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.

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. 

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 children. Not yet teens, but beginning to find trouble, some students become truant and find themselves in bad situations that lead to juvenile court. Y-CAP, YMCA Community Action Program, is designed for these kids. At Y-CAP kids find mentors they can relate to, tutoring, counseling, service learning, and new hobbies like boxing. In their time at Y-CAP, 93% of students improve their grades and 96% improve school attendance. Guiding these kids on the right track early in life helps Y-CAP participants to become better students and community members.