I'm new to the skating world, only started skating in November, so I'm still a litlle lost on some things. I know that rinks and cities have their own clubs that you can join, but what's the benefit? Also, is there a difference between a normal freestyle session and club ice?
Things aren't run the same way everywhere, so I'll tell you my experience and then others can tell theirs.
In order to participate in USFS anything, you need to be a member. When you join, you may do so as an individual member, or as a member of a club that you would like to join. My advice is to check out several clubs, because each one is different. The advantage to belonging to a club is that you will be told about upcoming test sessions, where members generally get preference over out of club testers, and kept abreast of whatever is going on at the rink/rinks where your club has ice.
In my experience, freestyle ice is sponsored by the rink or skating school. Club is usually done by contract (just close your eyes and sign the darn thing! ;-) The advantage to club ice is that they limit the number of skaters and try to keep everyone with about the same abilities together. Freestyle ice has always meant to me that any little girl in a skating dress could go out there. (Which is fine, really, I love the kids, but realize I sounded rather curmudgeonly for a moment there.)
Which country are you in, as that makes a difference, too!