The Y is committed to nurturing teens and college students to help them grow strong roots for success. Building a strong foundation in leadership early in life encourages youth to take an active role in strengthening their communities as adults. Here are some highlighted initiatives designed to contribute to teen leadership:

Cultural enrichment for teens

The Achievers program helps students in grades 9-12 to focus on goal setting, exploring secondary and post-secondary options, and cultural enrichment. Practicing speaking English is also a focus for many students during meetings. Watch how the Y has been a welcoming place for Nastran and Soraya.

University Y

Located right on the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities campus, the University Y (UY) serves student leaders in their commitment to learn, grow and thrive. The UY is a space for students to gather together, build relationships and become leaders by serving as mentors and role models to youth in the community. See how the UY welcomed Kristen and gave her leadership opportunities.

Outdoor leadership

Kids ages 13-18 the opportunity to develop leadership skills through active participation outdoors, including trips to the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota through the .

Youth in Government

Since 1946, the YMCA Youth in Government program (YIG) has provided students with the opportunity to develop leadership skills and experience democracy in action through Model Assembly and Model United Nations.

Explore how YIG helps develop the next generation of leaders.

Youth employment opportunities

The Y plays a key role in reducing barriers to employment by providing youth with numerous job opportunities, without the prevailing social bias against experience or personal circumstances. As one of the largest youth employers in the metro, the Y partners with other local agencies like Step-Up, Hired and Emerge in order to make quality Y jobs available to a greater number of youth.