeschoolers involved in 4H, and a couple of the local groups are specifically aimed at homeschoolers even. It was great for socializing, and the meetings were fun, but what turned my boys off were the competitive aspects of it. They seem to have a natural aversion to competition (weird, because I was always really competitive in school). Anyway, after a couple years of it, they just lost interest and asked to not go anymore. I was sad to put it behind us because I thought it was a beneficial program, but it just wasn't for them somehow.

inmom
03-07-2011, 12:54 PM
My kids have been in 4-H for about 7 years. For information specific to your area, contact your county extension agent. Or search under your county name and "4-H."

My kids have learned to be leaders through 4-H and have also learned some skills that I or my dh wouldn't have otherwise been able to teach. We like the aspect of it that allows them to pick their own projects. It IS competitive, but at least they are competing in topics that interest them.

Our state university (Purdue) also sponsors summer camps kids can go to starting in 7th grade where they can learn more about specific topics while also learning about life on a college campus. It's for only 3 days and 2 nights and is heavily supervised. I can't vouch for other areas, but all we have to do is get them to campus--the rest of camp is paid for by the sponsoring county. Some topic areas include entymology, computers, vet science, foods and nutrition, aerospace, and, of course, agriculture.

Our county has over 60 different projects available. The kids also do service projects through their club: food drives, helping with local Easter egg hunts and Halloween parties at a local town park, cemetary clean-up, cooking meals at Chicago's Ronald McDonald House for families whose children are receiving medical treatment.

Depending on the club, there are all kinds of opportunities available, if you want to take them. The nice thing about 4-H is you can particpate just a little, or a lot.

Hope this helps.

Pilgrim
03-07-2011, 05:54 PM
We've been involved for about three years. When you call the local HQ, tell them specifically what you and your kids are interested in. In our case, we were looking for something more geared toward arts and community rather than agriculture. We were directed toward a specific group (out of 30+ area groups, vs. the one Girl Scouts group!). This group has turned into some of our best friends. The five families get along very well, both adults and kids, and we're glad to have our kids around peers who are friendly, low-key, creative, and thoughtful. Projects include candle and basket making, nature photography, mask-making, working with clay, and making tin lanterns. Our group is in charge of lighting the hundreds of luminary candles at the annual Relay for Life. Sometimes, we just get together for fun. Last summer, we went fishing. Last weekend, we went skiing and snowshoeing at a local park. It's been a very positive experience for the whole family.

Outofrange
03-13-2011, 12:25 PM
I have been thinking of joining 4H too. Sounds like a great program from the reviews here :)

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
03-13-2011, 10:59 PM
what age do they have to be to start?

inmom
03-14-2011, 08:08 AM
what age do they have to be to start?

Here kids can be in what is called Explorers 4-H in K-2. They can become regular 4-Her's in 3rd grade and can be part of the club for 10 years, usually through 12th grade.

InstinctiveMom
03-14-2011, 09:53 AM
We're in the process of starting a 4H group with our homeschool group. There are 10 other groups here, 2 are homeschooling groups but quite large, so we're starting a new one. It's $10 per adult (for a background check) who will be involved with the kids (most of our participating families will have at least 1 involved parent) and this school year (through Aug 2011), it's free for kids.
Something changes in Sept with the new school year; it will be $20 per kid, per year and $10 for adults.

Project costs are out of pocket or you can do fundraisers (or I guess some groups have monthly dues to help cover costs).

I'd also recommend talking to your extension agent. Ours is fantastic :)
It sounds like a GREAT program - my kids are raring' to get started. It's completely secular, so that appeals to us - and it seems to have a lot of the same kinds fo skill-building that scouting and other youth organizations have without the discrimination and indoctrination that I've seen through other groups.
~h

InstinctiveMom
03-14-2011, 09:55 AM
Oh, and we have Clover Kids (5-8y) and 4H for 9-18 (or 8yo and in 3rd grade). CKs are non-competitive.
~h

Jeni
03-18-2011, 10:52 AM
We do 4-H as a family, well the kids and I anyway. Each club is different. Ours is the only homeschool club in our area. They do different things depending on the amount of families involved. We are city folk, so not a lot with animals and things like that. I know the older kids broke off and are now part of a robotics club, which took away over half the group. When we have a full group we have 4 levels (prek, K-3, 4-something, and high school kids). The parents were grouped together and rotated teaching a class from whatever curriculum was picked for that year. I hate the group teaching aspect, so I am happy we have so many less families this year. I can bring ds and he can usually sit with his sister and do a similar project and feel included. If we had a large group, that wouldn't be an option and we would be stuck in the nursery for two hours. This year instead of doing a lot of classroom work, we are doing more projects to help others - nursing homes, park clean up, donations for folks overseas, etc.

Our dues are like $.50 a week, twice a month so whatever that figures out to be. I usually just pay $5 at the beginning of the year and that's that.

Our county has an achievement night every year to showcase the kids and hand our awards. We are required to do a project record book (at least one, and more if it's required to go up to the next award level). These are pretty fun to do. We participate in the local county fair, both volunteering a certain number of hours and entering items to be judged. We've done a local 4th of July parade, Flag day ceremony, and lot of other activities.

