The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington offer nationally recognized programs based on 5 Core Areas. Together, these five core program areas provide a varied, diverse activity base designed to meet the needs and interests of every member. After-school and Summer Camp Programming based on these Core Areas attract and keep the interest of members of all ages and serve as a means of getting to know members in order to influence their lives positively. A well-rounded Boys & Girls Club program puts emphasis on the following areas:
Character and Leadership Development
The Boys & Girls Club empowers 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.
Junior Staff: Cultivating Tomorrow's Club Professionals Today is an easy-to-use program for Club teens ages 13 to 18. Thanks to program sponsor AT&T, this completely updated program provides Club staff and volunteers with tools to guide young people in preparing for a career in Boys & Girls Clubs and/or other service professions. Through participation in Junior Staff, teens will develop interpersonal skills, a strong work ethic and a sense of community engagement while experiencing on-the-job Club work.
The Youth for Unity strategy aims to promote and celebrate diversity while combating prejudice, bigotry and discrimination. Youth for Unity features age-appropriate programming for youth ages 6 to 12, teens and parents, training and resources for Club professionals, and a leadership awards program. The strategy builds the capacity of local Clubs to help their members appreciate themselves as unique and special individuals, understand diversity in society, recognize bias and unfairness and take personal leadership in confronting bias.
Education and Career Development
This core area enables youth to become proficient in basic educational disciplines, apply learning to everyday situations and embrace technology to achieve success in a career. Fairfax County Clubs focus on the following programs under Education and Career Development.
A flagship program under Education and Career Development is Power Hour - Making Minutes Count. From Mondays to Thursdays, members receive assistance with homework and basic tutoring in academics for at least an hour. This way, club members better appreciate studying and academic achievement as a daily responsibility. In turn, there is more family time at home with the decreased homework load.
CareerLaunch® is a fun and exciting program that 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. The program, sponsored by Gap Foundation, contains 22 competency based, small-group activities that are organized into four units. Three program implementation plans are provided so Clubs can choose a plan that fits their available resources and capacity for teen programming. CareerLaunch is designed to be easy to deliver, flexible enough to accommodate different club situations and highly engaging.
Club Tech is an ambitious, multi-year initiative to provide all Boys & Girls Clubs a comprehensive array of programs to help Club professionals build members’ computer skills and integrate technology in all Core Program Areas. Club Tech helps Clubs incorporate technology in every aspect of their operation. Most importantly, young people develop the technology skills necessary to succeed in school and the job market.
Game Tech provides Club members ages 10 to 13 a fun introduction to the field of video game development and principles of game design, animation mechanics and software. Working both digitally and non-digitally, members learn to animate a character and begin the process to design their own video game.
Robotics may seem daunting, but the Robo Tech Program for members ages 6 to 13 is an easy and fun way to explore science, technology, engineering and math. Using Lego Mindstorms® – a self-contained kit that provides an introduction to robotics, members working in groups use the kits and tutorials to build and program a robot that interacts with its environment in numerous ways.
Goals for Graduation, a Project Learn resource, 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. A comprehensive guidance strategy helps members connect their smallest results to their highest dreams.
Money Matters: Make it Count 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 a small business and pay for college
Health and Life Skills
Health and Life Skills develops 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.
Family PLUS (Parents Leading, Uniting, Serving): Clubs partner with families and collaborate with other community agencies to ensure positive development of youth through programming, resources and support through five key components: kinship care, father involvement, family advocacy, economic opportunity and outreach, recruitment and retention
Passport to Manhood and SMART Girls are programs for adolescents that engage them in activities that encourage thoughtful decision making and awareness about growing up.
The Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 (SFP 10-14) it is a parent, youth, and family skills-building curriculum designed to prevent teen substance abuse and other behavior problems, strengthen parenting skills, and build family strengths.
The Arts enable youth to develop their creativity and cultural awareness through knowledge and appreciation of the visual arts, crafts, performing arts and creative writing.
Digital Arts Suite and Festivals teach members ages 6 to 18 how to create computer-generated art that is later shared at the annual Digital Arts Festival which recognizes Club members’ creativity in graphic design, photo illustrations and more.
Sports, Fitness and Recreation
The Boys & Girls Club's Sports, Fitness and Recreation Program develops fitness, positive use of leisure time, skills for stress management, appreciation for the environment and social skills.
A popular program is Fit U which encourages fitness, nutrition and wellness to combat obesity in boys and girls ages 8-14. Participants increase weekly physical activity as well as health awareness in the program funded by GlaxoSmithKline.