Historical Association Giving Boys and Girls Clubs a History Lesson

The White House Historical Association is working with the Boys and Girls Clubs on a new history education initiative.

There will be a lot more young history buffs, thanks to a new partnership between the White House Historical Association and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) that will educate youth on American and White House history.

“Our mandate, our mission is education, and we are strong believers in connecting to the next generation of young Americans the wonderful stories of White House history,” WHHAPresident Stewart McLaurin said.

“Clearly this is a program that through the many, many years of [BGCA] history has developed leaders and has a wonderful structure,” he continued. “So, we’re taking our content and putting it into their structure to deliver this teaching of the White House history to them.”

WHHA’s education program will be incorporated into the BGCA’s existing programs—like Summer Brain Gain—and camps. The partnership will allow WHHA to expand its usually limited reach.

“We’ve taken our core education curriculum and program, and we are personalizing it with the clubs to be more focused on their interests and needs. Clearly the Boys and Girls Clubs of America reach young people all over the country,” McLaurin said. “Partnering with [them] is a way to take our content and extend it beyond what our traditional reach would be.”

The relationship between the White House and BGCA began when President Herbert Hoover served as chairman of the organization in 1936. Traditionally, BGCA’s Youth of the Year meets with the president at the White House in the fall. This new extension of the relationship between the two groups coincides with this year’s White House Christmas Tree ornament celebrating Hoover.

“As dedicated Club staff and mentors equip the leaders of tomorrow with the tools they need to achieve success, it is incredibly important that their lives are enriched with the legacy and history of our nation’s past,” BGCA President and CEO Jim Clark said in a statement. “Thank you to the White House Historical Association for helping us share these powerful lessons from our country’s history, so the next generation’s leaders can enable our country to achieve a great future.”

The combined programs resulting from this partnership will first be held in the Washington-Baltimore area, then expand to Iowa—Hoover’s home state. From there, the programs will reach the other presidents’ hometowns. While WHHA’s programs have previously been limited to the DC region, this partnership will allow their curriculum to go national.

“Rather than just sitting here in Lafayette Park across from the White House and hoping people come to visit us, we are connecting with great organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs to take our message and our education and mission to a much broader distribution around the region and then nationally,” McLaurin said.

He further noted that the association’s mission of education stands regardless of who inhabits the White House, and he thinks partnerships—new ones and existing ones, such as with the Washington Nationals—are an effective way to continue it forward.

“Our job is to teach and tell this history regardless of who the president is and what party is in power,” McLaurin said. “So working with the Boys and Girls Clubs, we can do this in a very nonpartisan way and it’s not about politics, but it’s about the history of the house and the importance of how the leaders in the house and the place of the house have influenced American history or their lives.”

The White House Historical Association's main subject of historical interest. (iStock/Thinkstock)

Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!