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Character  & Leadership

Helping youth become responsible, caring citizens and acquire skills for participating in the democratic process are the main goals 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.

Youth of The Year Suite

Through the Youth of the Year program, young people ages 14-18 showcase their talents and achievements, share their hopes and dreams, and work toward a bright and positive future. Candidates emerge through year-round recognition programs in their local Clubs or BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations. They progress through state and regional events, culminating in a weeklong celebration in Washington, D.C., where one is named the National Youth of the Year – the highest honor bestowed upon a Club member.

Torch Club

This small-group leadership development program, sponsored by Staples, is targeted to youth ages 11 to 13. Within some 700 Torch Clubs across the country, members elect officers and plan and implement their own activities and community service projects. Each Torch Club receives an official charter from Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Youth For Unity

BGCA’s Youth for Unity program provides youth and parents with the groundwork that will help them better understand diversity and combat prejudice, bigotry and discrimination. This program consists of a comprehensive, broad-based set of activities and conversation starters that build the capacity of local Clubs to help members appreciate themselves as unique and special individuals; understand our society’s diversity; recognize bias and unfairness; and take personal leadership in confronting bias.



Keystoning is the Boys & Girls Club Movement’s most dynamic teen program. It affords teens an opportunity to gain valuable leadership and service experience. Teens conduct activities in four areas:

  • Academic Success

  • Career Exploration

  • Community Service and

  • Teen Outreach


Badges for baseball

Badges for Baseball pairs police officers with kids to play and learn. Using baseball and other team sports as the hook, law enforcement officers become the coaches and mentors. Once youth are engaged and the lines of communications are open, law enforcement are given the vehicle to have meaningful conversations with kids who need it most. 

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