tour a club

Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs through the design of our facilities.

With thousands of Club facilities nationwide ranging in size from 2,000 to 60,000 sq. ft., few Clubs are exactly alike, but many have distinct similarities. Tour a typical Clubhouse and find out how Clubs help kids BE GREAT.

Teens at the Concord Boys & Girls Club in New Hampshire created this inspiring look at their Club.

Typical Club

To help us achieve our mission of serving youth, we have developed core requirements to support the positive environment within our Clubs. In this section you will learn about the specific areas of a typical Club, and how they help contribute to our programs.






Club Entry

A well-designed entry serves more functions than any single component of the Club. It provides access control, acts as a greeting and information center, reinforces a sense of belonging through registration, and provides secure storage of personal articles for members. An ideal sign-in desk should have visual contact with all areas of the Club, accommodating young children, the handicapped and adults.

Four key characteristics define the essence of a Boys & Girls Club and are critical in exerting a positive impact on youth. Clubs are dedicated spaces, designed solely for youth programs and activities; are open every day after school and often on weekends; have full-time, trained youth development professionals; and reach out to all kids, including those who cannot afford other community programs.

Games Room

This is the hub of the Club, allowing other areas such as arts and crafts, learning centers or the snack bar to connect directly from it. It should convey openness and a sense of fun. An ideal gamesroom is flexible, with moveable equipment and furnishings to allow a variety of group activities.

Through age-appropriate activities such as pool, foosball, checkers and other board games, children learn important social skills. Trained professional staff help young people learn how to take turns, negotiate, be diplomatic, win and lose graciously or resolve conflicts - all while having a great time. The gamesroom is central to kids enjoying their Club experience.

Teen Center

The teen center is a dedicated area for members ages 13-18. Many teen centers have a study area with computer equipment, a fitness area and enough space to conduct programs for teen-related, entrepreneurial and college prep programs. A well-developed teen center also includes a comfortable gathering area with a television, VCR and stereo.

Clubs offer many programs for teens, including CareerLaunchTM, which focuses on career exploration, job applications and resume creation. In addition, this engaging program helps to identify training or college requirements, seek out financial aid and play skills-building games.

Learning/Tech Center

Clubs incorporate successful learning centers or tech centers through rooms designed with flexibility, good lighting, enticing displays of books and periodicals, a variety of reading or discussion settings and state-of-the-art computer equipment. These centers can serve additional purposes as meeting rooms for drug prevention and conflict resolution programs.

BGCA has identified education and technology programs as priorities to help kids succeed in both school and careers. Clubs offer many initiatives including Power Hour, a homework assistance program, Goals for Graduation academic program and Club Tech computer literacy programs. Look at our Programs pages for more information.

Arts & Crafts

Well-designed arts and crafts areas have natural light, storage for materials, areas for display, clean-up area with sink(s), easy-to-clean work spaces and stimulating decor. Some Clubs go beyond the basics and provide spaces for activities such as photo labs, kilns and woodworking.

Many Clubs provide spaces designed for specialized programs such as dance, music, drama, aerobics or martial arts. BGCA's art programs encourage young people to explore their self-expression and creativity, develop self-confidence and pride, expand interests, create beauty in their environment and elevate cultural awareness.


In addition to our educational, technological and artistic programs, the gymnasium will always be a strong attraction for many youth. Physical fitness areas vary from Club to Club, from an enclosed regulation high school court, to an outdoor recreation area. Basketball and volleyball, among others, are popular team sports at many of our Clubs.

Some Clubs have added innovative programs such as wall climbing, which simulates rock climbing within the Club gymnasium. This adventure sport enhances personal confidence, teamwork, agility, coordination, team building, communication, problem-solving skills and risk-taking strategies for both girls and boys. Gyms are also used for Club dances and other social activities.

Typical Building Requirements

Building size and costs are dependent on the number of youth served, community support and available land. The following is an outline of typical requirements for establishing a new Boys & Girls Club in your local community. For additional information, visit our Find a Club section for contact information for a Club near you or get in touch with a BGCA regional service center. 

Small Building Medium Building Large Building
Square Footage 5,000 to 12,000sf 13,000 to 25,000 26,000 to 40,000
Average Daily Attendance* 100 to 200
200 to 350
350 to 550
Total membership 300 to 700 700 to 1500 1500 to 2300
Project Costs** $400,000 to
$1,000,000 to
$2,000,000 to
Annual Operating Expenses $60,000 to
$150,000 to
$300,000 to
Minimum Land Needed 0.25 to 0.5 acre 0.75 to 1.25 acres 1.5 to 2 acres
Land Needed for Ball Fields 2 acres 2 acres 2 acres

* Average daily attendance reflects the average number of youth served at any one time. Often members do not attend on a daily basis, but may visit the Club for their favorite activities (i.e., teens often visit the Club during "teen only" hours).

** Project costs include site development and professional fees. Land acquisition is not included. Often land is either leased or donated. Project costs are averages. Your area may be lower or higher.

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Age Category 16-18
46% of Club members are 6-10 years of age.