Boys & Girls Clubs of America had its beginnings in 1860 with several women in Hartford, Connecticut. Believing that boys who roamed the streets should have a positive alternative, they organized the first Club. A cause was born.
In 1906, several Boys Clubs decided to affiliate. The Federated Boys Clubs in Boston was formed with 53 member organizations.
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.
Founded as the Boys Club of Southern Oakland County, the Club incorporated girls as part of our mission in 1980 and the Club’s name was changed to the Boys & Girls Club of Royal Oak. In 1990, the Club expanded its reach into surrounding communities and changed the organization’s name to Boys & Girls Clubs of South Oakland County. In 2010, the Club again expanded its reach to four locations in two counties and the Club’s name was changed to Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland & Macomb Counties.
In September 2002, the Club’s original Royal Oak facilities completed a tremendous renovation nearly doubling in size. The renovated facility was named after the Club’s founding Executive Director and his wife, Jack & Patti Salter and the partnership with the City of Royal Oak grew to include providing programs and services to senior citizens during the day while the Boys & Girls Club members are in school.
In October 2005, the Club opened its first location in the City of Ferndale with support from the City of Ferndale, Ferndale Public Schools, Ferndale Youth Assistance and the Ferndale Community Foundation. Located at the Ferndale High School & Middle School, the Club is dedicated to providing outstanding programs and services. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Oakland & Macomb Counties is providing a full range of programs and services to the youth of Ferndale. In September 2013, the Club dedicated the Jack & Annette Aronson Boys & Girls Club – Ferndale Unit and moved all of its Ferndale operations to the Gerry Kulick Community Center.
In 2010, Stanley Babinski a Boys & Girls Club alum approached our Club about opening a new facility in Washington Township in honor of his son Stanley Ian Babinski who passed away from cancer. The support from individuals and the business community was remarkable. Stoney Creek Community Church came forward and provided the location and with the support of Romeo Public Schools, Washington Township Supervisor Dan O’Leary, Judge Denis Leduc, the Ford Engine Plant, the Washington Township Lions Club and countless others the Stanley Ian Babinski Unit opened in November 2011.
Also, in 2010, founders of the ‘field Zone, Southfield’s premier drop-in center serving youth from 5th through 12th grade, reached out to the Boys & Girls Club forming a partnership that has flourished for six years. Located at the Southfield Civic Center the Boys & Girls Club has worked to meet the needs of Southfield’s youth. Just five years into the partnership, Alora Allen, a senior at Southfield Lathrup High School was named Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Midwest Youth of the Year. Alora’s visit to the Oval Office to meet President Obama provided positive proof of the impact the ‘field Zone is having on Southfield youth. Alora was the sixth Youth of the Year from our Boys & Girls Club to be invited to meet with the President of the United States in the Oval Office.
(Pictured above United States President Barack Obama welcomes Youths of the Year Alora Allen (2016) and Jesse Friedman (2013) to the Oval Office. They represent two of the six Youth of the Year who have been invited to the Oval Office. Pictured below is Trustee Levi Stubbs with 2017 Youth of the Year Naomi Trevino.)