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Help your children meet new people, try new things and have fun with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Since 1991, the military services have worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to provide children between ages of 6 and 18 access to Boys & Girls Clubs or Boys & Girls Club-affiliated youth centers in all 50 states and 16 countries worldwide. Whether you are active duty, reserves or National Guard, Boys & Girls Clubs offers free memberships to traditional clubs for geographically dispersed military. Through Mission: Youth Outreach, your child can be involved with high-quality programming and caring mentors. Additional fees may apply for Boys & Girls Clubs as well as programs offered at installation youth centers.
The clubs and affiliated youth centers provide:
- A solid support network that offers a sense of belonging
- Ongoing relationships with caring adults
- A safe and healthy environment to develop lifelong skills
Installation youth centers worldwide are affiliated with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In addition to their own unique programming, youth centers offer many of the same programs as traditional Boys & Girls Clubs and are available to more than 450,000 military children. This continuity of programming, such as the Youth of the Year and Keystone Clubs for leadership development, help youth make smooth transitions from installation to installation. Your children and teens can participate in national events and volunteer on the installation or in the surrounding community — in the same clubs and activities — regardless of installation.
Families located off installation can also participate in the fun. Active-duty, National Guard and reserve children can attend a local Boys & Girls Club for free. That means your children have the same opportunities as on-installation families, with the same benefits and a chance to partake in entertaining, character-building programs.
Typical Boys & Girls Clubs have an arts and crafts area, gymnasium, library, game room and multipurpose room. Some clubs have swimming pools, computer learning centers, camps and outdoor play areas, too. All clubs are staffed by trained professionals. No matter where military youth participate, Boys & Girls Clubs offers specific programs just for them:
- Education and workforce readiness programs help children develop goals for the future by providing career exploration and unique educational opportunities. These programs include Summer Brain Gain, Computer Science Pathway and the MyFuture digital literacy program.
- Character and leadership programs offer opportunities for planning and decision-making to help youth become responsible, caring citizens and develop leadership skills to foster a new generation of leaders. Programs include Torch Club, the Million Members, Million Hours of Service program and the Keystone Clubs.
- Health and wellness programs encourage children to engage in healthy, active lifestyles that nurture their well-being and to set personal goals to improve overall well-being. Programs like SMART Moves, Healthy Habits and Passport to Manhood help develop responsibility, make good choices and engage in healthy relationships.
- The arts programs provide positive outlets for creative self-expression and help youth foster creativity and develop skills in visual, performing and literary arts. Studies in music, drama and fine arts promote critical thinking, self-discipline, self-esteem, self-confidence and teamwork.
- Sports and recreation programs provide quality, structured sports programming designed to increase opportunities for fitness and positive use of leisure time, build interpersonal skills and reduce stress. Children and teens enjoy golf, baseball and other general fitness programs.
If you are wondering about other unique opportunities through Boys & Girls Clubs, take a look at the Youth of the Year annual event. Since its beginning in 1947, this leadership program has evolved into a leadership develop program that highlights outstanding military youth who exemplify academic success, strong character and dedication to service — becoming the leaders of tomorrow.
How to Participate
All children of active-duty, Guard and reserve service members can take advantage of Boys & Girls Clubs programs. Families living on installation may visit their local military youth center to participate in Boys & Girls Clubs-affiliated programs.
All children of geographically dispersed active-duty, Guard and reserve service members can visit the Boys & Girls Clubs Military Partnership website to search for a club to join near you. Through this partnership, children who do not live near installations may be eligible to receive free membership to their local Boys & Girls Club. Additional fees may apply for transportation, field trips and other supplemental activities. To learn more about free membership through Mission: Youth Outreach, call 404-487-5355.