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 young person from a Boys & Girls Club rises to the role of 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 state, regional and national levels, with an additional military phase for members of BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations.
CHARACTER & LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS OFFERED
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. 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 11-13. 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.
Million Members, Million Hours of Service (MMMHS) encourages good character and appreciation for citizenship and provides every Club member with opportunities to serve in year-round Club and community based volunteer service experiences. BGCA encourages Clubs and provides resources to help them engage every member in at least one hour of service each year. If one million of our members give one hour per year, it will add up to one million hours spent by young people making meaningful change in their communities. Throughout the year, there are eight Signature Service Opportunities-times when the entire Boys & Girls Club Movement comes together around important, nationwide service projects for greater impact.