Our Mission: “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens”
Our Values: Believe, Inspire, Lead, Motivate
Education & Career
BGCA has implemented the programmatic strategy Every Member, Every Year, designed so that all Clubs, no matter their size or resources, can partner with youth, parents, schools and other community stakeholders to implement at least one of three approaches: academic enrichment and school engagement; targeted dropout prevention; and intensive intervention and case management. Our aim is to ensure that all Club members graduate from high school on time, ready for a post-secondary education and a 21st-century career.
Power Hour: Making Minutes Count provides Club professionals with the strategies, activities, resources and information to create an engaging homework help and tutoring program that encourages Club members at every age to become self-directed learners.
The Power Hour materialsprovide practical tips and best practices for recognition and incentives, behavior management, volunteer recruitment and training, collaboration with other organizations and use of technology and the Internet.
Project Learn reinforces the academic enrichment and school engagement of young people during the time they spend at the Club.
This strategy is based on research demonstrating that students do much better in school when they spend their non-school hours engaged in fun, but academically beneficial, activities. Through Project Learn, Club staff use all the areas and programs in the Club to create opportunities for these high-yield learning activities, which include leisure reading, writing activities, discussions with knowledgeable adults, helping others, homework help, tutoring and games (such as Scrabble), that develop young people’s cognitive skills. Project Learn also emphasizes parent involvement and collaboration between Club and school professionals as critical factors in creating the best after-school learning environment for Club members ages 6 to 18.
Club Tech is an ambitious, multi-year initiative that provides all Boys & Girls Clubs with state-of-the-art software; a comprehensive array of programs to help Club professionals build members’ computer skills and integrate technology in all Core Program Areas; and extensive, ongoing training for Club professionals. Club Tech helps Clubs incorporate technology in every aspect of their operation.
Most importantly, young people develop the technology skills necessary to succeed in school and the job market. Club Tech resources and programs are available through www.myclubmylife.com, BGCA’s web site for teens.
Preparing teens for our nation’s workforce.
CareerLaunch encourages Club members ages 13 to 18 to assess their skills and interests, explore careers, make sound educational decisions and prepare to join our nation’s work force. Club staff or volunteers use the Career Exploration Quick Reference Guide to work with teens individually or in small groups to build their job-search skills and job readiness. The easy-to-read CareerLaunch Teen Tips is pocket sized and full of practical job-hunting advice for young people. The CareerLaunch website, www.careerlaunch.net, provides Club teens, staff and volunteers with online career exploration, college and job search information and interactive activities. Mentoring, job shadowing and training opportunities round out the program.
Character & Leadership
Helping youth become responsible, caring citizens and acquire skills for participating in the democratic process is the main thrust of these programs. They also develop leadership skills and provide opportunities for planning, decision-making, contributing to Club and community and celebrating our national heritage.
Torch Clubs are chartered, small-group leadership and service clubs for boys and girls ages 11 to 13.
A Torch Club is a powerful vehicle through which Club staff can help meet the special character development needs of younger adolescents at a critical stage in their life. Torch Club members learn to elect officers and work together to implement activities in four areas: service to Club and community; education; health and fitness; and social recreation. The Staples National Torch Club Awards are presented annually to Torch Clubs with outstanding programs and activities in each area. Each year, Torch Club members from across the country take part in a service learning experience through the National Torch Club Project. Cash awards ranging from $500 to $2,500 are presented to the top entries.
Keystoning is the Boys & Girls Club Movement’s ultimate teen program.
This unique leadership development experience provides opportunities for young people ages 14 to 18. Youth participate, both in and out of the Club, in activities in three focus areas: academic success, career preparation and community service. With the guidance of an adult advisor, Keystone Clubs aim to have a positive impact on members, the Club and community.
Youth of the Year
BGCA’s premier recognition program for Club members
Established in 1947, Youth of the Year is BGCA’s premier recognition program for Club members, promoting service to Club, community and family; academic success; strong moral character; life goals; and poise and public speaking ability. The program is most effective when used as a year-round tool for fostering young people’s character, personal growth and leadership qualities.
Local Clubs recognize members ages 14 to 18 as Youth of the Month winners and select a Youth of the Year, who then participates in state competitions. State winners each receive a $1,000 scholarship and participate in regional competitions. Five regional winners each receive a $10,000 scholarship and compete on the national level. The National Youth of the Year receives up to an additional $50,000 scholarship and is installed by the President of the United States.
Health & Life Skills
These initiatives develop young people’s capacity to engage in positive behaviors that nurture their own well-being, set personal goals and live successfully as self-sufficient adults.
Passport to Manhood promotes and teaches responsibility in Club boys ages 11 to 14.
