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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teaching manners and social graces to today's children

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It is hard for parents to know what path their children will take for their future. But, whatever path it may be, every parent wants the opportunity to prepare their children to the best of their ability.

The National League of Junior Cotillions (NLJC) is a great place to start. Their goal is to teach manners and social graces to today's youth.

Debbie Roberts, director of marketing for the NLJC, said they are looking for a director in the Sharp County area. The organization will train a director to teach the set curriculum that is taught in all of the NLJC classes.

The first chapter of what is now the NLJC was established in North Carolina in 1979. The expansion of the program was founded by Charles and Anne Winters in 1989. According to the Web site, today thousands of students are being taught etiquette, ethics and social dance in hundreds of cotillion programs presented by chapters in more than 25 states.

The NLJC mission statement is, "To act and learn to treat others with honor, dignity and respect for better relationships with family, friends and associates and to learn and practice ballroom dance."

And, according to their Web site they teach all of these things, along with today's "Netiquette." Netiquette refers to the rules associated with the use of Web surfing, e-mails and instant messaging. They also teach electronic etiquette, which covers cell phone courtesies, phones and digital manners at home and in public, electronic etiquette at home, school or the office, fax, copier and printer protocol and parent's guide to electronic etiquette.

The NLJC's dance program consists of traditional dances such as the Foxtrot, Cha Cha, Swing and the Waltz. They also incorperate today's popular dances such as line dances. They use today's music to teach the dances.

While the curriculum is based on ballroom dancing, it is equally focused on etiquette, manners and character education. The character education courses include proper telephone courtesy, acknowledgments of gifts, introductions, receiving lines, participating in group settings, polite conversation, paying and receiving compliments, sports etiquette, first impressions, dress code for all occasions, manners in the home and in public places, table manners, formal place settings, styles of dining, skills involved in being a guest as well as a host or hostess and several other areas.

The Junior Cotillion program is for sixth through eighth graders. According to Roberts the cost of the program depends on what the community and area can support. "They usually start at around $250 per year," Roberts said.

The director position is for profit, meaning it is a paying position. "Once the program is up and running they (the instructor) can start other programs, like the younger children," Roberts said.

Roberts said anyone who is interested in the director position can visit the Web site at www.nljc.com and fill out the application. "This does not obligate anyone it is just a preliminary step," Roberts said. The NLJC can also be contacted at 800-633-7947.

"These manners and skills, learned by students, stay with them for a lifetime," Roberts said. "To be able to shake someone's hand and look them in the eye gives the students confidence that is needed in today's society."

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