(May 28, 2021) – It’s official. The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Okanagan has become BGC Okanagan. Not to be trendy. Not because it’s shorter or catchier. But because we open our doors to all children, youth and families and we believe our name should reflect that.
Removing gender from our name echoes the inclusive practices we’re known for, while still having recognition of the work we have done in communities across the Okanagan for the past 63 years. It also embraces the fact that we proudly serve young people and families of all ages, backgrounds and identities.
“We knew that using Boys and Girls Clubs was a barrier in a few different ways. The language was dated, non-inclusive and not representative of our core values of belonging, respect, encouragement and support, working together and speaking out. It also did not recognize the significant work we do with all children, youth and families,” said Jeremy Welder, BGC Okanagan CEO.
The branding change was a year-long process led by BGC Canada, working to create deeper connections with communities across the country, ensuring everyone feels the welcome and support Clubs are known for and that has defined their legacy. BGC Canada’s consultation process involved speaking with LGBTQ2S+ community members, stakeholders, youth and Club leadership from across the country.
At BGC Okanagan you will often hear the saying “opportunity changes everything.” Our prior use of Boys and Girls Clubs may have left individuals feeling like they did not have equal access to those opportunities. We now have a name that better represents the work we do in our community to remove barriers, and provide all children, youth and families with a place of belonging.
BGC Okanagan is confident that over time people who know their brand will unhear Boys and Girls Clubs when they say BGC and that over time BGC will take on new meanings and positive associations that are not tied to gender.
“In the meantime, we will continue to offer community-based services, essential programs and promote a place of inclusivity and positivity for all children, youth and families. The work that truly defines us and that we have been doing in the Okanagan for 63 years,” said Welder.
About BGC Okanagan
In 1959, a group of concerned citizens in Kelowna came together to see what they could do to develop a safe place for children to go after school. The same thing happened in Vernon in the 60’s and Penticton in the 70’s and the rest is history. For 63 years, BGC Okanagan has been creating opportunities children, youth and families.
BGC Canada is the largest child and youth serving charitable organization, our Clubs open their doors to young people and their families at 775 locations nationwide. During out-of-school hours in small and large cities, and rural and Indigenous communities, our trained staff and volunteers provide programs and services that help young people realize positive outcomes in self-expression, academics, healthy living, physical activity, job readiness, mental health, leadership and more. Opportunity changes everything.
Marketing and Communications Coordinator, BGC Okanagan