The Challengers Club for Boys and Girls is a non-profit inner city youth center aimed at providing a safe and positive environment for city youth to congregate. They have a policy of never turning anyone away and provide a number of programs and services ranging from after school care through to drug, violence and gang prevention as well as running a shelter service where troubled teens can have a warm, clean and safe bed for a night, or as long as they need.
The club was founded in 1974 by Booker and Cynthia Wilson with nothing more than an empty building and a dream. They continued to run the club together up until 1989 when Booker was tragically attacked and killed by Larson, a local racist who saw Booker as his main obstacle in having the club, which he considered to be nothing more than a criminal magnet, closed down. At the time of his death, Booker and Cynthia were preparing to celebrate the clubs 15th year in operation and had just received a continuation of their funding from the city council.
After Bookers death, Cynthia continued to run the Challengers Club, but just prior to Christmas the building was sold to a new owner who tried to squeeze the club out with unreasonable rent demands. Cynthia was, however, able to find the money needed to meet those demands with a Christmas concert and anonymous donation.
In 1990 Cynthia brought an ex U.S. Marine, R.J. Hines, onboard to help run a new program at the club, a year later she apparently handed over day to day running of the center to Hines.
The Challengers club is based on a real youth club called Challengers Boys and Girls club in LA. The club became part of MacGyver due to the shows executive producer, Stephen Downing, being a long time supporter of the Challengers Club. The logo and sign seen in the episodes are from the real club and the external scenes in the seventh season were filmed at the real Challengers center.
Rutherford J. Hines