Programs available to club members include character and leadership; sports, fitness and recreation; arts and crafts; social recreation; education and career; and health and life skills. Included in the latter is the SMART program, which Bennett said has been very successful.
SMART stands for skills, mastery and resistance training, and teaches drug, alcohol and tobacco prevention in an age-appropriate way.
Program director Kawanna Hinton started attending the Boys and Girls Club in Lancaster, Pa., when she was 12, along with her younger sister.
Their mother was a single parent who worked long hours.
"I was responsible for my sister and this was a place where we could go that was safe," Hinton said. "The staff took care of us. They were always there to talk to, like an older sibling. I was there to watch over my sister, and they watched over me. Those people really cared. And so do we."
Hinton was named Youth of the Year at the Lancaster club in 1994. She said that without the Boys and Girls Club program, she would not have gone to college. She graduated from West Chester (Pa.) University with a major in political science.
"She's a tremendous asset to the club," Bennett said.
Eleven volunteers, recruited by Hinton from Wilson College and Shippensburg (Pa.) University, help to run the club, which is open from 3 to 8:30 p.m. on school days.
The Franklin County (Pa.) Housing Authority gave the club $20,000 and a community building on North Washington Street. Another $25,000 grant came from the national Boys and Girls Club headquarters. The building is being renovated, and Bennett hopes to open it as a branch club in May.
Registrations are being accepted for the summer program, the theme of which is children and careers. Membership is open to anyone ages 6 through 18 in Franklin County. Annual dues are $10 per child.
For more information, call 717-263-3393.