Character & Leadership

Programs in this area empower youth to support and influence their Club and community, sustain meaningful relationships with others, develop a positive self-image and good character, participate in the democratic process, and respect their own and others’ cultural identities.

Youth of the Year

Youth of the Year is a youth recognition program for Members ages 14 to 18. It promotes and celebrates their academic performance, spiritual values, life goals, poise, public speaking ability, and service to their Club, community, and family. The competition begins with each Club selecting a Youth of the Year who receives a certificate and medallion and then enters the state competition. State winners receive a plaque and a $1,000 scholarship and then enter the regional competition. Each of the five regional winners receives a $10,000 scholarship and enters the national competition held in Washington, DC. The National Youth of the Year receives an additional $15,000 scholarship, totaling $26,000 in scholarships, and is installed by the President of the United States.

Keystone Club

Keystone Clubs are chartered, small-group leadership development clubs for young people ages 14 to 18. Keystoners elect officers, choose their own activities, and plan and implement community service projects. A national charter entitles a Keystone Club to participate in regional and national Keystone conferences.

Torch Club

This small-group leadership development program is targeted to youth ages 11 to 13. Like the Keystone Club, members of the Torch Club elect officers and plan and implement their own activities and community service projects. Each Torch Club receives an official charter from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Junior Staff: Cultivating Tomorrow’s Club Professionals Today

Junior Staff is a program that assists Club Members ages 13 to 18 in exploring a career in youth or human services, particularly Boys & Girls Club work. Young people prepare for future roles as human services professionals by participating in career development activities, discovering the importance of community service, building customer service skills, and completing a Club apprenticeship.