Helping youth become responsible, caring citizens and acquire skills for participating in the democratic process is the main thrust of the character and leadership programs of the Boys & Girls Clubs. They also develop leadership skills and provide opportunities for planning, decision-making, contributing to Club and community and celebrating our national heritage.
Keystone Clubs are chartered small group leadership development clubs for young people ages 14 to18. Keystoners elect officers, choose their own activities and plan and implement their own activities in six areas:
- Service to Club and community,
- Leadership development,
- Education and career exploration,
- Free enterprise and
- Social recreation.
A national charter entitles a Keystone Club to participate in regional and national Keystone conferences. Funded by the Taco Bell Foundation.
Youth of the Year
Sponsored by The Reader’s Digest Foundation, the National Youth of the Year program is designed to promote and recognize service to Club and community, academic performance and contributions to family and spiritual life. Competition begins with each Club selecting a Youth of the Year who receives a certificate and medallion then enters state competition. State winners receive a plaque and $1,000 scholarship then enter the regional competition. Each of the five regional winners receives a $10,000 scholarship and enters the national competition held in Washington, DC. The National Youth of the Year receives an additional $15,000 scholarship, totaling $26,000 in scholarships, and is installed by the President of the United States.
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. Torch Club members learn to elect officers and work together to plan and implement activities in four areas:
- Service to Club and Community
- Health and Fitness
- Social Recreation
Torch Club Awards are presented annually to Torch Clubs with outstanding programs and activities in the four areas. Each year, Torch Club members from all over the country take part in a service-learning experience through the National Torch Club Project. The Torch Club program is sponsored by Staples, Inc. and Staples Foundation for Learning, Inc.