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High school clubs and organizations, are student-based school organizations, consisting of administration-approved organizations functioning with myriads of tasks, varying on the specific purpose of each respective club. Clubs composed of students, with adults as advising figures to maintain the functionality of clubs. Clubs primarily focus on four aspects: fundraising, community service, career interest, and interpersonal dynamics (also known as group dynamics). In general, clubs are broken down into two main categories: State and/or Nation Wide organizations, and local clubs. Within major, nation-wide club organizations, each individual charter within each school is referred to as a "chapter". Clubs are started by either corporations, counterpart adult organizations, or campus students looking to satisfy a need or demand. High school clubs are predominantly located in the United States, Canada, and Japan though many clubs exist in Europe as well.
The first high school student-based organization chartered in Sacramento High School in California, in May 1925. The concept of instilling an organized, separate entity separate from the school itself came from Albert Olney, and Frank Vincent. They were school administrators and Kiwanis Club members who were looking to form a junior service club in the school. This organization later became known as Key Club. Key Club now stands today as the largest student-based organization in the world, though not the largest high school organization in the world.
Tracking down precise history of high school organizations is difficult as several thousand types of clubs exist. Prominent clubs include high school subdivisions of Red Cross, Make-A-Wish Foundation, National Honor Society, National Beta Club, Junior State of America, Interact, Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, among many other organizations. Each club has their own timeline, with hallmark internal achievements only known by members of each respective club.
Students join clubs for various reasons, leading to a diverse pool to choose from in most schools. Most active club members generally consist of freshman and sophomores, looking to find their respective niche in school dynamics. Student-based high school organizations offer teenagers a special element in that every person within the club share a common desire, ability, and/or personality. This type of connection leads to the existence of clubs in the vast majority of high schools.
There are no extraordinary physical and mental requirements to join a club. This special aspect distinguishes club organizations apart from Sports (requiring intense athletic prowess) and Drama (requiring physiological control and memorization). Most clubs only require a minimal membership fee (varying anywhere from $3–$30) depending on the organization. This openness allows greater opportunity for creating a tight knit community within the club. This idealist vision appeals to many of the underclassmen.
There are four main club categories: fundraising, community service, career interest, and interpersonal dynamics. Many clubs offer a combination of each element.
Many people polarize toward fundraising for a major organization or movement. Fundraising appeals to people as high school students make a direct impact on international affairs, such as funding cancer research or environmental preservation.
Many schools require that students perform a certain community service quota. To obtain such a threshold, many people turn to community service organizations such as Exchange Clubs, Key Club, Interact Club, Lion's Club, Red Cross, and local clubs. In doing so, many teenagers experience more camaraderie while performing community service. Other individuals just enjoy helping the local community around them.
Many teenagers join clubs that revolve around their career interest. Many clubs, such as Junior State of America and Future Scientist and Engineers of America focus on specific career fields and help students understand them better. Many competitions, awards, and conventions are held to give club members advantages in these fields by exposing them to new opportunities. In addition, members of career interest clubs network with other students who will enter similar fields.
Many teenagers join clubs that offer no academic, organizational, or community benefit. These clubs tend to focus around culture, social dynamics, and self-interest. These clubs look to satisfy the needs and demands of teenagers in each school, based on environment, tradition, and culture.