At the Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee, we have a bold vision: that success is within reach of every child. We believe all children deserve a safe place to learn and grow. We exclusively serve youth, ages 5-18, so that they may receive dedicated mentoring, hope, and opportunity for a great future.
It all started in 1860, when three women in Hartford, Connecticut, decided to take in some “street urchins” – undernourished, dirty-faced young boys with little more than ragged clothes on their backs, the hard-luck, forgotten kids of the Industrial Revolution. They didn’t know it then, but these caring ladies were the planting seeds of what would become a true American success story. Their idea took root as Boys’ Clubs, which soon began to sprout throughout New England and eventually across the nation.
By 1906, 53 independent Clubs were operating. The local leaders decided a national federation was needed to further the important mission of reaching out to children in need. They established the Federated Boys’ Clubs, which later became Boys’ Clubs of America.
In 1912, nine men with a vision and a mission, “associated themselves with the intention of forming a corporation under the name of Chicopee Boys’ Club, for the purpose of promoting the physical, mental and moral well-being of the boys of Chicopee by providing such means of education and amusement…”
Today, their intentions and purpose continues to enrich and impact the lives of the youth of Chicopee.
Former Mayor (and Club Alum) Michael Bissonnette, Past Board President (and Club Alum) Earl A. LaFlamme III, former Executive Director Elizabeth M. Daly, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Regional Director Gene Bailey at the Club’s Centennial Celebration in 2012.
For 104 years the Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee has been providing a fun place for kids—just kids—that also addresses character and leadership development, education, health and fitness, and creativity.
It is our responsibility—yours and mine—to honor that legacy and to lead the Club into the next century of service. This means ensuring the Club has the resources it needs to continue meeting its mission.
It’s really about results. Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee helps kids by providing a positive outlet for their energy instead of leaving them to wander the streets and get into trouble. They teach kids right from wrong and how to get along. The Club helps kids see that they can be whatever they want to be –regardless of their family situation.
The Boys & Girls Club is an organization that depends on the involvement and dedication of individuals. I have learned that as one person, I can have a significant impact in the life of a child. I want to share my experience with you and maybe you, too, would like to benefit from involvement with young people at the Boys & Girls Club.
There is much in our history to acknowledge, commemorate and celebrate. But there’s an even richer, more exciting future that we can all be a part of.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America, including Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee, is a network of more than 4,000 locations around the nation and on U.S. military bases here and abroad. It is a remarkable tale that truly reflects the very story of America through the 20th century.
At the Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee we will tell that story – the lives changed and saved, the communities turned around, the kids who conquered overwhelming odds to succeed, the caring individuals and supporters who make it all possible.