- According to Pew Research Center, only 20 percent of today’s 16 to 17 year-olds hold a summer job, and that rate is even lower among teens of color.
- Statistics show that risky behaviors like violence, drinking and drug use increase during the summer when young people’s time is less structured.
- Participation rates in camps and similar programs have remained stagnant or fallen in recent years.
The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, will offer free summer memberships for thousands of teens across the Twin Cities. From June 1 to August 31, youth entering grades nine through 12 can access a free membership to 26 YMCA locations throughout the Twin Cities.
Teens need a safe place to go in their communities that is flexible, engaging and accessible to all. The YMCA is positioned to help bridge this gap in the Twin Cities and ensure that youth of all backgrounds and incomes have access to learning opportunities outside of school. The Y’s locations cut across city, county and school district boundaries. More than 80 percent of Twin Cities teens live within 15 minutes of a YMCA location that offers opportunities for wellness, sports, leadership programs, pathways to part-time jobs at the Y and more.
“The YMCA is thrilled to partner with the Schulze Family Foundation to provide a safe environment for young people to engage in programs that promote healthy living, build character and leadership, and support success in school and in life,” said Glen Gunderson, president and chief executive officer for the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. “The Y is committed to eliminating barriers to participation so all have the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive during the summer months. This program is possible because of the generous donation from the Schulze family.”
This year the YMCA will increase the number of youth served with up to 400 per location for a total of up to 10,400 youth. There will be more teen specific programming added including:
- health and wellbeing classes and youth specific fitness challenges using the Y app
- leadership and character development programs including Leaders Club, Achievers and Youth in Government
- job readiness workshops and courses designed to prepare youth for employment opportunities in their community and at the Y.
In addition, some teens do not have access to a nutritious meal during the summer. To meet the need, the program is also offering free meals at 12 Y locations including Blaisdell, Burnsville, Coon Rapids, East St. Paul, Hastings, Maplewood, Midway St. Paul, St. Paul Downtown, Southdale, Mounds View Community Center, New Hope and West St. Paul.
Learn about the benefits of the YMCA free summer memberships for teens – YMCA Get Summer Benefits Local Teens
Hear from youth sharing why the Get Summer program is important to them – Why YMCA Get Summer
Discover how the YMCA Get Summer program engages and enriches youth through a variety of programs – YMCA Get Summer
The Get Summer program is open to all students of all backgrounds and incomes. Youth entering grades nine through 12 can visit any participating Y location, or register online, by enrolling with a valid ID, class schedule or report card and the permission of an adult. Each participating location can accommodate up to 400 participants for over 10,000 teens in 2019. For more information, visit ymcamn.org/getsummer.
Because the Y is a leading nonprofit committed to helping all young people and their families thrive, financial assistance is available to those in need. To learn more about the Y’s programs, please visit ymcamn.org.