There are tons of fun things to do with your dog and lots of places and sports that will welcome you as a beginner.Thank you all for the enlightening responses! It makes sense that the club doesn't want to invest in an unknown, I hadn't thought of that. Anyway it's the only club within a reasonable drive for me and so I have set aside that idea anyway. I will be looking into some other sport for my guy in which the organization isn't so selective. Thanks very much!
I personally think it is short sighted to send people packing because they just want to have fun with their dog...some of those people are going to become the next generation of die hard dog people once they get hooked.
I can tell you that there are plenty of AKC people who are not getting paid to help beginners who do so with a smile on their face so my advice is find somewhere welcoming and do some fun things with your dog. There is SO much out there to do. If I were you I'd look for a local kennel club, where you might find anything from rally, obedience, nosework classes.
Look for an AKC tracking club, they often do spring time beginner's clinics to help people get into the sport. That's how I got started tracking with my dog.
I've heard for years how snobby and nasty AKC Obedience people can be, and some of them are. But last fall my dog and I competed in AKC obedience for the first time and people were super welcoming and supportive of me and my dog, and we were a couple hours out of our home zone and didn't know too many people there so these were just total strangers to me.
There are three or four kennel clubs within sort of driving distance of me out here in the middle of nowhere and there are classes or group practices welcoming beginners for all of the following:
probably other things I am not thinking of at the moment.