Character & Leadership

Developing the next generation of leaders.

Character & Leadership Programs at the Club

Torch Club.
Torch Clubs are chartered, small-group leadership and service clubs for boys and girls ages 11 to 13. A Torch Club is a powerful vehicle through which Club staff can help meet the special character development needs of younger adolescents at a critical stage in their life.

Torch Club members learn to elect officers and work together to implement activities in four areas: service to Club and community, education, health and fitness, and social recreation.

Youth of The Year &
Jr. Youth of the Year

Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Club teens. Club members who earn the Youth of the Year title embody the values of leadership service, academic excellence, and healthy lifestyles. They exemplify the critical impact that Boys & Girls Clubs have on the lives of young people.

Local Clubs recognize members ages 14 to 18 as Youth of the Month Winners and select a Youth of the Year, who then participates in state competitions. State winners each receive a $5,000 scholarship and advance to regional competitions. Regional winners receive an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000.

Six youth, including five regional winners and a military winner, advance to the National Youth of the Year competition for a chance at an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable up to $100,000 for four years.

Congratulations to Davion Quinones, 9th grade for being named Youth of the Year at our gala on Thursday, February 8th, 2024. During the gala, in the round robin discussion, Davion and the other candidates shared that mental health is a very important issue with teens today. He opened up to the crowd and shared, “Parents, check on your kids!” 

Davion is a member of our Sanford, NC club and will continue on to compete in the statewide Boys & Girls Club competition in April. Best of luck to you, Davion!

Congratulations to Izaiah Gittens for being named Junior Youth of the Year. Izaiah is in the 8th grade and is a club member at our Lillington, NC club. 

Keystone Clubs.
Keystone is 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 the community.

Annually, BGCA hosts the National Keystone Conference, a character and leadership development conference for Boys & Girls Club teens that brings together members from all across the globe. Throughout the conference, Keystone members engage and socialize with peers, explore relevant issues, and develop skills to support and enhance efforts in their local Boys & Girls Clubs and communities.