At the Y, teens can work on leadership skills, prep for college, play a sport, and give back through programs designed for them. We’re committed to empowering youth around New York City, and many of our teen programs are free for qualified participants.
Teen Center is a safe place where teens have the opportunity to engage in meaningful activities that allow them to develop socially, physically and academically. Teen Center offers a variety of programming free to New York City high school students.
Leadership & Civic Engagement
Age: Middle and High School Students
Teens Take the City is a dynamic leadership development program that offers NYC teens the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get involved in issues affecting them and their community. Teens engage in community mapping to figure out how to better their community, work in small groups to identify a law to address the issue, develop a policy proposal that is debated for other teens at City Hall, learn the history and function of NYC government and meet and interview a NYC official. Once students have developed a policy proposal, they will implement their initiatives in their community through youth-lead service learning activities. Talk about social responsibility at its best!
Age: Middle and High School Students
This nationally recognized core YMCA teen program provides participants with opportunities for leadership training, personal growth, service to others and social development. Teens meet on a weekly basis in small groups, working closely with their peers and adult advisor on skill and character building activities, as well as planning and organizing projects with an emphasis on educational success, community service and goal-setting.
Off-Site Teen Programs at the Julia Richman Educational Complex
The Vanderbilt YMCA offers many school-based programs for teens ages 14-18, with a focus on leadership development, college readiness and the arts. These programs are offered to all students who attend the Julia Richmond complex schools Monday through Friday during the school day and after school.
To support the needs of families and youth in NYC, the YMCA has developed the Y Scholars program to ensure that young people succeed in navigating their high school experiences. It is an opportunity for high school students to pursue success in high school and the college admissions process. Y Scholars is part career readiness, part college prep and totally fun. This program includes field trips, college tours and academic support.
Leaders Club is a teen program that occurs during and after school at the Julia Richmond campus. Exploring issues such as Self-Image, Community Service, Violence Prevention, Racism/ Sexism/Ageism, as well as College and Career Prep. This program provides young people with the opportunity to have a voice, feel empowered in the community and in their lives. Leaders Club focuses on skill building, character development, goal setting, service learning and networking.
Leaders Club is a fun, safe and creative place. Participants will also receive opportunities for academic assistance, scholarships, internships, college mentorships and job training. Midyear, the Leaders Club will visit a YMCA camp for a weekend rally with participants from NY and around the Northeast.
Swim & Sports
Start your teen’s fitness experience off on the right foot! Teen Fitness Orientation teaches teens gym etiquette, the proper use of equipment, and safe work out practices.
Art of Sparring
This program introduces teens to the basics of sparring in a safe no contact environment. Our experienced instructor focuses on high intensity cardio training while teaching teens basic defensive techniques. Teens are also taught the proper way to hit both heavy and speed punching bags. A huge portion of the program is built around bag punching.
Basketball, Soccer, and More!
Teens can learn to play a sport, develop make new friends, and become empowered in youth sports programs such as basketball, soccer and martial arts. Sports programs are not part of the Teen Center.
YMCA teen camps are designed to immerse campers in fun activities that keep them active, learning, and engaged during the summer months. Teen campers participate in hands-on programming geared towards building self-confidence as well as activities designed to engage teens in developing educational and career goals. Campers go on field trips, and participate in swimming, dancing, singing, sports and more!
Teens can participate in traditional sleepaway camps, adventure camps, and sports camps at YMCA Camp in Huguenot, New York, located 86 miles northwest of NYC between the Delaware Water Gap and the Catskill Mountains.