Inspiring Girls for Over 40 Years
The Lincoln Girls club, the agency’s first name had its beginnings in late 1972 when a VISTA volunteer organized a girls’ softball team in the area on Meridian Street near Lincoln School.
The first center opened in a 3700-square foot warehouse. Local businesses, the Junior League and other civic and church groups supported the agency. For several years the center was staffed entirely with volunteers.
In 1975 the center moved across the street to a somewhat larger warehouse and received a Community Development Grant in recognition of the work it was doing with young girls. The agency affiliated with Girls Clubs of America Inc. in 1976 and was accepted as a United Way Agency.
In 1984, faced with immediate loss of its leased space, the agency was able to purchase a building at 1216 Meridian Street known as the Army Reserve Center. This seller, William E. Cummings, made this purchase possible through the financing of the mortgage.
The entire upper floor of 6000 square feet was renovated into program space for the girls. Space on the lower floor was developed as offices and storage for the center and other non-profit community groups.
Through the late 80’s the agency continued to grow meeting the needs of young people at its facility on Meridian Street, at small sites in housing developments, in an after-school phone line for latchkey children and in a special program for teen moms. Enrollment for the summer camp program continued to have long waiting lists.
The agency adopted Girls Incorporated’s “Going Places” in May 1988 as the core program for its local activities. The Core Program curriculum is based on the special needs of young girls recognizing the critical educational, social and economic issues, which confront young women today.
In April 1990 Girls Clubs of American (and Huntsville Girls Club) changed its name to Girls Incorporated (and Girls Incorporated of Huntsville) to better reflect our role as advocates for girls in meeting their special need. With the new name came two new “tag” lines: Growing Up is Serious Business; and Helping Girls Grow Strong, Smart and Bold. Now the motto is simply, “Inspiring All girls to be strong, smart, and bold!”
At the time of the name change the Board also began exploring the possibility of a new facility for the Center. The agency needed more programming and office space. Through a series of negotiations, the City of Huntsville bought property on Blue Springs Road belonging to the YMCA. The city renovated and expanded the existing facilities to house Girls Incorporated the YMCA and the City Recreation Department. Girls Incorporated moved into the new site in August 1995. The building on Meridian Street was sold in December 1995.