Who We Are

Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington is comprised of youth development experts in the business of hope and opportunity. We are guided by a clear mission, purpose and vision with a track record of success.

Our Mission

To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.

Our Purpose

Inspire and empower Club youth to achieve success, and champion opportunities for all young people in their communities.

Our Vision

Provide a world-class Club experience that assures success is within reach for every young person who enters our doors.


Core Values

Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington strives to develop the strongest organizations by leading with intention and positivity. To reach our full potential as an organization and to ensure that youth, Clubs and our colleagues are always our highest priorities, we commit to these core values:

Put Youth First
We are at our best and most impactful when we do right by the youth we serve. We make decisions with youth’s well-being at the center. We walk alongside youth and empower them to be the stewards of their path in life. We elevate the voices of kids, youth, families, and the communities who need us most. We examine our own biases and question our own assumptions. We check our ego at the door and think we (the collective effort) before me.
Care Deeply and Engage Fully
We create impactful change by being fully present, engaged, and invested in contributing to strategy, perspective, and creativity. We approach interactions with kindness, compassion, and respect – we genuinely care about people and show it. We are brave and vulnerable and build safe and welcoming communities. We do not gossip. We talk to each other, not about each other. We care about ourselves so that we can be there for others. We strive to do the right thing every day, every time and treat each day as a new day with new opportunities.
Empower and Be Empowered
Our greatest assets are the unique abilities and perspectives of our people. We represent our interests in a responsible, self-determined way, and push ourselves to make positive change.
We are resourceful and respond with flexibility to make things work when necessary. We value and seek feedback and see it as an opportunity for growth. We give each other permission to fail and reflect in order to learn from our experiences. We choose courage over comfort by facing difficult tasks and conversations rather than avoiding them. We resolve conflicts as quickly as they arise. We encourage each other and show appreciation for those who go above and beyond.
Communicate, Collaborate, & Clarify
Clear and consistent communication builds shared understanding, helps us align in our efforts, and sets ourselves and others up for success in support of youth. We deliver better services and solutions when people’s ideas are valued and heard. We set expectations that align with our vision, values, and core focus. We effectively express thoughts, feelings, and ideas in individual and group situations. We listen to understand and value different perspectives. We approach situations with an open mindset, not seeking to be right and go our own path but rather to collaborate and get to the right answer together. We are curious. We seek to understand and communicate the context of situations and information. We ask questions when we need clarity and provide clarity when it is needed from us.
Follow Through on Your Commitments
Strong relationships built on trust drive change. We build trust with youth and families, each other, and the community by delivering on our promises. We do what we say we are going to do and are held accountable to established expectations. We take responsibility for knowing the expectations and goals of our role. We don’t over promise to ensure that we are able to deliver on commitments while balancing competing priorities. We take responsibility when we can’t follow through on a commitment. We own our mistakes, act to repair harm, and make amends to strengthen our community.

Local History

Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington was incorporated in April 1999 and one year later opened the first Club site on the grounds of Hazel Dell Elementary School. The current Club site, housed within the old Hazel Dell Elementary building, opened its doors in 2004 as the Clinton & Gloria John Clubhouse. With the success of the Club and the continued increase in membership, a second Vancouver-area Boys & Girls Club was established in the Jim Parsley Community Center in 2007.

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In 2008, with leadership of the Board of Directors, the Boys & Girls Clubs initiated a Development Campaign to expand and renovate the Clubhouse in the Jim Parsley Community Center. In May 2010, the newly expanded and remodeled O.K. Clubhouse and Teen Turf Club officially opened.

The need for affordable after-school programming continued and our proven brand of youth development was being embraced by our community as our membership increased. In partnership with Vancouver Public Schools and the support of our Board, BGCSW opened its third Club- a school site at Fruit Valley Elementary and a teen program at McCallister Village in September of 2011. Shortly after, in January of 2013, our newest school site at Washington Elementary opened its doors to reach even more Clark County youth.

In 2014, with leadership of the Board of Directors, the Boys & Girls Clubs began our second Development Campaign to build a brand new facility in the Vancouver Heights neighborhood. In April 2016, the Heights O.K. 2 Clubhouse opened its doors.

In 2018, BGCSW opened the Elise Menashe Teen Center at the Clinton & Gloria John Clubhouse.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of SW Washington currently serves more than 3,000 youth annually.

National History

The start of Boys’ Clubs can be traced back to the mid-1800s in the industrial cities of the Northeast. In 1860 came the first effort to provide structured, daily, out-of-school activities for disadvantaged boys with the founding of the Dashaway Club in Hartford, Connecticut. By the end of the 1890s, the Boys’ Club Movement extended from coast-to-coast; and in 1906, 53 Club organizations were in full operation. Through their efforts, the formal incorporation of the Federated Boys’ Clubs occurred in Boston. With the establishment of the national organization, the Movement continued to grow.

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In 1931 the word “Federated” was dropped, and the name became Boys’ Clubs of America. In 1990 the organization changed its name to Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and officially admitted girls into membership.

Boys & Girls Clubs have grown tremendously since 1906, changing and saving young lives; providing hope and opportunity for the young people who need it most. Today, approximately 4,300 Clubs serve around 4.8 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Known as The Positive Place for Kids, Boys & Girls Clubs can be found all across the country and on U.S. military bases throughout the world. Clubs provide young people with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. In communities large and small, Clubs positively impact lives and help young people reach their full potential as productive, caring citizens.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, visit www.bgca.org