photo of teens and YMCA staffEducation & Leadership

At the Y, we believe that a successful future for children and teens begins with caring adults who make them feel loved, competent, happy and healthy. That’s why Y staff and volunteers are also mentors and role models, sharing a part of this very important responsibility of helping youth realize who they are and what they are capable of achieving.

We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential. By modeling the YMCA’s core values---Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility---we guide adolescents and teens through programs such as Leaders Club, Youth Leadership, Counselors in Training (CIT), Leaders in Training (LIT), and S.O.S. (Students of Success) Achievers which promote a genuine concern for others and encourage people to treat everyone like they would like to be treated.

Teen Leaders Club

The YMCA Leaders Club, for youth in grades 6-12, teaches teens leadership training and emphasizes the importance of social responsibility and service to others. With adult advisors, teens have role models and mentors who positively impact their lives as they grow in their desire and ability to be a positive force in the community.

Youth Leadership Program

The YMCA Youth Leadership Program (ages 12-18) helps today’s youth become a certified youth leader! This year-round program trains youth in leadership development and social action while engaging them through games, sports, camping and international exchange.

Counselor in Training (CIT) and Leader in Training (LIT) Teen Leadership Programs

Summer day camp and summer resident camp environments provide a unique opportunity for youth to build leadership skills, particularly in assisting counselors with younger campers. The goals of CIT and LIT programs are to teach the general skills of leadership that can be used at school, home and community (not just at summer camp.) For younger camp leaders (ages 13-15), the curriculum includes working with younger kids at camp, but can include community components like volunteering at senior centers or YMCAs.

Counselors-in-Training or "CITs" are the oldest campers who typically want to apply for a job at camp the next summer, maybe as a Jr. Counselor or some other supporting role. They need to learn more specific skills for working with kids and co-workers, and more experience planning and leading activities. Both programs give kids age-appropriate challenges that build their skills, confidence and capacity for working with people of all ages.

Want to know more? We want to know you! Inquire at the front desk of your local Y or at our resident camp, YMCA Camp Potawotami to learn more about these youth programs.

Integrative Arts Program

The YMCA’s year-round Integrative Arts Program provides opportunities for creative expression as part of some of our after school and pre-K programs and the Renaissance Pointe Y Summer Learning program, thereby enhancing the experiences of youth enrolled in any one of the programs at no extra charge. The Y collaborates with local artists and arts groups who teach lessons in creative arts disciplines such as music, dance, drumming, photography and creative writing.

S.O.S. Achievers

S.O.S. Achievers is a college prep program through the Renaissance Pointe Family YMCA. We aim to encourage students to act on their beliefs through the foundation of a college education. Our program provides student and parent workshops, college visits, volunteer and internship opportunities as well as job shadowing opportunities.

Though we do not directly fund college expenses, we teach students about the necessary resources to cover college costs. We do not compete with other college preparatory programs; instead, we support and work closely with them.

To find out how to be a part of this program, please call (260) 447-4567.

Hope for Youth

This new initiative by the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne is expanding on our programming for youth and teens to provide safe places and great role models helping young people find direction or get back on track.  The services we provide at the Youth Service Bureau (YSB) helps to keep youth out of the juvenile justice system and keep them attending school. YSB also runs a runaway prevention program called National Safe Place.  Services are expanding with the addition of a Youth Advocate to  give additional mentoring and coaching to young people.

In collaboration with Fort Wayne United the Renaissance Pointe YMCA is hosting a Late Night Basketball program to help young people with a positive place and connections to education resources, law enforcement, and employment. They come in for basketball but get a whole lot more from caring adults there to listen and support. 

The YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne has been steadily growing our services to teens.  These include the free 7th Grade Membership initiative, Teen Leaders Clubs, Middle School Afterschool Programs, cooking classes, music programs, and more.

The YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all. The YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne is a registered 501 (c)(3) organization, Tax ID # 35-0886850, and contributions are tax deductible.