How to Get Started Starting Things, Interview with Natalie Mack. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
How Get Started Starting Things, Interview with Natalie Mack
We have our friend, Natalie Mack, with us today to discuss starting things. Natalie is a mom of homeschool high schoolers (and graduates), a military spouse, author, speaker and consultant to the military homeschool community for HSLDA. You already know her from previous interviews such as Tips for Homeschooling High School.
One of the things that homeschoolers seem to do a lot is: starting things! And Natalie understands that sometimes you just start things because your kids need it to happen. A few of the things Natalie has started in her community include:
National Beta Club,
About Natalie Mack
To start, Natalie usually has to sit on her hands to keep herself from starting another project. However, because her teens have had so many interests AND because there were not ready opportunities for them to get involved with those interests, Natalie has had to start a number of new activities for her area.
When you want to get started with starting an organization, simply contact them, tell your story, ask what needs to happen in order to start a branch or local group. That is what Natalie has done over and over. Her teens and others in the community have been truly blessed.
In no particular order, let’s talk about the things she has started for her homeschool high schoolers and homeschool community!
As a military spouse, Natalie’s teens have volunteered a lot. Her family has always been a family of service – specifically, military service. But separate from that service in their military communities, they have given back, a charitable service very important to them as a family.
Having said that, Natalie realized years ago in her military spouse service that there was something called the Presidential Service Right Award. She was being asked to give her hours so that they could be calculated, so she looked into it, and by doing so, she found the Congressional Award.
She started the Congressional Award for the volunteers of her support group, Ft. Belvoir Home Educators. She wanted them to be able to get credit for their services, along with anyone over the age of thirteen to get credit for their volunteer work. At first, Natalie thought no one would respond to the Congressional Award when she promoted it on social media channels. But she did get responses and people came out of the woodworks to volunteer.
Natalie saw this opportunity and did not keep it to herself. She shared it on social media and that is all it took to give other people the confidence to jump in on the process.
National Beta Club
Next on Natalie’s to “done” list is the National Beta Club, a club for homeschoolers. It started in 1934 in Spartanburg, South Carolina and has lasted over eighty years so far.
Many famous people have been a part of the National Beta Club, such as Kevin Duran and President Clinton to name a few. It currently has 445,000 active members and 9,600 clubs nationally and internationally.
So what is the National Beta Club, exactly? Beta has four principles that they seek:
They recognize and honor “Achievement,” which means students can compete in their state and national conventions to take tests in academic subject areas.This helps pre prepare young people for life and empowers them to be successful.
Beta club chapters have presidents and offices that the students serve. They present leadership skills and make speeches for their peers to choose who should serve in office. It is leadership developing the leaders of tomorrow, which is what the Beta club focuses on primarily.
The Beta club has done charity work in homeless shelters, where a representative will go and speak to the people there. This is one way for the kids of the club to know about those who are less fortunate and teach them how important it is that everyone is all in this together.
This Club was the only homeschool club available in their area in the Washington, DC area. There are two different ones depending on age, beginning with a Junior Beta from 4th grade to 8th grade and then a Senior Beta from 9th grade to 12th grade, and they had both clubs.
Natalie got involved with the Beta Club when she heard they opened the doors to homeschoolers. She felt God was tapping her on my shoulder to join. And so she did!
A few of the other leadership opportunities and services Natalie’s teens have been a part of are:
- The Fairfax County Watershed Cleanup
- A military organization called Blue Star Organization
They also partner with Starbucks to put yellow ribbons on Christmas trees in the Starbucks so people can acknowledge the military service and give thanks to them.
Toastmasters Youth Leadership Group
Natalie loves public speaking, even though she’s never received official training. And Toastmasters Youth Leadership Group is a program that enables young people under the age of 18 to develop their communication and leadership skills through practical experience.
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, the organization’s membership is approximately 280,000 in more than 14,700 clubs in 144 countries.
Natalie had an opportunity for her and the kids to participate in a Youth Leadership Group (YLP) for Toastmasters. The YLP has a training they recommend students go through first in order to set up a Toastmasters Youth Leadership program.
Once they went through the training, the kids absolutely loved it, so when they moved to Northern Virginia, Natalie started the YLP again.
Natalie has always been fascinated with 4-H. One thing she appreciates is that 4-H to no longer just agriculture. It is an organization with so many opportunities now, more than just about farm animals. They have summer camps and several leadership opportunities.
Homeschooling brings to so many opportunities, such as Toastmaster or 4-H, and it allows kids to discover and use their passions and interests. Teens are able to take those passions and interests and put them into established programs or even start a club, much like Natalie did.
Homeschooling gives kids the opportunities to shine.
To all the homeschool moms out there who want to start a club:
Be confident that you can do it. If you have an idea for your teen, there are likely one or two other moms who have that same eagerness too. The beauty is in coming together and making it happen together.
BTW- Have you met our Cousins? They are our BFFs who share wisdom and advice with the 7Sisters community and their own communities. They share resources, how-to’s, do coaching and more. Check out the Stuff We Like from our Cousins!
Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post!
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How Get Started Starting Things, Interview with Natalie Mack