Torch Clubs are chartered, small-group leadership and service clubs for boys and girls ages 11 to 13.
A Torch Club is a powerful vehicle through which Club staff can help meet the special character development needs of younger adolescents at a critical stage in their life. Torch Club members learn to elect officers and work together to implement activities in four areas: service to Club and community; education; health and fitness; and social recreation. The Staples National Torch Club Awards are presented annually to Torch Clubs with outstanding programs and activities in each area. Each year, Torch Club members from across the country take part in a service learning experience through the National Torch Club Project. Cash awards ranging from $500 to $2,500 are presented to the top entries.
A Torch Club is a small group of Club members ages 11-13. It involves at least six, but not more than 15 members in programs and activities agreed upon, developed and implemented by the Torch Club members. Each Torch Club is chartered annually through application to Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
The symbol of the torch represents the leadership and courage personified in the American spirit. Freedom, justice and tolerance are the principles inherent in the Torch Club program and the basic ingredients of citizenship in a democracy. The official colors of Torch Clubs are red, white and blue.
The first Torch Clubs were chartered in 1970 to address the developmental needs of young people ages 11-13. At this point in their development, youngsters often find life confusing and social acceptance elusive. Torch Clubs offer positive experiences geared for these young people, who are not yet “real” teens but are too “old” to comfortably interact with children ages 6-10.
Helping youngsters meet the challenges of growing into adulthood requires the guidance of caring adults. The critical role of the Torch Club advisor is to mentor and empower each Torch Club member to develop a sense of responsibility and appreciation for citizenship and leadership. Educational and social skills development helps young people in this age group gain confidence and self-reliance during this difficult growth period.