Character & Leadership

Character & Leadership Programs

The Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh’s goal in our Character and Leadership programming is to build the skills needed today to be effective leaders tomorrow. We empower our young people to support and influence their Club and community, sustain meaningful relationships with others, develop a positive self-image, participate in the democratic process, and respect their own and others’ cultural identities. Unless otherwise stated, these programs run at different times during the school year and/or summer and do not require special sign-ups for youth to participate.

Character, Etiquette and Afternoon Tea

Club girls ages 7-10 have the opportunity to participate in a special summer-only program in which they learn about healthy eating and exercising, appreciating themselves and others, working hard to achieve their dreams and more. The Afternoon Tea event, held at the Oshkosh Country Club, is their reward for completing six character and etiquette classes. Sign up for this program is required.

Keystone Club

Keystone is the Boys & Girls Club Movement’s ultimate teen program. This unique leadership development experience provides opportunities for young people ages 14 to 18. Youth participate both in and out of the Club in activities in three focus areas:

  • Academic success
  • Career preparation
  • Community service

With the guidance of an adult advisor, Keystone Clubs aim to have a positive impact on members, the Club and the community.


Club members in need of a role model are matched with an adult mentor committed to meeting with them for four hours a month for at least two years. Mentors and mentees meet at the Club, participate in fun activities together and develop a plan for the mentee’s future following high school graduation.


STEP UP is an anti-bullying program aimed at decreasing gang-involvement and negative interactions between Oshkosh Police Department officers and youth. Officers work weekly with youth promoting academic success through tutoring, building healthy relationships and positive interactions and having fun!

Torch Club

Torch Club is a chartered, small-group leadership and service club for middle school aged boys and girls. 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.

Youth of the Month

Each month, staff choose a member from each program area to be the member of the month. Members who are chosen for awards stand out to staff for their kind, considerate and respectful behavior, for their positive attitude and participation and who are helpful to other members, staff and volunteers. These members are recognized each year at the Club’s annual Youth of the Year Dinner. This event provides members ages 6-18 the opportunity to showcase their leadership ability and be recognized among their peers.

Youth of the Year

Established in 1947, Youth of the Year is the Boys & Girls Club of America’s premier recognition program for Club members, promoting service to Club, community and family; academic success; strong moral character; life goals; and poise and public speaking ability. Local Clubs recognize members ages 14 to 18 as Youth of the Month winners and also select a Youth of the Year.

The Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh Youth of the Year receives a $10,000 scholarship from the Boys & Girls Club’s Charles F. Hyde, Jr. Youth of the Year Scholarship Endowment and participates in the statewide competition. State winners each receive a $1,000 scholarship and participate in regional competitions. Five regional winners each receive a $10,000 scholarship and compete on the national level. The National Youth of the Year receives up to an additional $50,000 scholarship and is installed by the President of the United States.

Teens can apply to the Youth of the Year 2023-2024 competition by downloading the application form HERE. Applications must be filled out completely and submitted by Friday, October 13, 2023.