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Inspirational Quote

A person who has a cat by the tail knows a whole lot more about cats than someone who has just read about them.
Mark Twain

William Edwin Hall

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

“What greater monument could a man hope for but the part he has played in the building of character and citizenship among our youth?” — William Edwin Hall

William Edwin Hall was an attorney building a successful law practice when, in the fall of 1914, a friend invited him to observe juveniles from the slums of New York as they conducted an organized Boys’ Club meeting. “Without preaching or frantic flag-waving,” Hall remembered, “the Boys’ Clubs were teaching our democratic way of life.” Within the year Hall was elected to the presidency of what is now Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

When Hall became President, the Boys’ Club Federation included just 53 clubs. By 1918 there were 120 clubs serving 100,000 boys; and when Hall retired in 1955, there were 400 clubs with more than 375,000 members. He continued to build his legal and business career while dedicating time and resources to the movement as a volunteer, and never accepted a salary from the Boys’ Club Federation.

According to C.J. Atkinson, Executive Secretary from 1914-1930, a Boys’ Club boy “seemed to have very little concern as to where his Boys’ Club pal and playmates had been born, the color of his skin, the dialect or imperfections of his language, or the church he might attend.” In his 1988 report to the organization, Boys Clubs of America President Jeremiah Milbank stated:  “The challenges of society are no less pressing for girls than they are for boys. Girls are not immune to the problems of crime, drugs and alcohol abuse…. Poverty and neglect are not bound by race, ethnic origin, or gender. We can be proud that Clubs are truly democratic institutions, offering hope and promise to thousands of boys and girls in communities throughout America.”

Today Boys and Girls Clubs throughout America promote and enhance the development of more than four million boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging, and influence.


To learn more about Hall and his inspirational life and work, William Edwin Hall: Boys & Girls Clubs of America can be purchased as an e-book for the modest price of $4.99. Search for it by name or under the heading “Mobilizing the Human Spirit” at the following book sellers: Apple iBookstore (for iPad), Amazon (for Kindle,), Barnes & Noble (for Nook) and many other e-book retailers