Recognizing a need for a youth service organization, ten local business men and women founded the Boys Club of Huntington Beach on July 13, 1967 with the help of the Anderson Trust Fund and local businesses. The Board of Directors purchased a two-story barrack from the local VFW, and in August 1967 the Club’s first Executive Director was hired. Soon after, the doors were opened to the boys of Huntington Beach.
As the Boys Club opened in Huntington Beach, the Fountain Valley J.C.’s made a similar commitment to the boys in Fountain Valley by founding the Fountain Valley Boys Club. Land was made available behind the Fountain Valley drive-in for one dollar a year. A local development company donated their sales office and agreed to move it to the site. The Club was opened and in 1968 a metal building was erected on the same site.
In 1974, with the help of local service groups, city officials, and a donation from the family of Lt. Cmd. Charles R. Lee who had been killed in action serving his country, the Girls Club of Fountain Valley opened its doors to the girls of the community. In 1976, the Club rented a three-section trailer owned by the City of Fountain Valley, near the corner of Euclid and Ellis, for one dollar a year.
As the years passed, all of the Clubs grew. In 1979, the Girls Club of Fountain Valley began accepting boy members and changed their name to the Girls & Boys Club of Fountain Valley-Huntington Beach. Shortly after, in 1980, with a simple change of their name, the Boys & Girls Club of Fountain Valley began accepting girls as members. Huntington Beach followed and changed their name to the Boys & Girls Club of Huntington Beach in 1982. A growing need for services caused the Girls & Boys Club of Fountain Valley-Huntington Beach to outgrow its location that year and move its programs to Wardlow School in Huntington Beach.
In 1983, the Board of Directors of the Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach Boys and Girls Clubs voted to combine their efforts to better serve the community by merging the two organizations. The merger formed the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley, and the organization now served two cities in three locations.
More than twelve years passed before the two remaining organizations decided, in the interest of better serving the community, to merge their organizations. In December 1995, the Girls & Boys Club of Fountain Valley-Huntington Beach and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley merged, forming one large youth service organization that operated three school age youth facilities in Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley.
When the Fountain Valley School District sold the Wardlow School site, the Club’s Kid Connection branch for school-age youth that had been operating on the property closed and the members from Kid Connection were moved to the Club’s existing school-age centers. A new performing arts center in Fountain Valley was also opened.
Seeing the need for Boys & Girls Club services in the northwest area of the Huntington Beach community, the Club launched its Building Dreams capital campaign to build California’s first Boys & Girls Club on a college campus. The three-part campaign includes plans for a complete "Family Campus" to be built at Golden West College, including a preschool, gymnasium and school-age youth facility. The Robert Mayer Child Development Preschool opened on the Golden West College campus in January 2011, completing the first major phase of the campaign.
Later that year, the Boys & Girls Club brought its high-quality preschool care to Fountain Valley by moving the Learning Center Child Development Preschool next door to its existing performing arts center in August 2011. The Club continued to expand its services for the community’s youth with the opening of the Oak View Branch for school-age children in October 2012.
Today, we are called the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley. We operate three school age youth facilities in Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley, two licensed preschools in Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley, and a performing arts center in Fountain Valley.
New Haven, Connecticut. It is the late 1800s. There’s unemployment, poverty and misery. It has been eight years since the end of the war, and the streets swarm with boys from 7 to 17 years of age. Most of these are war orphans, while others have been deserted by mothers who could not care for them. They travel in packs of four or five hundred.
The ladies of the United Workers decided their first project should be the establishment of a coffee shop and reading room for men, in an effort to keep them from the saloons. When the shop opened, in marched a group of street boys to seek advice from a group of men. This group suggested they find another location away from the coffee shop and the men would entertain the boys. A site was found and the ladies placed a sign over the doorway which read “Boys Club.” Someone was needed to oversee the new establishment. A senior from Yale, John Collins, was hired for one dollar a week plus board.
Three years later, the Reverend John C. Collins began promoting Boys Clubs in other cities. Unable to obtain the support of churches, he was able to garner support from local businessmen who were willing to pay to get the boys off the streets. This is how Boys & Girls Clubs of America began.