Boys Town Logo
Boys Town Logo

The story of how girls first came to Boys Town is one of opportunity, courage and a milestone change to meet the needs of all America’s youth.

It started as a grand experiment 45 years ago, an effort to extend Father Flanagan’s original mission of helping homeless boys so that girls who were facing tough challenges could benefit from Boys Town’s life-changing care.

In 1979, a few girls began living on Boys Town’s Home Campus in Nebraska, which up to that time had been open only to boys. The number of girl residents quickly grew to more than two dozen, and steadily increased into the early 1980s. In 1983, the first five girls graduated from Boys Town High School.

"If it wasn't for Boys Town I just can't imagine what my life would be like. I screwed up a lot after my time there but it is what I learned there that has saved me from screwing up my life forever."
— Lisa

The decision to welcome girls to Boys Town’s Family Home Program initially was met with uncertainty and some resistance. But Father Robert Hupp, then Boys Town’s Executive Director, realized that young girls faced the same problems as boys, and that Father Flanagan’s mission had to include helping and caring for all children. Boys Town successfully embraced this new approach, and more and more girls were able to find success through our compassionate, family-style care.

Today, girls make up about half of the youth population that receives care in the Village of Boys Town and at several of our affiliate sites. Girls have served as the Mayor and Vice Mayor of Boys Town, have excelled in academics, sports, music, art and leadership and have represented Boys Town as inspirational ambassadors. In 2017, during Boys Town’s Centennial celebration, a new statue depicting a boy carrying a girl on his back was dedicated on our Home Campus, joining our iconic “Two Brothers” statue in symbolizing Boys Town’s commitment to helping children.

“I was most thankful for normalcy. Thankful to not be around abuse — mentally, physically, verbally. Being at Boys Town and having an actual family was kind of like a dream come true.”
— Robin

As we celebrate our 45-year milestone, we remember the thousands of girls who have gone on from Boys Town to become strong, successful women and make their mark in the world. We also want to express our heart-felt gratitude to all the Family-Teachers who have cared for our girls. Two of the key figures in the history of girls at Boys Town are Camille Metoyer-Moten and her husband Michael Moten who were Family-Teachers for one of the first Family Homes for girls at Boys Town. Watch the video below to see the emotional reunion of two of the first five girls who came to Boys Town and lived with Michael and Camille, who provided them with the love, care and teaching they needed to build the brighter futures they are living today.

“I have so many wonderful memories. Mike and Camille had a way of embracing me and bringing me in with acceptance and unconditional love. I grew up in a very prejudiced home, and was not allowed to talk to African Americans. So, when I first came to Boys Town I was very verbally abusive towards Michael and Camille. But, by their example seeds of tolerance were planted and I learned so much. I learned how to accept people for who they are.”
— Rose

A Very Special Reunion - 45 Years After Boys Town

Camille: It was at a time when they were hiring Family-Teachers. And so we applied and we came back and interviewed for the job. 

Michael: They asked us, uh, what would you think about working with girls? And we said, oh, oh, okay. 

Camille: That was a surprise. But we were willing to work with either group because we just felt like we had something that we could, we could give.

Michael: The picture that we had in our mind was, you know, uh, eight or nine boys in the houses like they were on campus. But it was much different. We realized that that was probably the beginning of girls at Boys Town altogether.

Looking back at the things that we did, they still remember us and think of us as doing such great things in their lives. 

Camille: They even say it changed my life when I was there with you guys.

Tammy: Oh my God, my GS is so stupid. Oh, good to see you. 

Micheal: We like seeing the change in their lives, you know, seeing 'em start at one point and being able to get to another point with them where they're changed and they want to do well.

That makes you feel good, obviously, you’re accomplishing the goal you set out to accomplish with them.

Michael: You all make the same expressions on your faces that you did back then.

Tam: Does it take you back when I ask you if I have to eat my peas?

Michael: A little bit, yes.

Camille: We came in October of 79 and you met us at the door.

Tam: They were strict kind of, yeah a little bit.

Tammy: I didn’t think they were strict at all.

Tam: Yeah, because you were their favorite.

Michael: See this picture Tam, look at my hair. This is a homemade curl.

Tam: It’s called a Jerry Curl.

Michael: A homemade Jerry Curl.

Tammy: I love Mike and Camille. I wish they were my own parents. They're caring, loving, patient, intelligent, 

Tam: And they treated us like their own kids, even as an adult. Yeah. We've been a part of each other's lives. You guys have been there for you when I've been down and out. Yes. 

Michael: Yes, Don't start crying.

Tam:  I'm not gonna cry. 

Michael: We love you, Tam. 

Tam: I didn't have that experience before though, Mike. Mm-Hmm. 

Camille: We had a girl that had a mother that was on crack that been her whole, had been her whole experience and she was sitting on the front porch looking in the courtyard with all the kids playing.

I went to tell her it's time for dinner. And she turned to me with tears in us and she said, this is like a dream world. And it was just kids playing in a courtyard.

And I always think about that, that Boys Town is a place that can do that for kids.