Boys & Girls Club of the Muskegon Lakeshore (BGCML) was founded in 2014 by a group of community members dedicated to addressing the need for high-quality out-of-school time programming in Muskegon County. This team, which became the founding board of directors, developed a campaign to raise the seed money necessary to open a Club. In January 2015, they hired their first team member to open the doors of the first Boys & Girls Club in Muskegon
BGCML opened these doors in Nelson Elementary School to its first 30 members on April 20th, 2015. By the end of 2015, the Club’s membership reached over 300. Within that year, the Club served over 7,000 meals and set operating hours Monday-Friday from 3:00-7:30 pm to be open when youth needed it most.
BGCML has a mission to inspire and enable all youth, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive and caring citizens. In 2016, BGCML expanded to have a greater impact on the youth of Muskegon County. BGCML began partnering with the City of Muskegon to offer youth programs all summer long at select parks across the city. In this first year of summer programming, 724 youth were served, with an average of 153 youth served every day. In October 2016, BGCML opened a second year-round Club site, dedicated to teens, at Muskegon Heights Public School Academy. By the end of the year, BGCML’s membership reached 940, serving over 80 youth every day during the school year.
In September 2018, thanks to support from the Michigan Department of Education, BGCML once again received the opportunity to expand and serve the youth who need us most. This competitive funding provided a portion of the operating costs necessary to provide year-round low-cost academic and cultural enrichment programs five days a week at selected partner schools. The Muskegon Covenant Academy Club Site was formed, and two 21st Century Community Learning Centers were now hosted by BGCML: one at Muskegon Covenant Academy, and one at Muskegon Heights Academy.
From those original 30 members in 2015, membership has soared to over 1000 youth. BGCML is now serving 222 kids a day in the summer, and an average of 132 a day during the school year. In 2018, BGCML served over 50,000 meals and snacks to these youth. The organization is looking forward to continued sustainability and growth, providing a network of Club sites right in the neighborhoods of the youth who need us most.