By the numbers, Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a tremendous organization. Through 4,645 local chapters it serves 4.73 million young people throughout the country and BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on US military installations worldwide. 72 thousand of those youth are served by one of the 16 Boys & Girls Clubs chapters located in rural, urban and suburban areas across Michigan.
Each chapter has full autonomy under the Boys & Girls Club brand, but what unites them are the shared guidelines and best practices for safety, programs, and operations – all of which have been developed over the last 150 years, nationally. Each year, staff from across Michigan come together for training and development to assist Clubs in delivering a world-class experience for they youth they serve.
Being a part of this powerful network helps Clubs avoid operating in a bubble. Clubs are held accountable to, not only Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s standards, but the standards of their peers as well. Best of all, as Clubs are innovating. They’re learning and growing locally. They’re able to share their successes with other Clubs to help them do the same. It really is a family and a movement.
Krystle Hunter works in the Muskegon Lakeshore region of the state. As a new hire to the organization, she was blown away by the learning opportunity.
“All of my career has been in youth development,” says the Detroit native who transitioned from nonprofit work in Grand Rapids. Working for the Boys & Girls Clubs was always on her bucket list. “I’ve traveled all over (the state) from Flint to Lansing. I love that it’s (the Clubs) youth-led and youth-focused.”
Charles Knox, a Boys & Girls Clubs veteran, began his career at a Boys & Girls Club in Detroit 11 years ago.
“I always had a passion for working with youth. I thought it was a good opportunity to showcase my talents and skills and give back,” says the Flint program coordinator.
“Hearing other staff experiences helps me just as much as the facilitator’s presentations.”
With over 150 years of expertise and knowledge, no wonder Boys & Girls Clubs across Michigan continues to be the go-to organizations for parents and youth alike after school and during the summer.