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Is 4-H a good social outlet?

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I grew up in 4-H and FFA. Dh grew up biased against them. :). My experience was a school group with all peers. I know the activities and benefits of those. I think dd's would love the activities, but I need to find an something that is a good source of potential friendships.


Timewise, we would need to drop something. I'm thinking gymnastics. It's great exercise, but has produced no friendships in the 3 years we've gone to the same place. Friendships are becoming more and more important to older dd and may be a sticking point for sending her to private school next year. That's not an issue for debate, since dh and I agree.

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I believe it can be. However, we tried last year and it was a bust for us. I had one mother that talked to me, a few kids would talk with ds, but no friendships developed from it and he asked to stop attending. I think part of our issue was most of these people already knew each from the homeschool group, which we opted not to be a part of for several reasons.


In our case ds was not too excited about any of the project books and he doesn't like to speak in front of groups, so the group activities days were of no interest to him. It ended up being a learning experience and sort of frustrating.

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You have to find a good and active group and then find out what projects they are really active in. Although you can sign up for any projects, it helps if there is a lot of enthusiam for something with other kids your dds age.


For example we switched clubs, because the most active projects were sewing and speech? We are now in club with a bunch of Horse, arts and crafts, and shooting sport types...as well as various other things. It really comes down to the leadership or how involved you are going to be!!!


Ours is a blast!!! and yes they have made and invited many friends to the group!

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Our group was fantastic. Homschooled, public schooled, private schooled and at least 2 children with significant disabilities were involved. The leader was who made the biggest difference. We loved it. We only stopped because ds was in too many activities and he chose youth group over 4H.

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We have had marvelous success with our 4-h group. The absolute worst behavior we have had is "Gentlemen, you need to settle down since we are working with a lit propane torch here. Thank you." That's it - the occasional reminder to pay attention which is no biggie at all. We run a tight ship!


That said, it is going to vary from group to group and leader to leader. We've been blessed to be in a rural, conservative county in which all of our extension staff believes that without character education, the other stuff doesn't matter. So, kindness, stewardship, friendliness, participation, courtesy, manners, etc. is huge. We have the right and full support to expel anyone from our group who will not follow the hand book for behavior, character, and ethics - we don't tolerate snobbiness. Every new member and every visitor is welcomed with open arms. We've encountered mostly similar attitudes from other "regular" club leaders.


Now, I will say this....the large livestock and horse clubs are political!!!!! Oh my word, the competition is fierce and more than once, leaders and parents have been expelled from 4-H in our county for unethical behavior. And beyond the unethical behavior there is a down right snarky attitude from some of these groups.....and I hate to say this but some of the horse clubs are ridiculously SNOTTY! There I said it.....breathe....the 4-H police are not coming to get you, Faith!


So, my advice is that you check out the clubs carefully. If there are several within reasonable commuting distance of you, visit them a couple of times each and ask around. Don't join until you have a feel for the club. Try to get to know the leader. Much depends on the leadership of the club and what they promote/tolerate. We make it known up front that we do a lot of working together in twos and threes, we pick the partners, and if you want to be a part of our club, you'll leave your attitude at the door. We've got homeschool kids, privately schooled kids, and publicly schooled kids and not a hint of a problem but that may very well be because DH and I role model exactly what we expect from our club members and then we pat them on the back for meeting our expectations and lavish them with praise. These kids know they are special to us and tend to want to live up to expectations.


It's one of those "choose wisely" (thinking of the old knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) adages.



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