History of the Club In January of 1948 the Boys’ Club of Palm Springs became incorporated as a nonprofit, charitable organization formed to serve the guidance and character building needs of the boys of Palm Springs area. Through the help of several members of the Palm Springs Lions Club, Frank S. Partridge became the founder of the Boys’ Club which became an Associate member of the Boys’ Club of America (now the Boys & Girls Club of America).
Early History At first there was an occasional hike or softball game, then as the program began to attract more members the Board of Directors sought out to find a building to build a clubhouse. At this time, the U.S. Government made a surplus barracks building in Palm Springs available for a nominal charge to the club. This building served as the home of the Boys’ Club through the spring of 1957 when it became apparent that a larger, modern and more permanent facility was needed. With the cost of a suitable location beyond the financial reach of the Board, the City of Palm Springs offered a one acre site with a 25 year land lease to the club for a nominal fee of $1.00 per year.
Later, Desi Arnaz, staged a fundraising party at his hotel with such celebrities as Lucille Ball, Dean Martin, and Walter Winchell. Over $18,000 was raised to build the current Pathfinders’ Children’s Center Clubhouse at 450 S. Sunrise Way, which was dedicated on December 14, 1958. Under the leadership of the Club’s first Chief Executive, Ray Lockwood, membership tripled within the first three years of operation and a swimming pool was added in 1962 with the help of the Palm Springs Pathfinders, a group of ladies dedicated to the welfare of children in Palm Springs. With funding from the United Trust (now the United Way), a gymnasium was added in 1965 to accommodate the increasing needs of the athletic program. That same year, Pathfinder Ranch was established to provide space for the activities in an outdoor setting unavailable at the main Clubhouse.
For the next two decades expansion efforts focused primarily on the Pathfinder Ranch while the Club continued to enjoy a steady growth in membership. Enhancements made in the mid-1980s include a pool enclosure and the addition of a computer education program. Under the direction of the Club’s second Chief Executive, Jim Coston, a Girls Club building was added in 1989 to provide equal access for girls and to accommodate the increasing needs of single parent families. Dedicated by the President of the Board, Mayor Sonny Bono and Dinah Shore, Executive Director of the Nabisco Dinah Shore Golf Tournament (now Kraft Nabisco Championship), a major contributor to the project, the facility included a games room, an art room, a library, and a counseling center. The new clubhouse would provide daily service to some 125 girls for nearly a decade. As the years progressed and the main clubhouse facilitates became increasingly utilized for girls’ activities a co-educational program was established. In 1999 the Girls Club building was converted into a much needed office space and the main clubhouse, due for remodeling, was refurbished to include boys and girls facilities.
Today The Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs serves over 1,200 boys and girls annually, providing a wide range of after school, summer and winter programs in a safe and supervised environment. With the recent completion (spring 2002) of the Mary Bremer Patrick Teen Center, the Club is well positioned to meet the needs of an ever-growing number of Coachella Valley youths. The new state-of the art building provides additional space and resources to serve older youth who today are faced with more serious and difficult challenges. In 2008, the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs and Pathfinder Ranch formed two separate non-profit organizations to better serve more youth and focus on the key resources that the children need to become outstanding citizens.
In 2016, the Club opened our new Health & Wellness Center geared towards encouraging our youth to live a healthy lifestyle. This Center has a yoga room, weight room and two teaching class rooms. This is where we run the nutrition classes provided by the County of Riverside for the Ready Set Swim program that is brought to our organization by Desert Healthcare District.