YMCA Teen Summer Programs
At the YMCA, teenagers have opportunities to get involved, give back, and develop leadership skills that will help them in school, life, and their future. With two programs geared to middle school and high school students, the Y is where teens can discover their potential and become inspirations to others -- as young people, as community members, and as tomorrow’s leaders.
- LEADERS IN TRAINING: In Leaders in Training, pre-teens and teens, ages 11 to 15, meet for three-day sessions for nine consecutive weeks over the summer. On Tuesdays, they explore global problems facing society and how they, as leaders, can help solve them. Wednesdays are dedicated to fun yet challenging service projects. On Thursdays, teens end the week with a theme-related field trip.
- SUMMER OF SERVICE: In Summer of Service, teens ages 15 to 18 meet five days a week for six weeks. Geared to teens who are very interested in service, the program empowers them be involved in the planning process of in-depth projects to be performed during the four weeks. On weeks five and six, teens participate in Counselor in Training sessions.
What to expect
Leaders in Training and Summer of Service stand out from typical day camps. While they are fun and engaging, the programs challenge teens to work hard and put their all into serving others. Teens are called on to participate in discussions, work as a team, and fully engage in all service projects. Youth of all abilities who are willing to put in the time and effort are welcome!
How to get started
To join Leaders in Training or Summer of Service, teens and their parents or guardians must attend one group interview with YMCA staff and submit required paperwork.
During this interview, Y staff will introduce the programs, outline expectations, and lead discussions on leadership, service, and teamwork. The interviews give Y staff a chance to get to know teens and observe how they work in small groups.
Group interview dates are:
- May 8, 5 to 6 pm
- May 10, 5 to 6 pm
- May 13, 1 to 2pm
Returning teens may opt out of the group interview by writing a one-page letter addressing the following questions:
- Why do you want to continue to be part of Leaders in Training or Summer of Service?
- How have you been a leader or shown leadership skills or abilities?
- What personality traits will help you be successful during Leaders in Training or Summer of Service?
- How would your friends describe you?
Letters much be submitted to Rachel Sloan at the YMCA on or before May 15.
Leaders in Training
Weekly Themes and Field Trips
May 30-June 1: Week 1 - Global Problem: Water Water is a renewable resource, but the world’s supply of groundwater is steadily decreasing. This week’s project focuses on where we get our water, the impact of water on a local and global scale, and how people can help preserve and sustain this resource.
Field Trip: Cookout and swimming (Reservoir, beach, or pool to be determined)
June 6-8: Week 2 - Global Problem: Food Food can be a way to bring people together, support community, and learn about different cultures. But when we have food, we don’t always think about what it would be like to go without it. This week, teens will help in ways that make an impact for those who struggle to get a healthy meal.
Field Trip: Red Rocks Amphitheatre Loop
June 13-15: Week 3 - Global Problem: Education Access to quality education is a significant issue for young people worldwide. This week’s project will explore the role of education, the value of life-long learning, and the importance of school and teachers.
Field Trip: Denver Museum of Nature and Science
June 20-22: Week 4 - Global Problem: Health Healthy living is a focus at the YMCA. This week, teens will examine their own health, how to stay healthy, and how to educate and motivate others in the community to be healthy as well.
Field Trip: Denver Zoo
June 27-29: Week 5 - Global Problem: Environment A healthy environment is essential to everyone. This week teens will discover ways people and communities can support the resources and beauty of our environment. Again for the third year, teens will partner with the Aurora Mental Health Center to care for a community garden.
Field Trip: Denver Botanic Gardens
July 4-6: No Camp
July 11-13: Week 6 - Global Problem: Energy Energy is an important factor in our community. In this project, teens will explore different forms of energy and how we can improve the way we use it.
Field Trip: Boondocks Fun and Food
July 18-20: Week 7 Global Problem: Conflict It can be difficult to understand the conflict happening in the world. This week, teens will investigate the struggles taking place today and will give back to those addressing conflict by making care package for servicemen and women through Operation Gratitude.
Field Trip: Water World
July 25-27: Week 8 Global Problem: Shelter Many people struggle to find adequate shelter all over the world. Teens will address the differences in homelessness around the globe and work to understand how we can support those who have very little.
Field Trip: Denver Outlaws v. Chesapeake Bayhawks
Aug 1-3: Week 9 Global Problem: Waste There are many ways in which waste can affect our world. This week, teens will examine waste and explore how to make an impact in recycling, reducing, and re-using.
Field Trip: Elitch Gardens
Summer of Service
June 12-16: Week 1 Team - Building and Leadership This week will focus on developing leadership skills and the ability to work with others. Teens will take part in projects planned by YMCA staff and discuss plans for the upcoming weeks.
June 19-23: Week 2 - Water Issues Teens will examine water issues throughout Colorado and work with organizations that support water conservation and water safety throughout the metro area.
June 26-30: Week 3 - Health and Environment Through the exploration of healthy living and environmental concerns, teens will help lead urban renewal projects, such as the Aurora Mental Health Center community garden.
July 3-7: No camp
July 10-14: Week 4 Choice Service Week This week, teens will use their previous experience and work together to create and carry out a unique project based on their interests.
July 17-28: Weeks 5 & 6 Counselor in Training In the first week of this two-week session, teens will take part in conflict-resolution training, obtain CPR and First Aid certification, learn skills in working with young children, and plan activities. The second week, teens will work closely with young campers by leading activities and supporting YMCA staff.