Family vacations, lazy days at the pool and barbecues are what summertime is all about. Like many moms, you want to keep your kids busy. Consider involving them in an organization or club.
Many youth organizations are excellent introductions to basic survival and homesteading techniques. Some opportunities presented to your child could also teach them teamwork and how to win/lose gracefully.
Below are brief summaries of four children’s organizations that can teach your child important skills while having fun, making friends and developing a sense of accomplishment.
Whether it be Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, organized Scouting programs teach many survivalist skills.
Through a reward system of badges, pins, and patches that show others his or her accomplishments, Scouting can teach your child:
- Personal fitness
- First Aid
- Archery / Rifle Shooting
- Wilderness Survival
- Environmental Science
- Textiles / Sewing
Scouting organizations generally start accepting members as young as going into kindergarten (Girl Scouts) or finishing kindergarten (Cub Scouts) and continue on through adulthood. The typical Scouting program follows the fall through spring school year with additional outdoor and camping programs over the summer.
4-H (Head, Heart, Hands, Health) is a youth organization which encourages children to develop skills through taking specialized projects over the course of the 4-H year. Typically, projects are showcased at local fairs in recognition of the child’s hard work and accomplishment. Animal projects are rewarded with the sale of raised livestock by local supporting businesses and individuals.
Some examples of projects that teach several homesteading skills include:
- Canning & Freezing
- Exploring the Outdoors
- Numerous Baking & Cooking projects
- Tractor Operations
- First Aid
- Staying Healthy
Detailed projects on breeding and raising livestock include:
Children going into the third grade and above can join 4-H, show their projects, and sell their livestock at local fairs. Younger children can join as a Cloverbud member depending on the group but have limitations on what they can present during fair season.
The typical 4-H year follows the calendar year beginning in January or February depending on the area and generally ends after their county fair the end of summer or early fall. Other summer programs and camps are generally offered.
Boys & Girls Club
The Boys & Girls Club originally began to provide a safe and positive environment to get boys off the streets. Today, the club still provides a place for both boys and girls to be safe and supervised away from home. Although the program may not go as far as to teach in-depth survivalist skills, the club does offer many activities to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle.
Participating in a program that is open to all personalities, ethnicities, and backgrounds requires adaptation on all those involved. The club is generally open to school-age children but some locations may offer programs for younger children as well. Most facilities are open year-round and hours of operation may vary.
National FFA Organization
Future Farmers of America or FFA is an agricultural education program typically available to high school students. Many children even in small-town and rural areas are unaware of the skills needed and traditional methods of successful farming. FFA goes above and beyond teaching kids how to grow their own food.
The program teaches students the science beyond farming, the importance and value of agriculture, and its role in feeding the world. The program provides a foundation for many types of careers including biologists, chemists, veterinarians, engineers, and more. There are many conferences, camps, and other events for furthering agricultural education. Many different awards and incentives are in place for achieving goals, including scholarships.
Introducing Survival Basics
Not all children’s activities will result in a room full of trophies and shiny medals. The skills learned in the programs above provide a foundation of both basic and detailed survivalist intelligence. Many other programs exist that can assist in furthering your child’s homesteading dexterity. Some organizations may be localized so be sure to check with area schools, daycares, and other well-known children facilities for programs that introduce survival basics in your area.
Babbling bonus: Parents learn a lot as well when helping their children with projects, badges, etc. Scouts honor!
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