Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) is a vital resource for more than 11 million children and teens across the country. These clubs provide more than safe places for youth to go after school; they facilitate diverse programs that help prepare kids for successful futures. BGCA is determined to help all youth receive the same opportunities, no matter their circumstances or background.
Let’s look at a few interesting facts about BGCA and its impact:
1. It has been around for over 150 years.
In 1860, three residents of Hartford, Connecticut, came up with the concept for what would later become BGCA. Seeing boys idle in the streets, these women decided to organize a cub that would give them a better alternative. This first club focused on building character by using each child’s interests to encourage better behavior and help set goals for their future.
2. Child safety is its greatest focus.
Above all else, BGCA is committed to the safety of its club members. These efforts start at the top, with stringent screening procedures and guidelines designed to prevent any behavior that could compromise the safety of members. BGCA also strives for inclusivity at each of its clubs, which gives more kids and teens a safe space to play, learn new things, and participate in activities that will help them grow.
3. It drives impressive outcomes.
BGCA’s 2018 National Youth Outcomes Report highlighted the impressive impact that local clubs have on kids and teens across the country. Of kids ages 9 to 12 who reported an “optimal club experience,” 40 percent were more likely to find schoolwork meaningful. They were also nearly 20 percent more likely to be on track to graduate high school.
Teens who participate in club activities are also more likely to volunteer each month and less likely to engage in harmful activities such as drinking, smoking, and getting into physical altercations. Older teens who attend BGCA clubs are 18 percent more likely to pursue a college education.