Youth Development

We believe the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks for life. Every year, the YMCA involves numerous children and teens in programs and activities that provide them with meaningful experiences. Because of the Y, more young people in neighborhoods around the nation are taking a greater interest in learning and making smarter life choices; exploring their unique talents and interests; and realizing their full potential.

Children
At the Y, nothing is more important than fostering children’s potential and helping them develop a healthy lifestyle. Programs like our Downtown PreschoolYMCA Camp Ocoee, Day Camp, after school care, Adventure Guides & Princesses teach children the importance of healthy eating and activity, as well as values like honesty and respect. 

YMCA Youth Sports not only plant a seed of healthy living, but also of teamwork and sportsmanship. 

Teens
Today's teens face a new set of challenges, and often forget their own potential. Model United Nations and BOLD/GOLD programs develop teens' leadership abilities. 

Middle school is a difficult time for many youth, leading to behavior issues and academic struggles. Students who find themselves in juvenile court for truancy and school suspension 

Adolescents
Middle school is a difficult time for many youth, leading to behavior issues and academic struggles. Students who find themselves in juvenile court for truancy and school suspension ususally have declining grades and poor attitudes. Y-CAP, YMCA Community Action Program, is designed for these youth. At Y-CAP, they will find mentors, tutoring, group and individual therapies, service learning, Bible study, and new hobbies like music, woodworking, gardening, boxing and other sports.

  • 100% of Y-CAP students have better school attendance. 
  • 98% of Y-CAP students have no more juvenile court offenses. 
  • 93% of Y-CAP students have improved their grades at least one letter grade, if not more.

This intervention program brings noted improvement in grades and in school attendance. At this time in their lives, they are facing a fork in the road. One path leads to juvenile delinquency and personal failure and the other to successful education and responsible citizenship.