The Character and Leadership core program area empowers youth to support and influence the Club and community, sustain meaningful relationships with others, develop a positive self-image, participate in the democratic process and respect their own and others’ cultural identities.

These programs help youth become responsible, caring citizens and acquire skills to participate the democratic process. Program participants also develop leadership skills and gain opportunities for planning, decision-making, contributing to Club and community and celebrating our national heritage.

Youth of the Year is Boys & Girls Clubs of America’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.

Teens are offered employment as junior staff where they learn soft-skills, entry-level management and customer services skills.

Keystoning is the Boys & Girls Club Movement’s most dynamic teen program. It affords teens an opportunity to gain valuable leadership and service experience. They conduct activities in four areas: academic success, career exploration, community service, and teen outreach. Aaron’s Inc. sponsors the Keystone Club program as part of a multi-year teen initiative; a strategic partnership between Aaron’s Inc. and BGCA provides Clubs with the tools and resources to create a positive place for teens as well as for kids.

 

Torch Clubs are chartered small-group leadership and service clubs for boys and girls ages 10-13. 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 development. 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 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.

Regular service projects are arranged for teens and middle school Members. They learn how service learning ties to social justice and being a good citizen.