The name Salesian was born in Italy. A young priest, Don Bosco, foresaw the unsettling influence that the industrial revolution was having on youth. He inaugurated a Society of Priests, Brothers and Sisters to work with children of the poor and laboring classes. Aware of the understanding and patience required with youth work, he chose as patron St. Francis de Sales, who was noted for having conquered a fiery temper to achieve a gentle character. That family name "Sales" gave title to the Salesians of St. John Bosco.
The Salesian Boys' Club was established in San Francisco in 1918 by Fr. Oreste Trincheri. Father came to the North Beach area of San Francisco and found that its atmosphere spawned 60% of the city's delinquency. He realized that the volatile, creative Italian character of the boys that made up the area must have outlets for their energies. The Salesian Boys' Club was the answer.
Energies and talents were channeled into sports, dramatics, music and discussion programs. In accordance with the set norms of the Salesian method, the more promising boys were given responsibilities in the coaching of
younger members, supervising recreation rooms, organizing and refereeing games in the yard and the gymnasium. Guided in this responsibility and with initiative encouraged, members began to develop that leadership which has marked Salesian graduates ever since. Today, whenever Salesian Old Timers gather in their annual reunions, many of the community's most respected citizens are of their number. Doctors, judges, lawyers, teachers, priests and outstanding business leaders and working men of sterling quality attest to the fine work the Salesian Boys' Club has done. These foundation stones are the Salesian Boys' Club's contribution to the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Club became a corporation in 1952 and has been operating independently ever since. They have established a Board of Directors to take responsibility of the operation of the program and raise all their own money on an ongoing basis. The antiquated facilities of the past were replaced by a million dollar complex in 1971 that is truly superb. The new club has a magnificent gymnasium, complemented by a weight room and game rooms galore. In addition, a library has been added that is fully equipped with reference books and computers. There is also a large TV Room with a beautiful color television and VCR for movie viewing and taping of activities.
Athletics at the Club are both varied and entertaining. Boys compete in city-wide leagues in basketball and baseball. Special intra-club leagues are also created for high school and grammar school members in football, soccer, volleyball, softball and the like.
Outdoor thrills are similarly provided throughout the year. There is an annual ski trip, a one week camping session and regularly scheduled outings during the summer. In addition, the Club also offers an eight-week Summer Day Camp for children ages 5-10. Parents who prefer to have their children supervised in a more structured environment can place their children in the Summer Day Camp for an additional weekly fee.
The Salesian story took on an added dimension on July 1, 1994. After serving only boys for almost 80 years, the Club opted to include girls and expand their program accordingly. The old boys' club that was used primarily as an auditorium and gymnasium for the girls on a part time basis was completely renovated and equipped for girls' use. Girls now compete in basketball, volleyball and softball on a city-wide level and have the same opportunities as boys to participate in the Club's extra-curricular activities. With two fabulous facilities to serve the young people in San Francisco, the Salesian Boys' and Girls' Club stands poised to meet the 21st century head on.
The Salesian Boys' and Girls' Club invites the children of San Francisco to join its wonderful tradition. There is no pessimism about the modern youth at the Salesian Boys' and Girls' Club. Young ideals stand tall as ever.