CHARACTER & LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT


Youth of the Year

Established in 1947, 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.

Local Clubs recognize members ages 14 to 18 as Youth of the Month winners and select a Youth of the Year, who then participates in state competitions. State winners each receive a $1,000 scholarship and participate in regional competitions. Five regional winners each receive a $10,000 scholarship and compete on the national level. The National Youth of the Year receives up to an additional $50,000 scholarship and is installed by the President of the United States.

Youth for Unity

Youth for Unity is the hallmark program of BGCA's diversity initiative. Youth for Unity provides youth and parents with the groundwork that will help them better understand diversity and combat prejudice, bigotry and discrimination.

As our nation becomes increasingly diverse, young people need the knowledge and skills to thrive in a globally connected society and world. Youth for Unity consists of a comprehensive, broad-based set of programmatic interventions that build the capacity of local Clubs to help members:

  • Appreciate themselves as unique and special individuals;
  • Understand our society’s diversity;
  • Recognize bias and unfairness; and
  • Take personal leadership in confronting bias.

The Youth for Unity strategy encompasses the following elements:

  • Youth for Unity Program Manual (for ages 6 to 12, teens and parents) designed for implementation in all Core Program Areas;
  • A Youth for Unity User’s Guide that provides staff with strategies for successful program implementation;
  • Training and resources for Club professionals;
  • Special marketing/promotional events, activities and resources; and
  • A National Diversity Advisory Committee.