Youth Development

The YMCA is committed to nurturing the potential of every child and teen. From cradle to career, the Y empowers young people to lead inspired, successful lives.

Youth Development

Our Youth Development Programs

From camp to child care to afterschool activities to sports and more, the Y offers holistic programming that enhances, protects and nurtures the unique development journey of every child and teen.

  • Child Care

    Child care and early learning programs at the Y focus on nurturing child development comprehensively by building foundational skills, fostering healthy relationships and boosting self-reliance, all in a safe and supportive environment.

  • Education & Leadership

    Our leadership and academic enrichment programs help millions of young people build the skills and confidence not only to reach their potential, but to enact positive change in their communities.

  • Swim, Sports & Play

    The Y is committed to empowering kids to lead healthy, active lifestyles. From gaining confidence to fostering positive relationships, sports at the Y are about building lifelong, healthy habits from the inside out.

  • Camp

    Camps at the Y offer kids countless opportunities to laugh, learn, lead and make lasting friendships. With both day and overnight camp options, our proven programs and trained counselors deliver meaningful, memorable experiences that keep kids coming back year after year.

  • Beyond School Blog

    Stay in the know with go-to tips, tools, hacks and facts sourced for families and youth development professionals who work with kids, teens and families year-round.

  • Meal Programs for Kids

    All kids deserve access to healthy and nutritious foods. The Y offers year-round food programs to children, providing the nutritional meals they need to learn, grow and thrive.

  • Youth Development Roadmap

    Explore our youth development roadmap to learn about the key developmental milestones and opportunities that support young people on their journey from cradle to career.

  • Healthy Kids Day®

    As part of the Y's commitment to strengthen community by addressing critical gaps in health and education, Healthy Kids Day encourages kids and parents to commit to keeping the body and mind active this summer.

    Join your local Y for a day full of fun activities that celebrate kids being kids!

Youth Development in Action

Check out how our youth development programs have positively impacted the lives of these inspiring young people.

Watch more Y stories

  • We're Young Leaders Trying to Change the World

    In August 2019, the YMCA celebrated 175 years of youth-led change with a global gathering in London. Amber and her team from YMCA of Greater Richmond met with peers from across the world to discuss community issues and develop solutions. Learn how this passionate teen plans to change the world for the better. This is her Y. Her camera. Her story.

  • Water Safety: I'm Comfortable Around Water Now

    After a local drowning tragedy, YMCA of Northwest Louisiana and community organizations came together to bring a water safety program to all second graders in the district. As a result, Leigha and Giana learned life-saving water safety skills—and gained a love for swimming. This is their Y. Their camera. Their story.

  • Afterschool: Christopher's Coming Out of His Shell

    As a parent, you try to make decisions that benefit your kids. For David, enrolling his sons in the YMCA Chinatown’s afterschool programs was one of the best things he's ever done—especially for his son, Christopher. This is their Y. Their camera. Their story.

  • Superhero Training Academy: Every Kid Has a Superhero Inside

    Noah was a shy, reserved 4-year-old when his teacher recommended he join the Y’s Superhero Training Academy to gain confidence. Now, Noah is armed with the superpowers of YMCA of Greater Nashua’s core values—caring, honesty, respect and responsibility—and he has the confidence to take on the world (but first, kindergarten)! This is his Y. His camera. His story.

  • Y Arts: There's Beauty and Creativity in Being Different

    Nonnie sees the beauty in everything, from abandoned buildings to insects. In YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit’s Arts program, this emerging artist channeled her creative energy into beautiful works of art—all while engaging with her community and finding a sense of belonging. This is her Y. Her camera. Her story.

The Y believes that young people deserve every opportunit

The Y believes that young people deserve every opportunity possible to learn, grow and thrive. By connecting kids to their potential, purpose and each other, the Y empowers kids and teens to shape the communities of tomorrow, today.

Find Your Y

Search for the Y closest to you and visit their website to learn how to get involved today.