Character and Leadership Development

Programs in this Core Program Area empower youth to support and influence their 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. Programs and activities include:

Youth of the Year
Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club members. Each year, one exceptional Club member is selected to be the National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year serves as both an exemplary ambassador for Boys & Girls Club youth and as a strong voice for all of our nation’s young people.

The journey to being named National Youth of the Year begins locally and progresses to the state, regional and national levels. To achieve the title of Youth of the Year on any level, Club members must embody the values of leadership and service; academic excellence; and healthy lifestyles. They should exemplify the critical impact that Boys & Girls Clubs have on the lives of young people.

Torch Club
Torch Clubs are a small-group leadership and service clubs for boys and girls ages 11-13. 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 program 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.

Keystone
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 three areas: academic success, career exploration and community service.