Youth empowerment

For the best of you

We stand for young people. We always have and we always will.
We are committed to empowering them because we believe in the power of inspired young people.

We ​​care about helping them lead active and fulfilled roles within our community. We believe that young people are unique and diverse, and we seek to support and empower them. To us, an empowered young person feels in control of their life. They are confident in their ability to contribute to the world around them. They overcome challenges and realise their potential.

​Our goal is to see young people empowered across the world, and we work with a global movement of YMCAs to help provide opportunities for more of them to grow in confidence, resilience and be inspired to create social change.

How do we empower young people?

We provide:

  • ​Supportive, positive and safe spaces for young people to develop.
  • Places where their voices are heard and amplified.
  • Opportunities to develop their capacities, specific skills and discover what’s possible.
  • ​Positive role models.

​What impact do we make?

We work with thousands of young people every year, through our camps, youth services, and mentoring programs.

Our programs support young people by:

  • Advocating for, and with, young people on issues that affect them.
  • Modelling best practice with respect to “youth voice”.
  • Supporting young people to reach their potential, lead change, and be entrepreneurial.
  • Intergenerational leadership.
  • Mentoring – mutual mentoring opportunities
  • Promoting and facilitating volunteering by young people.
  • ​Promoting the physical well-being of young people.​​

Young people can go through a multitude of social, emotional, physical and intellectual changes as they grow up. For many, adolescence is an exciting time where they find themselves discovering their independence and identity. For others it can be a challenging period where they may be unsure of how to deal with or respond to certain issues. These may include: family conflict, housing, financial stress, mental health & wellbeing, engaging in education/work, disconnection from the community, problematic alcohol or drug use, and sexuality.

Raising sensitive issues and resolving problems that arise along the way can be challenging for our youth – and at times, parents, guardians and teachers may find it hard to tell the difference between ‘normal teenage behaviour​’ and ‘at-risk behaviour’. To ensure we are prepared when the latter presents itself, we do our best to ensure our front-line staff are properly trained in mental health first aid.

Youth Mentoring programs

Mentoring young people is part of the YMCA’s DNA. While much of it occurs naturally, we also operate a series of formal mentoring programs. A good example of this is the Y working with young Indigenous people in the Northern Territory experiencing disconnection from school and employment.

Our Youth Workers support young people to identify their personal goals and needs, so that they are empowered to lead their own lives. This may include assistance in finding work experience, employment or an apprenticeship, securing a driver’s licence or accreditation, providing in-school support and social/emotional support. The focus is on building the young person’s agency, capability, capacity and future focus. It is a strength-based approach to equality and empowerment.

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