“Let’s clean up the beach!” fifth grader Yahaira said when staff asked them what sort of service projects they would be interested in completing this year as part of Torch Club at the Boys & Girls Club of Lake County. Other youth chimed in with approval and thus began a semester long discussion of the definition of conservation. Torch Club is a “Club within the Club”, helping to meet the special character development needs of younger adolescents at a critical stage in their life. Members elect officers and work together to implement projects in one of the four focus areas: service to Club and community; education; health and fitness; and social recreation.

For this particular service project, made possible by the Allstate Foundation, youth spent time preparing with preliminary projects like coordinating a recycling drive to benefit children at Anne & Robert H. Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago, IL. Their semester of projects culminated in a partnership with the City of Waukegan, to hold a beach clean-up day and on Monday, May 22nd, 2017, twelve Torch Club youth and two Club staff went to the Waukegan Municipal Beach where they met a representative from the City of Waukegan. In one hour of combing through the sand, they collected four large bags of trash!

The lessons learned through participation in Torch Club are instrumental in developing good character & citizenship. One of the reasons Torch Club is so impactful is because it is youth-led. Selecting the service project themselves develops within the youth a sense of pride. Seeing their ideas come to fruition is a truly exceptional experience for them, and that experience would not be possible without the Torch Club Program here at the Club.

Good Character & Citizenship

It is the goal of the Club to support all club members as they learn responsibility, respect, accountability, and listening skills while developing leadership skills. To ensure all of our youth exemplify good character & citizenship the Club implements the following programming:

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.

Keystone Club

Keystone Club 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 community.

Youth of the Month

Each month, the Boys & Girls Club of Lake County staff votes on a Youth of the Month for each club site. This award is given to club members who tangibly demonstrate good character through his/her caring, honesty, fairness, sense of responsibility, and respect for themselves and others. Click here to learn more about our Youth of the Month program.

Youth of the Year

The National Youth of the Year program is designed to promote and recognize service to Club and community, academic performance and contributions to family and spiritual life. The competition begins with each Club selecting a Youth of the Year who receives a certificate and medallion, then enters the state competition. State winners receive a plaque and a $1000 scholarship, then enter the regional competition. Each of the five regional winners receives a $10,000 scholarship and enters the national competition held in Washington, DC. The National Youth of the Year receives an additional $15,000 scholarship, totaling $26,000 in scholarships  and is installed by the President of the United States.

Click here to learn about our most recent Youth of the Year.

Anne Thompson Scholarship

A local scholarship for Boys & Girls Club of Lake County members who have invested two or more years into the club. Scholarships of $1000 or more are provided to celebrate Club members’ service to Club, community, family, academic performance, moral character, life goals, as well as poise and public speaking ability. Please contact the BGCLC Administrative Office  for specific guidelines.