The Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark has been serving Newark and the surrounding communities for over 70 years as a non-profit, youth development organization.
The first Boys’ Club was established in Newark by Mrs. Charles Hedden on Halsey Street in downtown Newark. This organization later dissolved in 1917.
The Newark Jr. Chamber of Commerce (The Newark Area Jaycees) founded the Newark Boys’ Club to promote the moral, mental and physical growth of its members. A Jaycee committee was charged with developing the project, headed by Donald Sheldon, a former volunteer at the Boys’ Club of New York. The Boys’ Club of Newark received an official charter in 1938 and was first housed in a rented factory loft at the corner of High Street and Eighth Avenue.
The first Board of Trustees for The Boys’ Club consisted of twenty-one members:
The first budget in 1939-40 was $13,000.
The West Side Unit of the Boys’ Club of Newark officially opened its doors at 161 Littleton Avenue.
Unit boards of directors were organized in 1949. At the time, the boards were:
From 1941 to 1952, the Boys’ Club of Newark sponsored members attending camps operated by other organizations. In 1954, the Club began operating their own summer camp, the Brady Camp in Pottersville, New Jersey. This camp location, renamed the BGCN Life Camp in 1981, is still in use today.
The Broadway Unit of the Boys’ Clubs of Newark officially opened its doors at 422 Broadway.
In 1971, BGCN became one of the first Clubs in the movement to open its doors to girls. That same year, the Central Ward Unit officially opened its doors at 1 Avon Avenue.
The Boys’ Clubs of Newark officially became the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark.
BGCN expanded to include the Summer Enrichment Program, a Club-based summer camp designed to help prevent summer learning loss.
BGCN opened its first Teen Center, located in the Central Ward Unit.
BGCN opened its first school-based site, The First Avenue School Unit.
BGCN opened the Bike Exchange, a volunteer-run bike store that collects & repairs used bikes & bike parts to sell back to the community and raise funding for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark.
BGCN held the first annual 5K Run/Walk Day for Kids. It was a huge success!
BGCN became the official afterschool program for the Newark Educators' Community Charter School.