In the 1960’s Engadine was becoming home to an increasing number of families but with no organised activities for young people. In July 1964 a meeting convened in July by Engadine’s Parish Priest Father Joseph Ciantar with a view to form a Boys Club to promote cultural, sporting and social activities for the youth of Engadine and surrounding districts. The St John Bosco Boys club was thereby established.
Father Ciantar arranged for the use of a hall at Boys’ Town, and in the beginning about 30 boys took part in just gymnastics and boxing. As Engadine grew so did the Boys Club. Gymnastics and Boxing were soon complimented by the formation of Rugby League in 1965, Cricket in 1968 and Soccer (now Football) in 1972. In 1974 the club became the St John Bosco Youth Centre to reflect its female membership.
Progressively over time more, largely autonomous, sub-clubs were formed under the St John Bosco banner. Basketball formed and joined in 1977, Father & Son Camp in 1978, Baseball in 1980, Hockey in 1986 and Netball in 1988. As membership exceeded 3,000 by 1990 many other sub-clubs had been formed but as interest in sport had changed some no longer operate. These include Boxing, Baton Twirling, Water Polo, Touch Football and Oz-Tag. The most recent addition, and now by far the largest sub-club, is Summer Soccer which formed in 1995.
From its humble beginning the St John Bosco Youth Centre has continued to grow are there now over 5,000 members, both male and female, from the age of 4 to adults who engage in organised sport on a regular basis all year round. The name ‘Bosco’ is now a household word in Engadine and surrounding districts, and an integral part of sport in the Sutherland Shire. Together, the Youth Centre and its ten sub-clubs form one of the largest sporting organisation in Sydney.
The founders of the Boy’s club in 1964 would not have envisaged the large organisation that is now the St John Bosco Youth Centre.
The St John Bosco Youth Centre is a non-denominational and non-political community based network operating under the auspices of St John Bosco Parish open to all young people. Volunteers form the back-bone of the operations of the Youth Centre and its sub-clubs.
A key objective of the Youth Centre’s charitable operation is to continue to promote cultural, sporting and social activities for young people, consistent with Don Bosco’s understanding that providing healthy and positive activities for young people assists in their personal and social development. This vison has also been extended to include adults to enable them to engage in sporting activities for their wellbeing as well.