Youth Leadership | Barrie YMCA | YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

Defining Leadership: Youth Leadership Development at MyY Barrie

June 30th, 2014 by wptest

In March, MyY Barrie Youth Leadership participants had the opportunity to travel to the Okanagan YMCA in British Columbia.

By: Jen Bercier, Mentor, Barrie YMCA Youth Leadership program

Across Canada and in many parts of the world, YMCAs offer Youth Leadership programs.  As an organization that started out as a charity for young people, inspiring youth to reach their full potential is the YMCA’s overarching vision and it drives everything we do.

The definition of leadership is defined as “the action of leading a group of people, or an organization.” Unfortunately, this definition doesn’t really describe the process, or how to build these skills in young people. This is the challenge we are faced with not only at the YMCA, but within ourselves, and in our communities.

Youth Leadership Programs & Training  | Barrie YMCA

At MyY Barrie, we work with very diverse and dynamic groups of youth.  Each week we see about 300 youth in our centre.  Some participate in fitness activities; some come for a safe and fun place to connect with friends; some volunteer their time or even work for us; and some take part in our Youth Leadership programs.  Whatever their reason for being here, we want to seize this opportunity to be a positive influence and to inspire our youth to become strong leaders.

The trick is, there is no magic formula, no curriculum, or no step-by-step instructions to follow.  Each one of our participants has their own unique personality, life experiences, goals, and challenges — and in turn, needs a different “program” to succeed.

Here at My Y Barrie, we combine all that the YMCA has to offer.  On any given day we are volunteering or fundraising, playing games or working out together, improving social skills and self-confidence, taking steps to prepare for employment, and giving youth a chance to voice their concerns and make a difference. We aim to instill healthy habits and YMCA values.

YMCA Canada’s National Exchange Program

Recently, MyY was selected for one of YMCA Canada’s National Exchange programs.  In March, youth leadership participants had the opportunity to travel to the Okanagan YMCA in British Columbia.  We visited two of their YMCA locations, lived at Silver Lake Camp, and explored the city of Kelowna including a University campus, a Sikh temple, and a logging mill, and had a chance to give back to a local organization. Participants crossed suspension bridges and skied on the Rocky Mountains!

Excursions like these are life-changing. They give everyone the chance to put the youth leaders program on fast-forward!  Being away from the comforts of home, family and everything that is familiar, participants learn a lot about themselves and about their futures.  They discover the possibilities that await!

Want to get more involved or make an investment in a young person’s future?  Please enquire about Youth Programs at your local YMCA.

2 Responses to “Defining Leadership: Youth Leadership Development at MyY Barrie”

  1. August 24, 2017 at 1:58 pm, Tina said:

    Would I be able to get some information on your youth leadership program – looking to add to / collaborate with our local YMCA and would like some background info to go to them with.


    • September 01, 2017 at 11:52 am, YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka said:

      Hi Tina,

      Naomi Murray would be able to provide you with answers to any questions you might have about our Youth Leadership Program. She can be reached via email at or by phone at 705-526-7828 ext. 212.

      Hope that helps!


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