The Boys and Girls Club of South Boston was founded in 1940 and has been serving local boys and girls ages 7-17 for more than 75 years. They currently reach more than 150 boys and 100 girls every day through their holistic youth development program that incorporates sports, arts, leadership programs, employment programs, and academic success. The Boys and Girls Club of South Boston’s basketball programs include a school physical education program, a travel basketball program, a Ladies Night program, and a wheelchair basketball league.
The wheelchair basketball league is unique in that it allows both able-bodied and permanent wheelchair users ages 13-18 to play together, develop skills, and compete per the official wheelchair basketball rules. This format helps to change perceptions on people with mental and physical disabilities, as well as give the wheelchair-bound youth an opportunity to play on a team and on an even field with their peers. The Ladies Night program looks to encourage basketball participation amongst young girls, and does so by employing female coaches and specialists who can build confidence among the participating girls.
With a mission statement that highlights building strong character, all of their sports programs are structured to emphasize fun, leadership, and teamwork. The kids are grouped by age, with “group leaders” leading their peers in warmups and stretches. The club also employs teenagers to serve as part-time coaches, and empowers them to plan and lead coaching sessions to further their professional development, whether in the sports industry or beyond.
The South Boston Boys and Girls Club provides youth with the opportunity to meet and learn from role models in various industries. During the winter, athletes from the University of Massachusetts Boston sports teams visit the facility to host coaching workshops and discuss what it’s like to be a student athlete. In addition, the club hosts “Future Fridays” where people who work in industry and commerce visit the facility to present about their careers, which include engineering, nursing, and more.