Skip to main content
Group of girls participating in a YMCA BC program for youth

Many know the YMCA for our health, fitness, and aquatics programs. However, did you know that the YMCA is also a charity that provides many other services to support communities every day? 

Among our numerous programs and services, is our variety of YMCA BC programs for youth. These programs are designed to support the growth and development of youth and to help them succeed and thrive. They are available to all youth, regardless of their background, socio-economic status, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. And as a charity, our financial assistance program ensures that everyone can participate in our programs, regardless of their ability to pay.  

How YMCA Youth Programs Make an Impact 

Included in our list of youth programs are Youth Leadership Development, mental wellness programs like Y Mind Teen and Y Mind Youth, youth employment programs, Alternative Suspension, day camps and overnight camps, youth sports leagues, and much more. 

While each program has a different focus, the common threads that run between them include helping youth build confidence, developing leadership and life skills, and making meaningful connections.  

YMCA Youth Programs make a difference by empowering youth

One of the programs that our Y offers is Alternative Suspension. This program supports youth who have been suspended from school and helps to turn a stressful experience into a positive learning opportunity. “What I enjoyed most about my time at Alternative Suspension was the one-on-one support. The patience and understanding [from the facilitators] made it feel like a safe place to be open,” a former participant of the program shared. “After leaving the program I knew that I had to make some changes and that there was a time and place for everything. It changed my perspective of school by giving me a better understanding of how my actions affected not only myself but everyone around me.” 

Another program that has been well-received and very popular is Y Mind. These free mental wellness groups such as Y Mind Teen (for ages 13 to 18) and Y Mind Youth (for ages 18 to 30) have helped thousands of teens and young adults in BC learn how to manage anxiety and stress. One past Y Mind Youth participant shared his thoughts on how it made a difference in his life: “I still...use the tools that I learned from...the program. Once I got through each session and looked back on what I learned, I realized how much I moved forward.” 

Additionally, our youth employment programs have helped many young people develop job skills and find employment. One such program is Youth Breakthrough to Employment and Training (Y BEAT). The program helps people ages 18 to 30 who are experiencing mental health barriers to achieve their employment goals.  

One former participant of Y BEAT shared their experience with the program and how it made a difference: “I hoped to expand my knowledge and break through some comfort zones with guidance and assistance. Which I did, but the main thing I came to find almost immediately was a warm, welcoming community. A little family of squares on a screen, sharing a few similar steps in vastly different journeys in life. Some of which will be supports in my life, as well as me with theirs for a long time to come. There is a very unique bond I’ve gained with others who have very different struggles than mine yet have been some of the most supportive people I’ve met.” 

How You Can Make a Difference Too 

While the stories shared above are only a small snippet, we hope they illustrate the impact and importance of our youth programs.  

YMCA BC recognizes the challenges that youth in our communities face. That is why we are committed to creating safe, welcoming spaces where they can thrive and reach their full potential.  

As a charity, the YMCA relies on the generosity of our donors and program sponsors, as well as dedicated volunteers to make these programs a success. If you would like to learn about our charitable impact, visit the YMCA CommUNITY Campaign page on our website. If you would like to support BC youth, consider donating to the YMCA today or learn about the different ways to give. Lastly, if you’d like to volunteer with the Y, email us to learn about volunteer opportunities