Since 1991, the military services have collaborated with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to provide on- and off-installation access to youth centers and clubs around the country. Military youth (ages 6 to 18) access a solid support network that provides a sense of belonging, ongoing relationships with caring adults, and a safe and healthy environment to develop life-long skills.
As part of the collaboration, youth centers on installations around the world offer many of the same club programs as traditional clubs and are available to over 450,000 military children. These military youth have the opportunity to participate in national events and to volunteer their service on the installation or in the surrounding community.
On-installation support is only one benefit of this relationship with the Boys & Girls Clubs. More than 70 percent of military families live in civilian communities and don't have immediate access to youth center facilities. The collaboration allows geographically dispersed active-duty, Guard and reserve youth to attend a local Boys & Girls Club at no cost to the family. These youth have the same opportunities to participate in national events and to volunteer in their local community.
No matter where military youth participate, the Boys & Girls Clubs offer specific programs just for them:
- Education and career programs help youth develop goals for the future, providing opportunities for career exploration and educational enhancement.
- Character and education programs help youth become responsible, caring citizens and acquire skills for participating in the democratic process. They also encourage development of leadership skills and provide opportunities for planning, decision-making, contributing to the club and the community, and celebrating our national heritage.
- Health and life skills initiatives help youth achieve and maintain healthy, active lifestyles.
- Arts initiatives help young people enhance self-expression and creativity, develop multicultural appreciation, and provide exposure to, and develop skills in, crafts and visual, performing and literary arts.
- Sports, fitness and recreation programs help develop fitness, a positive use of leisure time, reduction of stress, appreciation for the environment, and social and interpersonal skills.
How Do I Participate?
All children of active-duty service members and mobilized and deployed Guard and reserve service members living on or off the installation can take advantage of Boys & Girls Club programs and activities. To participate, families living on the installation may visit their local military youth center. All children of geographically dispersed active-duty members and of mobilized and deployed Guard and reserve service members may participate by visiting the Boys & Girls Club Military Partnership website and clicking on Mission Youth Outreach to download an application to attend a local club. For more information, call 800-854-CLUB (2582).