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The Boys & Girls Club movement began in 1860 when a group of concerned women in Connecticut formed the first Boys’ Club as a safe place for local boys to spend their free time. By 1906, 53 Clubs had been established and a national organization, the Federated Boys’ Clubs, was formed in Boston. The organization was chartered by the U.S. Congress as Boys’ Clubs of America in 1956, and became Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 1990.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) is a premier youth-serving organization in the USA , providing youth development services to more than 4.8 million young people each year at some 4,300 Boys & Girls Club facilities through membership and community outreach. The BGCA’s mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need it most, reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.
Known as “The Positive Place For Kids,” Boys & Girls Clubs are uniquely positioned to make a difference in the lives of America’s underserved youth because of four intrinsic characteristics:
- Clubs are designed and operated exclusively for youth, with the needs and interests of young people in mind.
- Clubs are available daily to provide a positive place for kids to go—when they need it most.
- Clubs have a core staff of trained professionals who provide guidance and supervision, and serve as role models.
- Clubs are accessible and affordable to all.
Through five core program areas—Character and Leadership Development; Education and Career Development; Health and Life Skills; The Arts; and Sports, Fitness and Recreation—Boys & Girls Clubs assist young people in establishing a strong, positive sense of identity by nurturing their talents, self-esteem and drive.
BGCA provides leadership and guidance to local Boys & Girls Clubs in the form of: program research and development; personnel recruitment and training; facility design, construction and safety; fundraising, marketing and communications; evaluation of organizational effectiveness and development; consultation regarding the establishment of new Clubs; and, support of legislative and public policy issues affecting youth.
Impact of Boys & Girls Clubs of America
An independent survey of Club alumni, conducted by Harris Interactive, revealed that BGC alumni firmly believe that Club membership had both an immediate and long-lasting impact on their lives.
- 62 percent of alumni said they became more committed to their education.
- 90 percent agreed that the Club was one of the best things available in their communities.
- 84 percent said that participating in the Club had a favorable impact on their families.
- An amazing 57 percent of alumni said the Club saved their lives.
Scope of the BGCA Movement:
4.5 million—Girls and boys served annually 1,100—Local Boys & Girls Club organizations Some 4,300—Club facilities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands , and overseas, including:
- 415 Clubs located on U.S. military bases in the U.S., Europe and Asia
- 516 Clubs located in public housing
- 1,419 Clubs operating in school facilities
- 172 Clubs located on Native American lands
- 54,000 —Trained professional youth workers full and part-time
- 194,000—Board and program volunteers
- Achieving Impact with Strategic Growth
- Expanding Club Influence Beyond our Walls
- Building Stronger Organizations and assuring Greater Public Trust
BGCA Impact 2012: Five-Year Strategic Plan key points:
For the five-year period of 2008-2012, the Boys & Girls Club Movement has identified four fundamental pillars that establish its priorities:
The BGCA will expand its influence and reach beyond its walls to enhance its effectiveness in Clubs and communities, resulting in:
- Increased civic engagement of Club members
- Stronger families and communities
- Increased brand awareness
- Recognized leadership in youth development
- Implement programs that encourage civic engagement
- programs and partnerships to strengthen Club programs, families and communities
- Implement a new brand strategy
The strategies will involve BGCA leading the movement to:
CRY America’s grant to the BGCA will be directed towards it’s strategic plan Impact 2012 and the BGCA Club facilities for keeping children safe, the purpose of which is to keep children safe through the Club facilities and expand the influence of BGCA beyond the walls of the Club facilitates by promoting programs that strengthen families and communities, increase it’s role on youth development issues and implement civic engagement programs.
CRY America’s Action Centers are also encouraged to volunteer locally with the BGCA Clubs locally - the details of this interface will be worked out locally.
For more information about BGCA: please visit www.bgca.org
To know more about CRY America’s Grant to BGCA:
- Project Learn- An Update on BGCA’s Education Strategy, click here.
- BCGA 2008-2009 Grant report, click here.
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