Top Three Challenges

Congratulations on launching your Virtual Club Experience! As you move forward, it is likely you will encounter challenges. There are three that we hear the most frequently from Clubs:

Low participation: Club staff report that members show up once (to live sessions) or intermittently engage in take-home activities. This can be an even greater challenge with Teens.

Several Clubs have used direct outreach, or a “Case Model” approach to reach out directly to all their Members (following safety protocols) to check in on their needs and re-establish relationships. These Clubs have seen their Virtual Club attendance and participation numbers rise after outreach.

For more great ideas, see the ClubX blog posts on Staying Connected to Teens and 7 Things to Consider About Teens and Virtual Club.

It can also be helpful to apply a Rapid CQI process to explore how youth can be deeply engaged at a high quality. Continue to explore the resources below for more information.

Parent communication: Club staff report that connecting with parents can be a challenge. 

BGCA has sourced best practice communication methods. Please refer to the Communication sections within Design and Operation for information about how best to connect and continuously communicate with parents and caregivers.

Digital equity: Club staff report that many members lack connectivity and/or digital skills to access virtual experiences. 

BGCA has created a collected best-practice document focused on helping alleviate barriers to digital equity. Please see Equity in Access: Leveling the Digital Playing Field for more.

Virtual Program Quality

No matter what your Virtual Club Experience approach, creating high-quality Club experiences is still a core offering. How you measure the quality of your Virtual Club impacts the outcomes you expect to see in youth. Program Quality is the lead indicator that predicts youth outcomes. As you explore your virtual program offerings include the following standards to ensure your program sessions maintain high quality.

  • Live Sessions: Live Club sessions between youth and staff should include: a warm welcome, community builder, group agreements, small group opportunities, a main activity, reflection, recognition, and closing.
  • Pre-recorded Sessions: Pre-recorded videos or activities designed for youth to watch and engage with at any time. Pre-recorded session should have a warm welcome, community builder or simple energizer, group agreement or reminder to get parental permission, a main activity that produces a product, a reflection question, and opportunity to share work.
  • Self-Guided Activity: Self-guided activities can be completed by youth with little or no assistance, and may include online or offline activities. Self-guided activities should have clear objectives, a main activity which results in a product, reflection question, and extension opportunities.
  • Transitions/Connective Activities: These are activities that occur between program session or planned activities. Occurrences such as special events, check-in messages, or ongoing competitions and challenges can help members stay connected.

What is CQI

Improving program quality requires Clubs and Youth Centers to take part in Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). CQI is a way of thinking and learning, and a cyclical, ongoing process with three phases: Assess, Plan, and Improve.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America understands that the world is changing fast, particularly as local districts and governments evolve their COVID response. 

This means Continuous Quality Improvement is an even more essential process to run as you roll out your virtual club experience because:

  • Quality drives participation and attendance
  • Parent, caregiver and member needs may shift rapidly during this time
  • The strategies you employ to engage young people in virtual programming may not work initially, and new strategies might be needed

That’s why BGCA has developed a Rapid CQI framework to help you quickly adapt. 

Rapid CQI

The CQI process helps Clubs build and maintain quality programs (See the full CQI Toolkit for more) or use the Using Data to Improve the Virtual Club Experience guide to help you navigate rapid continuous quality improvement in the virtual space.

Using Data to Improve the Virtual Club Experience


Virtual Quality Standards


Continue to Additional Resources →