How to Start a Boys & Girls Club

Establishing a Boys & Girls Club begins with a desire to enhance the lives of young people in your community. Once the idea of a Club catches on, you’ll find momentum will build, and you’ll be on your way to making a real difference in young lives.

How to establish a Boys & Girls Club in your community.

1. Spread the word – Establishing a Boys & Girls Club typically starts with one or two people, who then get others interested. Reach out to officials of local government as well as civic, social and labor groups. Ask them to contact additional community leaders in their networks and seek their support.

2. Contact a Service Center – BGCA has three Service Centers that support Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide. After you gather community support, contact the closest Service Center to learn how to partner with a local Club. A BGCA Director of Organizational Development (DOD) and local Club leaders will help your group take the next steps.

3. Organize a steering committee – Schedule a meeting with those who want to start a Club. Keep it small to start, but do invite the DOD and CEO of the nearest Club to talk about Boys & Girls Clubs. If the group decides to pursue the idea further, form a steering committee to begin initial organizing.

4. Conduct a Community Readiness Assessment – While the need for a Club in your community may be clear, you must document that need by completing a Community Readiness Assessment provided by your DOD. This survey will determine how well the needs of the community’s young people are currently met. It can also identify community resources to support a Club.

5. Develop a Management Operating Agreement – Next, it's time to assemble official policies to establish your Boys & Girls Club and, with help from your DOD, work out a Management Operating Agreement with any existing local Boys & Girls Club.

6. Organize a Unit Advisory Council – Once policies are in place, you can organize a Unit Advisory Council, elect officers and establish committees that will help operate a Club. Consult with the DOD and CEO for guidance in selecting a Unit Advisory Council.

7. Secure a location – Now is the time to scout a location for your Club or find a suitable building. Work with your CEO on a location and the kind of building that would be satisfactory for a Boys & Girls Club.

8. Determine costs – Create a budget for the cost of building renovations, equipment and an operating budget for one year. The CEO will be invaluable to your committee in this kind of practical planning.

9. Raise the funds – You are now ready to raise funds together with the CEO and existing Club organization. The most common method of raising funds is through a community-wide founder's campaign using face-to-face solicitations – get out there and ask! Consult with the CEO to develop a resource development plan that will get your Club off to a great start.

10. Recruit a director – The wheels are in motion: Now you're ready to employ a qualified Boys & Girls Club professional to lead your Club. The assisting CEO will provide guidance in the all-important process of identifying good candidates.