Passport to Manhood consists of 14 sessions, each concentrating on a specific aspect of character and manhood through highly interactive activities. Each Club participant receives his own “passport” to underscore the notion that he is on a personal journey of maturation and growth. The program includes a service project where boys learn the importance of giving back to the community. Passport to Manhood represents a targeted effort to engage young boys in discussions and activities that reinforce character, leadership and positive behavior.
An outgrowth of the popular and effective SMART Moves program, SMART Girls is a health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem enhancement program for girls ages 8 to 17.
The program is designed to encourage healthy attitudes and lifestyles that will enable early adolescent girls to develop to their full potential.
The SMART Moves (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) prevention/education program addresses problems such as drug and alcohol use and premature sexual activity.
The program uses a team approach involving Club staff, peer leaders, parents and community representatives. More than simply emphasizing a “Say No” message, the program teaches young people ages 6 to 15 how to say no by involving them in discussion and role-playing, practicing resistance and refusal skills, developing assertiveness, strengthening decision-making skills and analyzing media and peer influence. The ultimate goal: to promote abstinence from substance abuse and adolescent sexual involvement through the practice of responsible behavior.
NetSmartz teaches Internet safety skills through engaging multimedia activities and offline interaction with Club professionals in three age-appropriate modules: Clicky’s Web World (for ages 6 to 7); NetSmartz Rules (for ages 8 to 12); and I-360 (for ages 13 to 18).
Topics include personal safety, shopping safety and ethical use of the Internet. To learn more, youth ages 12 and younger can go directly to www.netsmartzkids.org; while teens, parents and Club staff can learn about Internet safety at www.netsmartz.org. BGCA collaborated with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to develop NetSmartz. Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs.
A Component of the Triple Play Program
Designed to incorporate healthy living and active learning in every part of the Club experience, Healthy Habits emphasizes good nutrition, regular physical activity and improving overall well-being.
The program, for ages 6 to 15, is the Mind component of Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul.
This year-round program encourages Club members ages 6 to 18 to learn and practice black-and-white, color, digital and alternative process photography.
The ImageMakers National Photography Program Resource Guide is full of fun, creative activity ideas for three skill levels, contains a brief, user-friendly guide for advisors and details information about the annual photography contest that provides local, regional and national recognition. Club members’ photographs selected at the contest’s national level are exhibited at BGCA’s National Conference and other events. Each winning artist’s work is featured in a virtual gallery on the ImageMakers Web site, www.imagemakersbgca.org. The site also features resources, tools and fun, interactive activities designed to enhance Club members’ experience with photography.
This year-round program encourages artistic expression among Club members ages 6 to 18 through drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed media and sculpture displayed at local and regional exhibits.
Using the interactive National Fine Arts Program Guide, staff can guide youth through the various art projects with stepby- step instructions and instructional videos. A panel of distinguished judges selects works for inclusion in the National Fine Arts Exhibit, which is displayed throughout the ensuing year at BGCA events, including the annual National Conference.
sports, fitness & recreation
These Club programs help develop fitness, a positive use of leisure time, reduction of stress, appreciation for the environment and social and interpersonal skills.
A Game Plan for Mind, Body and Soul
Triple Play, BGCA’s first comprehensive health and wellness program, developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, strives to improve the overall health of Club members ages 6-18 by increasing their daily physical activity, teaching them good nutrition and helping them develop healthy relationships.
The Mind component encourages young people to eat smart through the Healthy Habits program, which covers the power of choice, calories, vitamins and minerals, the food pyramid and appropriate portion size. The Body component boosts Clubs’ traditional physical activities to a higher level by providing sports and fitness activities for all youth. Body programs include six Daily Fitness Challenges; teen Sports Clubs focused on leadership development, service and careers in athletics; and Triple Play Games Tournaments, inter-Club sectional tournaments that involve multiple team sports. The Soul component helps build positive relationships and cooperation among young people.
Triple Play Parents Game Plan
Because parents play such a critical role in the development of a child’s physical and social well-being, BGCA and Coca-Cola produced a tool, Triple Play Parents Game Plan, that can be used at home – where healthy habits start, are modeled and reinforced.
These initiatives focus on meeting the significant and specific needs identified within Boys & Girls Clubs. Their broad scope complements several or all of our core program areas.
Through a comprehensive set of interventions, the Youth for Unity program aims to promote and celebrate diversity while combating prejudice, bigotry and discrimination.
Youth for Unity features age-appropriate programming for youth ages 6 to 12, teens and parents; training and resources for Club professionals; and a leadership awards program. The program builds the capacity of local Clubs to help their members appreciate themselves as unique and special individuals, understand diversity in society, recognize bias and unfairness and take personal leadership in confronting bias.