Clifton Boys and Girls Club - Something For Everyone!
Whether you attended as a child, brought your children to learn to swim, or even played a few rounds of Bingo (hope you won!), the Clifton Boys and Girls Club has presumably been a part of your life.
The Boys Club of Clifton started in 1947 at School 13, moved to Center Street, and then started construction on the lot near the intersection of Colfax and Clifton Avenues where the Boys and Girls Club still stands today. The Clifton Girls Club was started in 1968, located on the corner of Van Houten and Mount Prospect, where Pizza Hut now is. The two clubs merged in 1986 and improvements on the building started a decade later. They include a competition-sized swimming pool, renovated gymnasium, computer, study, and counseling rooms. With the motto “Great Futures Start Here,” the Club pledges that “The Boys and Girls Club of Clifton is dedicated to providing programs and services in a safe, supervised environment, to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as caring, productive and responsible citizens.”
Walk through the doors and the first thing you notice is children of all ages talking, laughing, playing basketball in the gym, splashing in the pool, or gathering together to line up and go on a field trip. Camp Clifton is in full session and while it’s too late for your child to register for this year, you can get a feel for the excitement of another day of fun and games in a nurturing and dynamic environment. Camp days are long and activity-filled, including outdoor time, games, swimming, and field trips to fun places like amusement parks. Camp Clifton is for children in elementary school. Children who’ve completed kindergarten can attend KinderCamp and children aged 2 ½ to four who are potty trained attend Camp Gingerbread.
Once school is back in session the Club offers after-care for Clifton students through 8th grade either at their school or at the Club, depending on the school. Children can study, do homework, or play games under supervision. Students between the ages of 11-13 are eligible to join the Torch Club. This group learns the basics of fundraising, setting up events and gaining work experience, and learning about giving back to their community. High school teens can join the Keystone Club, a national organization that is partnered with Boys and Girls Club of America that incorporates three pillars of success and achievement: Academic Success, Career Preparation, and Community Service. The teens learn about community involvement, fundraising and money management, and professional life skills. Counselors lead these programs and serve as mentors.
The staff is focused on developing the whole child with an emphasis on life skills, health and wellness, and awareness about such issues as substance abuse. Many programs are partially funded through grants and all are carefully vetted before being implemented.
Because there is a strong connection between health and being physically active the Club offers a variety of ways for children to move around and stay fit. Swimming lessons are available for all, even adults. Aquatics programs include Learn-to-Swim programs for all ages and abilities, Mom-n-Tot classes for children six months to four years and their parent, water exercise classes, adult lap swim times, Youth and Family Open Swims, the Clifton Seahawks, (a competitive swim team), and much more. The pool is also available to rent for birthdays and other parties.
There are also various sports leagues, including soccer and basketball as well as non-competitive gym time.
There is nothing more important than safety, which is fundamental to the mission of Boys and Girls Clubs. Safety programs are continually reviewed and tweaked to ensure the health and safety of children, staff, and volunteers. This includes a Security Access Control system to monitor entrance and exit from the building, mandatory background checks for staff and volunteers that are renewed annually, ongoing safety trainings and assessments, all reviewed and vetted by a Safety Committee that is familiar with national and local regulations. The Club partners with the Clifton Police and Fire Departments, Public Schools, and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department as well.
If you’re an alumnus of the Club, they’d love to have you help out or attend their annual Alumni Dinner in the fall. If you have a particular skill set, or if you just like helping kids out and making a difference in their lives, the Club would love to have you volunteer in any capacity. Whether it’s athletics, academic tutoring, fundraising, or Bingo, there’s a place for you at the Club! Please call the Club and they can guide you through the process.
Upcoming fundraisers (emphasis on the fun!) include:
Cornhole Tournament 8/27/23
Clifton Car Show 9/10/23
Fall Golf Classic 9/28/23
Taste of Clifton 10/16/23
The Club recently celebrated its 75th Anniversary and is looking forward to many more happy anniversaries creating special memories.
The Club is located at 181 Colfax Avenue on the corner of Colfax and Clifton Avenues. For more information please call 973-772-2697.