History of Boys & Girls Club Movement

Our Great Past

Boys & Girls Clubs of America had its beginnings in 1860 with three women in Hartford, Connecticut – Mary Goodwin, Alice Goodwin and Elizabeth Hammersley. Believing that boys who roamed the streets should have a positive alternative, they organized the first Club. With character development as the cornerstone of the experience, the Club focused on capturing boys interests, improving their behavior and increasing their personal expectations and goals. A cause was born.

In 1906, several Boys Clubs decided to affiliate. The Federated Boys Clubs in Boston was formed with 53 member organizations – this marked the start of a nationwide Movement and our national organization.

In 1931, the Boys Club Federation of America became Boys Clubs of America.

In 1956, Boys Clubs of America celebrated its 50th anniversary and received a U.S. Congressional Charter.

To recognize the fact that girls are a part of our cause, the national organization’s name was changed to Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 1990. Accordingly, Congress amended and renewed our charter.

2006 marked the Centennial year of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as 100 years of providing hope and opportunity to young people across the country was celebrated.

History of Boys & Girls Club of Collier County

1991 Group of concerned Collier County citizens meets to discuss need for afterschool programs for girls. Club receives charter from Girls Incorporated. Program opens; leasing two rooms in Golden Gate Community Center and serves 30-40 girls ages 5-9 each afternoon.

1997 Organization joins Boys & Girls Clubs of America and becomes the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County. Club opens to admit boys in September of 1997 with daily programming provided in a single gender environment.

1998 Program reaches capacity in leased space serving 100+ youth each day. Plans begin for Capital Campaign to purchase land and build large, permanent home for the organization. Campaign goal is $4 million to build a facility to serve 500 youth daily.

2000 10 acre site on Davis Blvd. is purchased with existing facilities to be utilized until new campus is constructed.

2006 Nichols Campus (7500 Davis Blvd, Naples, FL) is open for all youth and teens serving 790 youth.

2012 Baker Field and Technology Center are completed at Nichols Campus. A total of 2,000 children and teens served at Nichols campus and 3 outreach campuses.

2013 Charity Navigator 4 Star Charity Rating received. Capital campaign commences for Susan and Carl Bolch, Jr. Campus in Immokalee.

2015 Bolch Campus Groundbreaking Ceremony.

2016 Grand Opening of Bolch Campus, serving nearly 500 youth at initial enrollment.

TODAY Boys & Girls Club of Collier County currently serves over 3,000 youth annually at two Club locations – Nichols Campus in Naples, Bolch Campus in Immokalee, and at one outreach campus at Immokalee Middle School.