According to the group's web site, the organization "had its beginnings in 1860 with several women in Hartford, Connecticut." The first club was opened there--for boys only--and soon other communities in the region decided that such places would be good for their boys. By the early 20th century the clubs started to affiliate themselves with each other, and in 1931 they became Boys Clubs of America. In 1956, the group was chartered by Congress, and the charter was updated--after an agreement was reached with Girls Clubs of America, which changed its name to Girls, Inc--to reflect the organization's name change to Boys and Girls Clubs of America in 1990.
Today Boys and Girls Clubs of America has over 3,000 autonomous local clubs--which pay dues to the national organization--throughout the country that serve large numbers of boys and girls, generally between the ages of 6 and 18. Many clubs are located in urban areas and serve children from low-income families.