You may not know that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington started in 1889 as a response to the terrible effects of child labor.  Known as the Newsboy’s and children’s aid society, its priority was providing a safe and positive place for kids. Sports and recreation became key components. As the organization evolved and conditions for children improved in our society, sporting activities and competition continued to flourish. Labels like ‘Swim and Gym’ became part of the public’s perception of the Clubs.
Over the years, priorities have changed. While youth safety and positive adult connections are still our reason for being, we have added priority outcomes. One of the most critical is Academic Success.
Today it’s difficult to investigate sought after skills without coming across the acronym STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. In my time as President of the Clubs we have particularly focused on making STEAM activities available to as many of our members as possible– adding the A indicates using Art as a way to demystify Science. There are some who think the focus on STEM for kids and teens will go away; that the world of work will move on and find something else to venerate. I don’t choose to debate it but I know that the number of young people we see who become interested in science, technology, the use of the digital arts, design and engineering is exciting.
At a recent overnight retreat for middle school and teen girls, when asked what they wanted to “be”, in a group of 17 we had 3 dancers, 1 lawyer, 1 judge, 1 forensic engineer and the rest doctors of varying specialties (1 doctor was also a dancer).  BGCGW, supported by Boys & Girls Clubs of America, local employers, schools and governments will continue to provide opportunities to expose young people to career information across the spectrum. From trades to doctoral-level pursuits, course work and other experiences we will strive to help them see what’s available, and most importantly to help them see that they can do it!
How can you be involved? Participate in a Career Day at one of our Clubs; become a STEAM Ambassador; donate to the purchase of new technology; volunteer whenever and wherever it suits you best.
As always, I am grateful for your support of the youth we serve.
Wishing you happy and healthy times,