Teens Take the City is a civic engagement program focused specifically on NYC government and fostering policy development and presentation skills to build thoughtful, community leaders of tomorrow, today!

Participants embark on an eight-month adventure where they explore four fundamental areas of civic involvement in youth lead advisor supported curriculum. What's the Problem? What Can We Do? Let's Take Action! And Here's Our Answer! Through these areas teens have the chance to see how political decisions are made and learn how to become effective civic agents. Youth engage in community mapping and interviewing activities to derive how to better their communities. Young people work in small groups to identify draft and present policy proposals and resolution ideas. This provides youth with hands on experience, and exposure to how the democratic process impacts NYC communities.

Teens Take the City aims to educate participants about who runs their communities and how to become active participants in school and community life. Primary program activities include community mapping projects, educational workshops, and the preparation of a citywide presentation showcasing youth's research and findings. Through these activities, oral and written communication skills improve, leadership abilities strengthen, and solid resumes for college develop.

The program provides opportunities for young people to:

  • Share their Voice
  • Understand the New York City legislative system
  • Network with local politicians, professionals, and Leadership at NYC agencies
  • Hold a legislative session in New York City Council Chambers
  • Hold youth elected leadership positions
  • Pursue internship opportunities within City government
  • Make change in their community
  • Apply for YMCA College and Post-Secondary Scholarships.


Teens Take the City is available at no cost to participants, thanks to the generosity of our donors and community partners. Help us ensure the Y's vital community programs remain free and accessible to New Yorkers by making a gift to the Y Access Fund

YMCA Teen Camps

Keep your teen engaged and active all summer long at the YMCA.