[July 31, 2015] If there is one thing that I’ve learned as a senior leader it’s that the best predictor of success in leaders is how those adults fared as children – did they grow up in a stable family and have the right experiences? Many leaders have begun to emphasize the importance of developing certain characteristics in children starting as early in life as possible. Today, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) is one of the crucial vehicles to do just that.
Whenever children are taught right from wrong, good from evil, the values of hard work, respect, and honesty, as well as developing a positive attitude, those young kids will be successful in whatever they chose to do in life. BGCA does this through a federated system of local chapters that provide after-school programs for young people. Its success is documented by the Chronicle of Philanthropy which ranked BGCA number one among youth organizations.1
Their core beliefs are that their clubs will provide:
- A safe place to learn and grow …
- Ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals …
- Life-enhancing and character development experiences …
- Hope and opportunity.2
What I like in particular about them is that they help young kids become responsible, caring, and civic-minded citizens. They also develop leadership skills by providing age-appropriate experiences. Many of our youth today are in desperate need of guidance, mentoring, and leadership because of unstable or dysfunctional families. BGCA members focus on doing the right thing to help our youth; a worthy effort with major societal implications.
The journey for BGCA is a long one. Their strategic mission is “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.” Moving forward they recently began to track progression of their youth through school for every participant, bringing standards of performance measurement. “Be Great: Graduate.”
The Boys and Girls Clubs of America deserves our respect and I highly recommend that each of us gives some of our time at a local chapter of choice.
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