Jeni
03-18-2011, 10:58 AM
It's completely secular, so that appeals to us.
~h

That's not true of all clubs or counties. Our club is admittedly Christian. While they don't discourage others from joining they do let you know that up front. In addition to the American flag pledge and the 4-H pledge, they also have a prayer at every meeting.

wife&mommy
03-19-2011, 09:29 PM
Thanks for all the information, we've been considering it, too!

InstinctiveMom
03-20-2011, 02:26 AM
That's not true of all clubs or counties. Our club is admittedly Christian. While they don't discourage others from joining they do let you know that up front. In addition to the American flag pledge and the 4-H pledge, they also have a prayer at every meeting.

They're not *supposed* to... the charter or whatever is clearly secular. We have 2 homeschool groups that are hosted by local christian co-ops, and simply b/c of the participants, they 'feel' more religious than secular, but the organization is supposed to be completely non-discriminatory. Our extension agent suggested that we start our own group due to the size of the other homeschool groups, and in convo, we discussed just that - that we're so very secular and they're... not. I don't want to rock any boats, but if our group wasn't starting our own and we were forced to participate in one of the other groups, I'd be really keen on pressing that 'non-discriminatory' bit with them.
~h

dbmamaz
03-20-2011, 11:00 AM
I did respond by email to one 4-H club mentioned on my local home school yahoo group, and asked specifically about religiosity. She said that the group had agreed to pray at the beginning of each meeting . . . yeah, didnt sound like a good fit for us.

Andy
10-11-2012, 10:08 PM
My son and I just got back from our first 4H meeting tonight. Not sure what I think about it yet, but we are going to stick with it for a bit. I was a little put off by the pledge of allegiance, but otherwise the group of people seem decent. We found out about our local group from some neighbors of ours, and they talked highly of it. There is at least one other homeschooling family, so we are not alone in that regard. I am not sure what the focus of this group is, but I am sure I will find out soon enough. I do like the fact that it will give my son a new experience on how people interact, especially for him to see other kids his age and older making decisions and running meetings.

dottieanna29
10-12-2012, 10:35 AM
I run a homeschool 4-H Cloverbud group. I have kids from just turned 5 through 9. Cloverbuds doesn't have to pick a specific focus like the regular 4-H groups do. It's more of an overview to introduce the types of things the regular clubs can offer, plus some general educational nature/science oriented stuff. We've done bugs, rocks & minerals, pets..upcoming we have quilting, physics, robotics, music.

If you want to see some of the activities we've done - here (http://dottiesuniverse.blogspot.com/search/label/4-H%20Cloverbuds)'s all the posts about our club.

Sionnon
10-13-2012, 08:23 PM
We do 4H, in order to be certain of a secular group, we participate in the local public school group. There are several home school 4H groups in our area. I was really pleased at all the different interest areas my boys can work on if they choose. We do very little agricultural related despite living in a rural area.

tri_oak
10-15-2012, 12:29 PM
My son and I are very involved in 4H and have been for years. The thing about 4H you need to understand is that it's not like Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts or a lot of other organizations that have a national charter and are uniform (mostly) across the country. Each state runs its own 4H program, usually under its state agricultural extension program, but not always. In PA, it's run by Penn State. Even within states, it can vary wildly by county -- and since clubs are mostly autonomous, it can vary quite a bit between clubs within a county. Our county does special interest clubs. So there's a club for rabbitry, a club for livestock, a club for dairy, a club for country line dancing, etc. Most of the surrounding counties do what are referred to as 'Community Clubs', which are clubs that meet regularly but allow each child to pick their project area. So our county is radically different from all those surrounding us, but since we're so small, special interests works better for us.

In theory, 4H is secular. But in practice it often depends on a) the general area you live in and b) who's running that particular club.

4H Nationally is having a huge push to try to promote science and technology education and have recently come out with several new projects that stress things like robotics, water science, environmental education and similar, strongly science based ares of interest. Not sure if it works this way in all areas, but in my county, you don't even have to belong to a 'club' to do a project and myself and many of my homeschool friends have been known to use 4H materials to do unit studies on particular topics. I've also run club that are composed of only homeschooled kids for our homeschool co-op, as well as regular clubs for anyone in our county. (I'm referred to locally as 'That Chicken Lady').

I highly recommend a call or even a visit to your local 4H office to talk to their program manager or educator, who is usually a wealth of information and can explain their program to you in greater detail.

Kathy in PA

dbmamaz
10-15-2012, 01:44 PM
I think maybe because my county is so suburban, there's just not much going on. I tried emailing someone and was sent back to the website, where i still couldnt find anything. there is a family camp, but with our food allergies, thats rough. We found other things to do with our time, and the boys dont seem to want more at this point - and mom is fried anyways. i'm a homebody, not outgoing like chicken lady!

Freedom
10-22-2012, 02:02 PM
My Dd was in 4-H for one year and it was terribly boring. I was in 4-H for 8 years, up until I was 15. Showed everything at the fair, but in our community the fair is one small building with some home economic type projects, a science experiment or two and no animals other then a couple of rabbits. Everyone got a blue ribbon with no top prize. Not what I would call a fair.