Our History

Our History

Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio is proud to be a part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a 151 year old national movement that serves 4.2 million youth with 51,000 trained professional staff members at some 4,000 clubs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and military bases around the world.  Originally formed in 1860 in Hartford, CT, by a group of women as a positive alternative to the streets for boys, it became an affiliated organization in 1906 in Boston, MA when 53 clubs joined to become the Federated Boys Club.  Having become the Boys Club of America in 1931 and was chartered by the United States Congress in 1956.  The national organization officially became the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 1991.

The Boys Clubs opened in San Antonio in 1939 and was located on Dolorosa Street.  Over the years the clubs grew in stature, membership and facilities.  So much that in 1963, Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez presented then President John F. Kennedy with a gavel and handmade box created by the members in their woodworking shop.  In 1976, girls were invited to become members and the name of the clubs was officially changed in 1991 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio.

Through the decades the programming and facilities have improved but the mission has remained the same.  Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio’s mission is to inspire youth, especially those who need us most, to achieve their full potential in a safe, positive and engaging environment that promotes education, health and character development.  Through the professional staff, thriving facilities, dynamic volunteers, and strong links to the community, the clubs provide professionally designed youth development programs.

Today, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Antonio serves more than 8,300 Club members annually, ages 6 – 18, and operates six branch locations in the city of San Antonio.  The clubs currently in operation are: on the west side, the Calderon branch and Teen Center at 600 SW 19th Street; the Eastside branch at 3503 Martin Luther King Drive; in the northeast section of the city, the Candlewood Branch at 3635 Candleglenn Rd.; and on the southeast side the Athlos branch at 1515 Goliad Road. In addition to the six facilities, BGCSA on-site programs in 44 onsite locations in Harlandale, Judson and San Antonio Independent School Districts.

Membership is open to all children in San Antonio for nominal annual membership dues ($50). No child is turned away due to an inability to pay.  The majority of the clubs membership is comprised of minority children (94%), from single parent / grand parent families (more than 50%) and qualifies for free or reduced-price lunch (76%).

In 2011, BGCSA adopted the national movement’s Formula for Impact to ensure that Great Futures Start Here. The Formula for Impact is young people who need us the most plus an outcome-driven Club Experience which includes the Five Key Elements for Positive Youth Development (1. A Safe, positive environment; 2. Fun; 3. Supportive relationships; 4. Opportunities and expectations; and 5. Recognition), High Yield Activities, Targeted Programs and Regular Attendance equals our priority outcomes of Academic Success, Good Character & Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles.



The programs offered are in our five core values that include Character & Leadership Development, Education & Career Development, Health & Life Skills, The Arts, and Sports, Fitness & Recreation.  These core programs are supplemented by mentoring – adult and peer, substance abuse prevention, and technology training.  Counseling and referral services are also available on an as needed basis.  At the clubs, the children are surrounded by concerned and caring staff and volunteers who inspire and enable them to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.


Our impact is undeniable:

99% of members stayed in school and successfully progress to the next grade level
87% of high school seniors pursued higher education
99% improved their grades in basic skills courses (math, science, reading)

Funding for the clubs comes from corporations, foundations, federal and city governments, school districts, special fundraising events, United Way, and individual donors.