COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHT – August 2022
THE BOYS AND GIRLS CLUBS OF THE TWIN CITIES is this month’s featured organization. All featured organizations can be found in the CIC Resource Guide.
Note that CIC cannot vouch for the organizations on this list.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities (BGC) are a place where young people can access academic support, develop leadership and social-emotional skills, and build community.
BGC is committed to providing engaging, educational activities and individualized support to youth from Kindergarten through high school graduation, and to ultimately prepare them for their desired post-graduation plans. BGC has locations across the metro area offering year-round programming for all age groups. BGC membership, and all associated programming, are completely free.
BGC uses a holistic model to support student success. Their comprehensive programming falls into three main categories: academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character and leadership. These pillars of the BGC experience help young people build life skills, like nutrition, fitness, and mental health, alongside their education. BGC supports these goals in many ways, ranging from providing healthy meals and snacks to connecting students to mental health professionals.
While BGC has an academic focus, they emphasize that all club locations are safe spaces for young people to be themselves and to feel that their unique identities and circumstances are accepted.
They prioritize inclusivity, equity, and opportunity. In order to meet the needs of all students, BGC staff are trained to provide trauma-informed programming and support.
At BGC, student interests and needs drive daily programming. While there are milestones that students meet to demonstrate their academic progress, daily activities are both fun and educational, with instruction styles that differ from what students experience in school. BGC programming is designed to work for kids that may not connect with traditional teaching styles, which means approaching education creatively. It also means allowing students to individually determine their ideal post-graduation path and helping them plan for it.
Programming varies by age group. Younger students focus on literacy and numeracy, while older students work on building skills in S.T.E.M., investigating career paths, and beginning post-grad plans. BGC helps high school students connect with local jobs and internships and offers scholarships to students who exemplify BGC values through the Youth of the Year program. Members of all ages have the opportunity to attend Voyageur, BGC’s residential summer camp and environmental education center.
In order to prepare students to positively impact their communities, BGC emphasizes leadership development. They facilitate youth advocacy and encourage students to use their voices to effect change, both within BGC and in the greater community. Their teaching strategies and supporting activities are designed to set students up with academic proficiency, life skills, and a safe, supportive community.
The only membership requirement is that families commit to sending their student to BGC two days a week. Consistent attendance helps staff build strong relationships with students and ensures that they fully experience the benefits of the curriculum. School year sessions begin soon, and students are encouraged to sign up now. There is no cost to membership.
Interested families can enroll in BGC by finding their closest location and filling out the associated registration form. Those who would rather register in person can visit their nearest location and a staff member will be able to assist with membership.