The Boys & Girls Club of Venice received a prestigious Honor Award for Sports, Fitness and Recreation at the 2007 Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Conference in Orlando May 20th.

The club received the award at the conference finale dinner in front of over 2,000 people.

The Honor Award for Program Excellence in Sports, Fitness and Recreation is presented to a club conducting a program that is outstanding in helping young people become physically fit, positive use of leisure time, skills for stress management, appreciation for the environment and social skills.

In recognition of its outstanding achievement, the club received a $2,500 cash award.

Honor Awards for Program Excellence are presented for the most outstanding programs developed and implemented in Boys & Girls Clubs across the country.

Each year, hundreds of entries are submitted in the five core program areas — character and leadership development; education and career development; health and life skills; the arts; and sports, fitness and recreation.

The award, sponsored by the Metlife Foundation, is given to only five clubs nationwide that have demonstrated excellence in one of the five core program disciplines set forth by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The award was received on stage by board president Cathy Hession, executive director Erikk Aldridge and director of operations Armando Diaz.

The club has a comprehensive sports, fitness and recreation program for all club members, including an innovative year-round sailing program sponsored and supported by the Fairwind Yacht Club, California Department of Boating and Waterways and the LA84 Foundation, formerly known as the Amateur Athletic Foundation.

Since receiving the award, the club has expanded its summer sailing program and added a competitive sailing program sponsored by the Ridgestone Family Foundation.

In addition to sailing, the club’s Play Now Initiative is committed to providing quality and organized athletic teams and recreation activities that give club members the opportunity to enhance their overall physical fitness and develop their competitive spirit, while understanding the principles of teamwork.

Competitive sports in the Play Now lineup include basketball, soccer, flag football and sailing. Intramural and recreational activities include sailing, volleyball, swimming, running and dance/cheer.

The Boys & Girls Club of Venice is located at 2232 Lincoln Blvd. in Venice.

Information on the club,, or (310) 390-4477.

Erikk Aldridge is the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Venice.