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Starting a Junior Group
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YOUTH RESOURCES REPORT
By George and Rena Everett
April 1999 Lodestar (SFMS Newsletter)

In the past, we have had columns dealing with things to do with Juniors. Recently we have had several queries about what a club should do to start a Junior group. George was talking to a lady from Pennsylvania the other day, and she said that their club had just begun a Junior program, and they had 60 - 70 members already. Wow! I wish that we all were in a situation like that, but most of us have to really beat the bushes to find enough Juniors to begin and maintain a club. If you have young members with children in the club, you have a built-in base, and part of your battle is won. The adult meetings (especially the business parts) are not very interesting to youngsters; so they could have their own special programs in another area of the building during that time. They could certainly participate in the parts of the adult meetings that would be interesting to them, too. The has to be a lot of support from the adult members for the Junior group. First of all, there must be several people who are the specific advisors of the Juniors, and the younger parents have to do their parts to bring the youngsters to the meetings. (Car pools, maybe). The advisors must really be dedicated to what they are doing and willing to spend a lot of time planning opportunities for the Juniors, whether it be speakers for the meetings, field trips, special activities like rock swaps, ways for the youngsters to participate in the local show, and others. The older members of the club can support the Juniors with gifts of their time (to give programs), talents (to teach the various lapidary skills), and specimens (to be given as door prizes). Having a viable and active Junior group will not happen without the support of all of the members of the club, but what a great insurance policy this would be to ensure that the club would go on. 

There can be other advantages for the senior club, too. In the Memphis club, two of the ladies in the senior club volunteered to teach the Juniors to make gem trees at one of their meetings. The Juniors had so much fun and the gem trees were such a hit that the senior club members wanted a program of their own. It, too, was a great success. 

One of the givens in life is that children grow up, and Junior clubs are constantly losing the older members. So, another big job of the adult club is to keep up their efforts to attract young couples with children or young children with parents. (Many adults become interested in this hobby because of the fascination of their children.) Our work is never done, but what a fun and worthwhile job it is! 

[Note: I have often wondered how the information in this column gets to the present or potential Junior sponsors in a club. I know that there are people in this category who do not personally subscribe to the Lodestar, although each club receives several copies. I would ask the presidents and the bulletin editors who do receive the Lodestar to pass on any information they deem interesting to the youth advisors. Maybe they would even want to subscribe to this fine newsletter. - Rena]

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