I joined my club back in the 80's when I was starting out into serious photography. The club is still going strong and membership keeps around 140. It caters for all genres with sections for Natural History, Pictorial, Still Life, Studio and Portraiture, Colour, Monochrome. These groups meet on a monthly basis, share ideas and help those that are wanting advice and constructive criticism.
The weekly meeting comprises talks by recognised and usually international and national photographers. The last meeting of the month is put aside for competition, split between intermediate and advanced member, judged by accredited judges from the PAGB list.
The club holds an annual exhibition where every member takes part, if they so desire, so everyone's work is seen by the public at large, usually some 900-1000.
The club encourages members to apply for and enter panels for the RPS distinctions and we have many members that have achieved their LRPS, ARPS and a few FRPS. But that's another story.
Like any endeavour you will only get out what you put in, every newcomer is welcomed and made sure he/she is not ignored.
Club photography far exceedes distance learning and stretches you and I have seen raw and enthusiastic newcomers progress in leaps and bounds. Get in and join.