Summer is fast approaching, and Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) is putting together a wealth of valuable programming for youth of all ages. With summer programming offered at 11 of our 14 Clubhouses and School-Based Clubs (alongside a full summer camp experience at Camp Mendocino in the redwoods of Mendocino County), BGCSF is an outstanding option for parents looking to provide a fun, educational environment for youth ages six to 18 over the summer.

BGCSF offers high quality daytime summer services for youth that are accessible and affordable. No child is ever turned away for lack of financial resources. Our consistent schedule over the summer (open all five weekdays) helps youth stay engaged with educational activities and avoid summer learning loss. Through our summer offerings, our Clubs fill summer days for San Francisco youth with fun and academically stimulating experiences to ensure that kids continue to learn through play.

Speaking with James Holley, BGCSF’s Columbia Park Clubhouse Director, he was enthusiastic about the programs and opportunities our Clubhouses have prepared for the summer. James is a Club alumnus himself and has worked in youth development for 16 years, all of them in service to the Boys & Girls Club Movement. When asked how BGCSF’s summer program can help youth, James said, “We keep kids totally busy from 8am to 6pm. We plan a lot of activities to prevent summer learning loss, making sure that when kids are out of school, they’re still getting exposure to academic subjects. Every week, we host a lot of STEM programming, like on Fridays, when our Club kids make glow in the dark slime that they think is really cool. We even hold a spelling bee near the end of summer to keep Club members engaged in literacy. It’s a great place for kids to stay focused academically throughout the summer.”

When asked about services for teens, James highlighted the professional development opportunities BGCSF’s summer program provides. “Teens get a lot of good work experience,” James said. “We work with a number of local partners to develop job readiness skills that help youth grow their work experience over the summer.”

Not to be forgotten, James said health and fitness activities are also a major part of BGCSF’s summer plans. “We’re hosting a futsal league this summer, which is a new activity on weekdays from 10am-12pm. At the end of the futsal program, we’ll have a culminating event where some professionals will visit the Clubhouse and do some drills with the youth. We also have a big summer water party that we co-host with the Mission Clubhouse that will be a lot of fun. This will be our third year doing it, and it’s something the kids really enjoy.”

The Assistant Director of Columbia Park Clubhouse, Kristin Minnis, was also excited about what was in store this summer. “This summer, we’re working with the Jr. Giants program, which provides a lot of health and fitness activities. We also introduce Club members to public service, so they take part in activities like feeding the homeless and park beautification through trash pickup Dolores Park. We have partnerships with the arts, so places like SF Art Institute will provide some programming, as well as in-house collaborations. We’re taking a lot of field trips as well. We’ll take a group to Facebook, we’ll take them swimming, bowling, skating, we’ll take them to the Exploratorium, all kinds of places. We want to get our kids engaged in things that they wouldn’t be able to do if they weren’t BGCSF members.”

When asked what BGCSF’s summer membership means to them, Columbia Park Clubhouse members Jeremiah, age 15, and Carlos, age 11, were eager for summer at BGCSF to begin. “It makes our summer a lot more fun. It’s great to meet other kids you can hang out with,” Jeremiah said. Carlos agreed, saying, “At home, you’re just sitting there, but at the Club you get to have a whole lot of fun every day.”

Our San Francisco Clubhouses are not the only destination we have for San Francisco youth. For those looking for an experience in the great outdoors, there is Camp Mendocino, where kids spend 10-day sessions exploring the redwood forest, mountain biking, tackling the ropes course, and swimming in the Noyo River. Information on Camp Mendocino and “camperships” that allow youth to attend Camp at a reduced rate are available on the Camp Mendocino website.

Whether you’re looking to provide your child with a daytime offering in San Francisco or an authentic summer camp experience they’ll never forget, BGCSF has you covered. To sign your child up for BGCSF’s summer programming, fill out the application form available here. If you still have questions about what each of our Clubhouses offers during summer, find your nearest Clubhouse here. Contact information for each Clubhouse Director is located on each Clubhouse’s webpage.

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Summer Spotlight: Camp Mendocino

Four weeks ago, Camp Mendocino opened its doors to campers for the first time since 2019. Camp Director, Sara Richardson, reflects, “It has been such a joy to feel the spirit of Camp return to the redwoods after what has been an immensely challenging time for all of us. Seeing our campers' huge smiles as they sit around the campfire, try an activity for the first time or bond with a new friend fills me with so much hope for our post-pandemic world.”

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Every day this summer, youth from Kindergarten - 8th grade participate in hands-on activities that advance learning, build health and life skills, and provide social and emotional support. Literacy programming, STEM projects, maker spaces, and arts & crafts are integrated into the summer curriculum. Weeks are themed to keep the programming fresh and youth highly engaged. This summer, themes include Around The World, Outer Space, Superheroes, Under The Sea, and Club Olympics. 

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