Our Mission is the Boys & Girls Club’s Reason for Being:
To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens.
The Boys & Girls Club has changed much over the course of its long history, but what it provides to our youth has always remained the same: a safe place to learn and grow; ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals; life-enhancing programs and character-development experiences; hope and opportunity.
Its History is a speaking testimony to this enduring philosophy.
American Flag, 33 stars
President Abraham Lincoln
The Dashaway Club
1860 - The first recorded attempt in the United States to provide out-of-school activities for children.
The United States was in a state of a dramatic change unseen before or since. Abraham Lincoln was elected President. The Southern States began to secede from the United States, creating a second, rebel government. The Industrial Revolution was roaring, employing mothers and fathers for very long hours and very little pay. Children roaming the streets after school were often left to fend for themselves; there were very few places outside the home where adolescent boys can congregate.
In Hartford, Connecticut, a few lady volunteers invited a group of street boys into their home for tea, coffee and cake. The positive behavior and appreciation of the boys surprised the ladies, so they extended their hospitality several more times with the same response. With support from other volunteers, the ladies found a suitable place where the boys can meet regularly - at a Congregational church mission in the slums. They held a weekly recreational program for the boys and eventually called themselves The Dashaway Club. It was created to get children to be more productive and away from negative influences. They met sporadically for several months, then soon disbanded on the advent of The Civil War.
American Flag, 37 stars
President Andrew Johnson
Little Women published
Union for Christian Work (U.C.W.)
1868 - Volunteer organization offers amenities
Healing from a deadly Civil War, America began its era of Reconstruction, a slow and painful process of reintegrating the Southern States back into the United States. The country still mourned the sudden loss of President Abraham Lincoln three years prior. Vice-President Andrew Johnson succeeded the Presidency and quickly became the first President to be impeached.
Amidst the political turmoil, a group of volunteers in Providence, Rhode Island, gathered and formed the Union for Christian Work (U.C.W.), a new organization that offered street boys an activity room, reading room, classroom, and meeting room as well as security and a 'home away from home' atmosphere. Facilities were scarce, so most of the early clubs were held in congregational churches. In inner-city tenements, the scourge of cholera and small-pox was rampant, but the movement to take in children from the streets began to take hold.
American Flag, 37 stars
President Rutherford B. Hayes
Edward H. Harriman
Boys' Club of New York
1876 - First "Boys' Club" name
Reconstruction ends during one of the most intense and divided presidential elections in American history. Samuel Tilden won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote to Rutherford B. Hayes. Despite cries of foul play and corruption, America celebrated its centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Meanwhile, in Manhattan's lower East Side, Edward H. Harriman, a powerful railroad businessman, was getting inspired by a rock. According to legend, he was visiting a school for girls in the lower East Side when a rock crashed through a window. When told that this was a regular occurrence by the street-wandering boys below, Harriman set out to do something about it. With the help of a few friends, he founded the Boys' Club of New York on the East Side with three boys in attendance. Eventually, the Boys' Club of New York would grow to over a hundred members, moving the organization to a larger facility in 1887.
American Flag, 38 stars
President James A. Garfield
Mary Hall, Good Will Club founder
Good Will Club
1880 - The Dashaway Club reorganizes
A growing nation of States has a quiet election year, with James A. Garfield winning the presidency. The victory will be short lived; in less than four months, the nation will be reeling from another tragedy - President Garfield will be assassinated.
On April 2, Mary Hall founds a club with 9 boys in attendance, providing games and stories as well as a constitution and by-laws. During a ceremony to commemorate the new club, David Clark, after declining the club be named after him, christened the organization "Good Will Club", and gave it books and financial assistance. Eventually the Good Will Club would outgrow its original facility and serve over 2000 members in 25 years.
American Flag, 43 stars
President Benjamin Harrison
Jacob Riis, photographs from How The Other Half Lives
How The Other Half Lives
1890 - Jacob Riis photographically documents living conditions of the working class.
Within the waning era of Reconstruction arose the Gilded Age, a period enjoyed by the top percentile of Americans. It is defined by an increase in industrialization of cities and its population, western migration, and cheap labor. Factories dotted every major city while railroad tracks crisscrossed the nation. Steel and coal created unprecedented wealth, opulance, and philanthropy. Patent registration of inventions were awarded more in this era that at any time before; the telephone, the light bulb, and the phonograph is a few world-changing examples.
Jacob Riis, an immigrant residing in Lower East Side in Manhattan, was one of the first Americans to use another major invention: flash photography. Working as a police reporter for the New York Tribune, he set up shop in Mulberry Bend and witnessed first-hand the living conditions of New York City's poor. With a box camera in hand, he documented the poor's squalid conditions and, along with sketches and statistics, published How The Other Half Lives. The book was a sensation and forced the nation's upper class to reexamine the effects of their astounding wealth on the city's workers and their livelihood. As a result, Jacob Riis' calling on the wealthy, not the government, to initiate reform for the poor created philanthropy; where wealthy individuals once used their fortunes for business investments now saw incentive to invest in its people.
American Flag, 45 stars
President Theodore Roosevelt
Jacob Riis, President of Boys Club Federation of America
1906 Logo, Federated Boys' Clubs
Federated Boys' Clubs
1906 - 53 separate Clubs unite
America reels from another assassination as President William McKinley is shot during a public visit in Buffalo, New York in 1901; Theodore Roosevelt assumes the presidency of a nation swelling with unprecedented immigration. With cheap labor, productivity and incredible wealth on the rise, a new political thought arises to address serious issues brought on by the Second Industrial Revolution. Progressivism sought to protect the blue-collar workers by decreasing the gap between the working class and the super-rich, enacting child-protection laws, and enforcing existing laws that would prevent huge monopolies from subverting and abusing the American worker.
Numerous independent boys clubs popped up to meet the needs of children that . Clubs operated independently and often competed against each other. On May 1906, 53 representatives of various Clubs
The History of the Boys & Girls Club is a testament to its enduring legacy.
1970-Wayne residents form group and offer programs
1976-Wayne Clubhouse erected
1981-Wayne group charters with BGCA as Wayne Boys Club
1990-Wayne Boys Club changes name to Boys & Girls Club of Wayne
1993-Pequannock residents form group and offer programs
1995-Pequannock group purchases Pequannock School for Clubhouse
1998-Pequannock group charters with BGCA as Boys & Girls Club of Morris County
1998-Wayne Clubhouse expands
2004-Morris County’s Randall Athletic Complex is completed
2005-Wayne and Morris County Clubs enter Management Agreement
September 29, 2006-Merger complete, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest New Jersey formed