On April 22, 20 Torch Club members from the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield headed to Shelton, CT for the two-day Northeast Regional Torch Club Summit hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of Lower Naugatuck Valley.

Torch Club members from 18 Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the Northeast participated in the summit with approximately 230 Torch Club members in attendance. Youth participants enjoyed a mix of fun recreational activities and instructional sessions. Small group sessions were held on peer pressure, self-confidence, stress management, and event planning skills. Fun social activities included basketball games, obstacle courses, ice cream truck, dance party, karaoke, and art projects!

This summit gave Boys & Girls Club members from all over the Northeast the opportunity to learn from each other, have fun and form connections with youth who have similar interests. Torch Club is Boys & Girls Club’s leadership and service program for Middle School Club members. Torch Club focuses on four core areas: service to Club & community, education, health & fitness and social recreation. Torch Club is a powerful vehicle that helps meet the developmental needs of 6th through 8th graders.

“It was truly a great experience,” said Mitchell Velasco, Ridgefield’s Torch Club Co-President. “The best part was meeting members from the Northeast Clubs and seeing what their Torch Clubs do, as well as learning from the different sessions I took part in.”

The Summit concluded with the Torch Club being presented with the Education Program Award for their project Don’t Be a Mess, Live Without Stress- providing Club members with resources, activities and an educational discussion on ways to live a stress-free life.  The Education award was one of only five awards given out at the summit and the first Regional award won by the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield’s Torch Club. “It was great for our members to be recognized for their hard work in and out of meetings. Winning an award is great for our members, but we definitely don’t want to get complacent. This is just the beginning of the wonderful things that the future holds for our Torch Club programs future,” explained Jeff Goncalves, Torch Club Advisor. The awards given recognize high quality projects that are well executed by the Torch Club members.

“The summit allowed our members to meet and network with other youth from the various Northeast Clubs,” said Goncalves. “It was great to see members from different areas communicate and share ideas that they could bring back and implement in their own Club and community. One of the great things about being part of a National Organization is opportunities like these to meet members from other regions of the country.”

For more information about Torch Club and other character and leadership development programs offered at the Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield please visit www.bgcridgefield.org or call 203-438-8821.