Tuesday, January 15, 2008


The 4H Dog program lady called tonight. I put a call into her over a month ago, she'd been busy and apologized.

So, we're set to start this. We have to join the next county over's 4H.

I know NOTHING about 4H. I do know Thomas will have to train once a week. That's great. He will also have to join a club? What else will he have to do?

Bottom line: HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST ME?????

I'm hyperfocused on money this year, and want to work this into the budget! Aside from gas being $3 a gallon, and this town is 20 miles from here, how much money?

Thomas is excited about it. He wants to do it. He's ready to volunteer at our local animal shelter again, which we'll do after Tesla has his second round of shots.

Help, someone explain this 4H thing to me, please!


audrey said...

You need to ask Doc. She's the 4H queen. My brother and I did 4H, but that was ages and ages ago. If I remember correctly, the dues were very cheap and there were no hidden costs to speak of. We paid a small fee for our fair entries, and with the dogs for our tournament fees.

Meg_L said...

4H varies by state, and as we found in Indiana, even by county, so anything one of us says will be different than you might find.

But one thing is consistent, the county agents are used to new people asking ALL sorts of questions and being lost. Use your agent and their office staff and ask them questions.

1. if you join a club it will probably have dues. They should be up front about it.

2.Sometimes the county will also charge a small fee (this is one thing that varies in Indiana based on the how much the county supports 4H with funding).

3. Some places will require you to sign up by a certain date (In NY, where I grew up doing 4H, it was Jan. 1, but here in Indiana it also varies by county).

4. If you are in a group, then it will have regular meetings/activities of some sort.

5. Sometime over the summer, your county will hold a 4H fair. Participating is your choice, though I'd highly recommend it.
a. some places will charge you to participate in fair.
b. some places will pay the child a premium for participating or winning.
c. Usually the kids who participant at fair will be divided into different levels - In NY it was over/under 13, here in Indiana they split every year into a different level. That said, must often Dogs is split by the dog's level/experience not the kids.
d. Your county will probably offer some kids a chance to continue to State Fair - In NY is was the top prize winning animals, in Indiana it seems like anyone who wants to go.

6. Part of doing 4H is keeping a record book. Here in Indiana we turn it in prior to fair, back in NY we turned in it in September and it included information on our prizes from county and state fairs. For animals the books usually include keeping track of costs and documenting activities. Doing the book may/may not be required, but it is a good experience.

Hope that helps!

Mama B said...

Well way back in the day we had a monthly meeting but never dues. Fundraisers though....ugh we did fundraisers. (Blech!)

For what its worth I've found that 4H is one of the lower cost clubs in Iowa due mostly to the fact YOU control what your child will do projectwise (for the fair). There are project costs and registration fees to bring the project to the fair.

mull-berry said...

Try a google search ... they just may have a a website.

Doc said...

Meg about covered it.

You can join a club, or you can be an independent, or you can take leader training (a one hour class) and have your own group - maybe other homeschoolers in your area? Check the club(s) out first before you decide.

Costs: In our state it's $3 per project for materials, and $1 per year for insurance. We meet once a month as an entire club, and then I meet with smaller groups to prepare for fair starting in March - this is probably average. Time wise, we put most of it in in the weeks preceding fair, the rest of the year, maybe 3-4 hours a month.

Dogs is usually a one day event at your county and state level, so unlike the livestock kids, you wouldn't need to camp out there all week. Likely there will be "play day" events leading up to fair, practice shows to attend that other 4H groups will put on as fund raisers, complete with concessions and a raffle.

Fund raising - the evil stepchild to all children's activities. Dues for our group is $2 per kid per month, that money goes towards the cartons of water I drag to fair and have in ice chests for the kids. In earlier years we used the money to buy decorations that we reuse every year for our livestock area. The dog people in our county have an 'area' too, in the main exhibit hall, where they post pictures and stories about their project animals, since their dogs are not on display all week.

Aside from dues, we do not "sell" things in our group, but others do. We have a garage sale in May that we participate in with several other groups and we divide up the money to buy club equipment like milking stands, but for dogs, I suppose you'd need crates and agility equip, stuff like that. We have a county wide car wash once a year to raise premium money for fair. A typical "blue ribbon" nets a kid about $1.50 at our fair - nobody's getting rich.

The one thing to consider is that 4H is often times a stepping off point for animal showing. Don't be surprised to find that one thing leads to another and you're searching the web looking for agility meets and dog clubs to join aside from 4H.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

My sister did horses in 4-H when we were kids. It was a good program, and she learned quite a lot, plus she got to participate in the county fair.

At that time and in our county in Illinois, there were dues on par with Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, and fund-raisers took care of the rest.

The really cool thing about clubs like this is that the kids work together on something they all enjoy. Sometimes it becomes a life-long obsession and source of income (like teaching riding is for my sister) and sometimes the kids move on to other things. Either way is okay.