Strengthening Communities Through Youth Engagement
December 28th, 2016 by Rob Armstrong
Many of today’s youth are faced with serious challenges – youth unemployment, low income, childhood obesity, and a lack of social belonging. By empowering our youth and providing them with the opportunity to participate in the community, we know they have the potential to make a better future for themselves and their communities. Through engaging our youth, communities can do a better job at creating the services, opportunities and support that young people need to develop in healthy ways.
Youth engagement is critical to youth development and healthy lifestyles. When youth actively contribute to their community they build confidence and gain a strong sense of pride but they also garner a sense of belonging and connection to their communities. That’s why the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is dedicated to providing our youth with empowering programs where they can learn valuable life and leadership skills, get the chance to meet new friends, build confidence and make memories that last a lifetime. With mentorship and encouragement, we can support our youth as they develop into role models and leaders in our community.
Helping Youth in our Communities
Over 3400 youth in Simcoe/Muskoka have participated in the YMCA’s Youth Leadership Development Program. Last year, the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka helped youth in our communities in the following ways:
- Helped 250 high school students in Simcoe County receive high school credits through YMCA leadership programs
- With youth unemployment in our community being 20.3%, the YMCA helped 431 youth gain meaningful employment in Simcoe County
- Helped youth launch 62 small businesses in Simcoe/Muskoka
- YMCA Youth Justice Program served approximately 150 youth who were on probation, helping to decrease the likelihood of re-offense
- With 6.9% of youth between the ages of 18-24 in Ontario having a gambling problem (twice the amount among adults), the YMCA Youth Gambling Awareness Program provided gambling education and prevention to over 1000 youth
Get Involved in Youth Leadership Programs!
The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka offers youth leadership programs, camps, volunteer opportunities, international travel and more to open doors for our youth and give them the opportunity to:
- Meet other youth in your community
- Build leadership, problem solving and communications skills
- Participate and get involved in your community
- Earn volunteer hours for school
- Travel to other countries
- Attend exciting camps and retreats
- Acquire training and certifications and more!
To learn more about youth engagement programs at the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, please visit http://ymcaofsimcoemuskoka.ca/ymca-youth-leadership-development/.