As a young person with your whole life ahead of you, having the right guidance and support can make a real difference in figuring out who you are and what you can achieve. 

Teen Leadership programs are a hallmark of the YMCA. We work every day to help children and teens set and achieve their personal and educational goals. As a result, they gain confidence in recognizing the Y as a place where they belong and can feel comfortable exploring new interests and passions. Through our leadership and academic enrichment programs such as Mentoring, Youth in Government, and Model United Nations, the Y makes sure that every child has an opportunity to envision and pursue a positive future, and take an active role in strengthening his or her future.

Teacher with Students

Youth and Government™

Youth and Government™ is a national program of the Y that involves thousands of teens nationwide in state-organized, model-government programs. Students from every corner of the U.S. have the opportunity to immerse themselves in experiential civic engagement and to, quite literally, practice democracy.

Teens from across every state meet in their local Youth and Government™ groups throughout the year, to discuss and debate issues that affect citizens of their state and to propose legislation. The program culminates with teens serving as delegates at their state conference, debating bills on the floor of the legislature.
Youth and Government Group

Model UN

In our Model United Nations program (MUN), middle school students learn about current affairs, politics, economics and diplomacy through weekly meetings. The MUN program is part of our California Y Youth & Government program, which began in 2001 and is the largest in the nation.

If you have a child who’s interested in the political process and wants to learn more about international relations, diplomacy, and critical thinking, our MUN program is an ideal extracurricular activity for them.
Leader in Training

Leaders in Training

The Y's Leader in Training (LIT) program is an excellent opportunity for teens to get hands-on job experience and responsibilities, while still under the supervision of our camp staff team. In this training, your teen will be part of developing the idea of what a leader does and how a leader acts. There will be specific training on camp leadership skills, working with 5-12 year olds, camp songs, games, and crafts.

All participants will get CPR and First AID Certified and all hours completed within our LIT program can be recorded as community service hours.
Teen Lifeguard

Summer Jobs

Imagine going to work knowing that what you do each day positively affects the lives of the people in your community. Working at the Y, you'll discover more than a job - you’ll enjoy a career with a future and the opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of those around you.

In more than 10,000 communities nationwide, our staff members of all ages and from diverse backgrounds and life experiences enjoy the personal satisfaction that comes from nurturing the potential of youth and teens, improving the nation's health and well-being and providing support to our neighbors.
Full STEAM Ahead

Full STEAM Ahead

Our Full STEAM Ahead summer program offered at Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto Family YMCA develops skills necessary for students to thrive now and in the future. This interactive learning environment exposes youth to a variety of STEAM experiences, including hands-on technology and arts/music, and culinary arts. The experience improves technology, critical thinking, and decision making skills, preparing youth for post-secondary education or career entry all while developing cultural awareness and cultural tolerance.


Give your child the tools to succeed. Quality time with a Mentor can improve your child’s academic performance, self-esteem, resilience, decision-making skills and relationships with peers and family. Youth ages 6-17 are eligible to participate in this free program.