BGC Charlottetown was founded by community-minded individuals who wished to provide a safe space where children and youth could have opportunities for positive social experiences. Originally named the Bayfield Drop-in Centre the organization was renamed the Charlottetown Youth Club after moving to a City donated building at 8 Eden Street in the early eighties. The youth centre experienced a downturn in this period and was seen as lacking direction, programming and sufficient funding. In an effort to continue providing a space for youth, the directors decided to become affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club of Canada and 1983 the Charlottetown Youth Club became the Charlottetown Boys and Girls Club. The Club provided a structured environment with directed programming for 130 youth between the ages of 7 and 18.
For the nearly two decades that followed, BGC Charlottetown operated out of the building on Eden Street where young people participated in programs such as; Radio Club, weight lifting, step dancing, dart club as well as a lifestyles and self-improvement course. The members also enjoyed special activities like; pool tournaments, movies, bowling, games, rifle shooting, basketball and special events like, scavenger hunts, roller skating, sleigh rides, toboggan parties, talent nights and an annual dance at the CP Prince Edward Hotel. In September of 1986 the Charlottetown Boys and Girls Club officially became incorporated, solidifying its name in the community for many years to come.
Fast forward ten years and the Club is bursting at the seams. By 1997 the small building on Eden Street was home to Kids and Co. Afterschool program, the Summer’s for Kids program and the Inner City Youth Connection (ICYC), founded in 1995. The ICYC provided a variety of programs to about 450 youth between the ages of 13-18 and their parents and guardians, connecting with nearly 450 youth on an annual basis. Combine this with overflowing after school and summer programs for younger children and it was clear the club needed a larger and safer building.
In October 1999 BGC Charlottetown received the keys to the former Parkdale Fire Hall at 35 St. Peters Rd and the next door Love property after almost a year of consideration by the City of Charlottetown. Thanks to the support of many community members, including several local businesses, the deal was struck and became a win-win for the City – which would see two historic buildings preserved – and the Club – which was then able to expand its programming. After moving to the former Fire Station, the Club quadrupled its recreational space and more than doubled their capacity to house 50 children at a time. The ICYC also moved to the Fire Hall location. BGC Charlottetown as we know it today officially opened in February 2000.
In the early 2000’s the Inner City Youth Connection transitioned into what was known as the Survival Centre for Youth. In 2003 BGC Charlottetown began offering services for homeless and at-risk youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in the Charlottetown area. The drop-in centre offered the use of a community kitchen, a resource room for life skills, laundry and shower services, as well as a teen health clinic with help from local public health nurses and doctors. In November 2014, the Survival Centre rebranded as The Club Drop-in Centre for Youth and offered many similar services to a wide range of youth between the ages of 16 and 29 including a GED preparatory program.
Closing in on the 35th Anniversary of incorporation, BGC Charlottetown is proud of their longstanding commitment to the children, youth and families of the Charlottetown area. This commitment now even extends a little farther east with the opening of BGC Montague in the fall of 2015, and a satellite program location in partnership with the Reach Foundation in Stratford once again with the rallying support of the community. With more than three decades of excellence in serving our future generations, BGC Charlottetown and now BGC Montague hope to continue this mission far into the future for thirty more years and beyond.