Why I chose 4h instead of Scouts
Now first and foremost I want to be clear… I have nothing against boy scouts or girl scouts. I was a girl scout through middle school, my mom was our leader and my brother is an eagle scout. Boys and Girls scouts are wonderful institutions. The point to this posting is that just because an activity is a popular activity for kids in today’s society does not make it the only correct choice. You should research different club options and decide for yourself which is the best fit for your family.
We started Michaela in girls scouts while we were homeschooling. We joined a very nice homeschool troop and they did many wonderful activities. When Michaela re entered school, we stopped going. She was going to a magnet school with great enrichment activities ,but a longer day. So we decided to hold off on scouts for awhile.
When she no longer went to the magnet school I once again began looking for activities to enrich both the kids’ lives. I once again started looking for a girl scout troop for her and a cub scout troop for Sean. Now of course, the troops had completely different meetings on different days and location. Which meant a lot of driving around. Also there are a lot of other activities for both troops , not just the meeting. My life and the kids lives would instantly get a whole lot crazier.
Then there was the cost to consider, both would need uniforms, handbooks, initial patches and pins. This does not include the registration fee or dues for each one as well. Plus, If the parents want to go on trips or camp out we must pay a registration fee for both troops as a volunteer.
Here is approximate list of the cost to start scouts for both kids:
Uniforms : $40.00
Initial patches, pins, troop number patches, etc.: $30.00
Registration fee for kids: $40
Registration fee for two parent volunteers x 2 troops: $80 (seriously? Don’t they want volunteers?)
That would have meant shelling out around $220 just to get started. Then the troop dues and you need to buy all the patches that they earn and special activity fees. It all adds up pretty quickly. So in true swamp yankee style I began looking for a more frugal option for enriching my kids’ lives.
That’s when I came across 4H. Now I had gone to a 4H camp as a kid, but sort of forgot about it. You don’t hear about it as much as girl scouts or boy scouts. Plus, everyone thinks it is only for farm kids to learn about farming and farm animals. SO NOT TRUE! I began looking through the 4h website. They have so many awesome topics and curriculum. Everything from, animals, cooking, computers, and robotics. You can check it for yourself at : http://www.4-h.org/resource-library/curriculum/
Then I read about how to join. 4H is Free! It is Free to join for both Members and volunteers. Wait that is not even the best part…. Its coed and multi aged. This means both my kids can join together and we go together as a family to meetings and events. This means a lot less crazy driving everyone in different directions. Also, after being involved in many coed multi age groups though homeschooling. I have decided I love that dynamic. The older kids help the younger kids, which gives the older kids a leadership role and the younger kids have great role models in the older kids. Being Coed is another advantage…life is coed. Learning to deal with and understand the opposite sex is a great life lesson. Let’s face it boys and girls often approach things differently. So do men and women. Learning to navigate this at an early age can help foster healthier relationships later in life.
There are no uniforms or patches to buy, some clubs charge a small amount of dues, some charge non. 4H encourages kids to find what they are interested in and learn about that. So everyone’s 4H journey will be unique to them. The state and County 4H offers all kids of events and new opportunities for the kids to learn and try new things, Robotic contest, public speaking, animal shows, cooking contests and quiz type game events to name a few. You can pick and choose which events you want to participate in based on your interests and schedule. Best part….most of the events are Free!
We are really enjoying our 4H journey. It gives us great enriching experience that we can enjoy together as a family in a very low cost affordable way. This is why 4H was the right choice for us. Your family and child’s needs and preferences might differ and other options such as boys/girl scouts might be a better fit for you. Whatever you choose, do it because it works for your entire family. Do your research and make the right selection for your family’s needs. We did and are happier for it!