Programs in this Core Area of Education & Career Development enable youth to become proficient in basic educational disciplines, apply learning to everyday situations and embrace technology to achieve success in a career. Programs in this core area include:

Education & Career Development
Education & Career Development
  • Project Learn:  Project Learn reinforces and enhances the skills and knowledge young people learn at school during the hours they spend at the Club.  Through Project Learn, Club staff use all the areas and programs in the Club to create opportunities for high-yield learning activities, which include leisure reading, writing activities, discussions with knowledgeable adults, helping others, homework help and tutoring and games like Scrabble that develop young people’s cognitive skills.
  • Power Hour:  Making Minutes Count provides Club professionals with the strategies, activities,resources and information to create an engaging homework help and tutoring program that encourages Club members at every age to become self-directed learners.
  • Goals For Graduation:  Introduces academic goal setting to Club members ages 6-15 by linking their future aspirations with concrete actions today. In goal-setting sessions with Club youth development professionals, members set achievable “Know-I-Can” Goals, more challenging “Think-I-Can” Goals, and yearly “Believe-I-Can” goals. Members create an action plan with daily and weekly goals leading to short- and long-term gains.
  • Career Launch:  This fun and exciting program prepares teens for the working world. Club teens 13-18 years old embark on a journey to explore careers, make sound educational decisions and find success in the world of work.
  • Money Matters: Money Matters promotes financial responsibility and independence among Club members ages 13 to 18. Participants learn how to manage a checking account, create a budget, save and invest, start small businesses and pay for college.
  • STEM: The Club’s STEM program ranges from daily building challenges and video game design to weekly Lego Mindstorm sessions to a hands-on middle school program called Wise Guys and Wise Girls. STEM promotes collaboration and good decision-making through design, trial and error, and scientific experimentation.


Programs in this Core Program Area of Character & Leadership Development empower youth to support and influence their Club and community, sustain meaningful relationships with others, develop a positive self-image, participate in the democratic process and respect their own and others’ cultural identities. Programs in this core area include:

Leadership & Character Development
Leadership & Character Development
  • Youth of the Month: Staff select an outstanding member based on participation, attitude, character, and leadership qualities.  Members move on to participate in the Youth of the Year program.
  • Youth of the Year: Established in 1947, Youth of the Year is BGCA’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.
  • Learning Circles: In partnership with the Junior League this program provides positive female role models for our young girls to develop their self confidence, awareness, and favorable life skills.
  • Torch Club: Torch Clubs are chartered, small-group leadership andservice clubs for boys and girls ages 11 to 13.  A Torch Club is a powerful vehicle through which Club staff can help meet thespecial character development needs of younger adolescents.
  • Keystone Club:  The Boys & Girls Club Movement’s ultimate teen program. This unique leadership development experience provides opportunities for young people ages 14 to 18. Youth participate, both in and out of the Club, in activities in three focus areas: academic success, career preparation and community service. With the guidance of an adult advisor, Keystone Clubs aim to have a positive impact on members, the Club and community.


Programs in this Core Program Area of Health & Life Skills develop young people’s capacity to engage in positive behaviors that nurture their own well-being, set personal goals and live successfully as self-sufficient adults. Programs in this core area include:

Health & Life Skills
Health & Life Skills
  • SMART Moves: The SMART Moves (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) prevention/education program addresses problems such as drug and alcohol use and premature sexual activity. The program uses a team approach to teach young people ages 6 to 15 how to say no by involving them in discussion and role-playing, practicing resistance and refusal skills, developing assertiveness, strengthening decision-making skills and analyzing media and peer influence.
  • Passport to Manhood: promotes and teaches responsibility in boys ages 11-14 through highly interactive activities to underscore the notion that he is on a personal journey of maturation and growth.
  • SMART Girls: An outgrowth of the popular and effective SMART Moves program, SMART Girls is a health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem enhancement program for girls ages 8 to 17. The program is designed to encourage healthy attitudes and lifestyles that will enable early adolescent girls to develop to their full potential.
  • Triple Play: Healthy Habits: Designed for ages 6 to 15, the program aims to incorporate healthy living and active learning in every part of the Club experience. Healthy Habits is also the “Mind” component of Triple Play: A Game for the Mind, Body and Soul, emphasizes good nutrition, regular physical activity and improving overall well-being.
  • Healthy Habits: Each week, Clubs provide expert instruction in cooking and nutrition from local partners specific to each Club. Cooking methods, ingredient selection, and overall health concepts guide weekly discussion and practice sessions.


Programs in this area enable youth to develop their creativity and cultural awareness through knowledge and appreciation of the visual arts, crafts, performing arts and creative writing. Programs in this core area include:

The Arts
The Arts
The Arts
  • Digital Arts Suite and Festival: Club Tech’s Digital Arts Suite teaches members ages 6 to 18 how to create computer-generated art. The festivals showcase members digitally created masterpieces. Club members ages 10 to 18 are invited to submit their artwork to the annual Club Tech Digital Arts Festivals, which celebrate Club members’ creativity in graphic design, photo illustration, digital music composition animation and video production. The regional and national winning artworks can be sampled by going to the Digital Arts Festival Gallery site,
  • National Fine Arts Exhibit Program: This year-round program encourages artistic expression among Club members ages 6-18 through drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, mixed media and sculpture while providing opportunities for members to create artwork for display in a local exhibit.
  • Imagemakers: This year-round program encourages Club members ages 6 to 18 to learn and practice black-and-white, color, digital and alternative process photography.
  • James River Violin Program: Established in 2016, the weekly strings program has quickly become a hit at the James River Club. In partnership with the Charlottesville Symphony, members receive weekly instruction from qualified expert instructors as they learn techniques to play stringed instruments.


Programs in this area develop fitness, positive use of leisure time, skills for stress management, appreciation for the environment and social skills. Programs in this core area include:

Sports, Fitness, and Recreation
Sports, Fitness, and Recreation
  • Triple Play: A Game Plan for Mind, Body & Soul – Triple Play strives to improve the overall health of Club members ages 6-18 by increasing their daily physical activity, teaching them good nutrition and helping them develop healthy relationships. The Mind component encourages young people to eat smart through the Healthy Habits program. The Soul component helps build positive relationships and cooperation among young people.
  • Social Recreation: Play board and table games, compete in a tournament, learn a new activity or just visit with friends.  Social Recreation programs help members learn skills while teaching them how to work together.
  • Lacrosse the Nations: Lacrosse the Nations provides a week long camp and bi-weekly intramural league in the summer for the Boys & Girls Club.  The mission of this nonprofit, working domestically and in Central America, is to unify the lacrosse community to sustainably improve education and health while creating hope and opportunity for children in need.  To learn more visit