Teen Initiatives

It can be hard to figure out your place in the world. 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. Whether teens come to the Y looking to explore their interests, or for support in navigating challenges, the Y is committed to nurturing teens and roots for their success.


YMCA Youth & Government is a national program 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 practice democracy.

Teens from across every state meet in their local YAG clubs and statewide events throughout the year to discuss and debate issues that affect citizens, through proposed legislation, participation in mock trials or journalistic reporting.

Throughout the year, we provide opportunities for regional training, club officer training and recruitment. All students will attend a District Conference in their region to qualify for State Conference. The program culminates with teen serving as delegates at the State Conference, debating bills on the floor of the legislature, arguing cases before state courts and creating various media publications.

Purpose & Goals
To create an environment in which students can increase their political awareness and understanding, while learning the meaning of social action through experience.

To enhance the development of the American democratic process by enabling young Americans to prepare for moral and political leadership by providing guidance, training and experience in the theory and practice of determining public policy.

We fulfill our purpose through our goals:

  • To provide leadership training to meet the needs of a democratic society.
  • To provide an understanding and awareness of modern government.
  • To provide opportunities for participation in the legislative, judicial and media processes.
  • To provide opportunities to become significantly involved in social issues.
  • To develop self-confidence and self-expression.
  • To provide opportunities to gain experience in political action.
  • To increase members ability to organize ideas clearly, concisely and persuasively, along with providing students experience in the art of delivering speeches and debate.
  • To enable students to learn accept defeat without discouragement.
  • To learn to be tolerant of others’ points of view.

Resources
Advisors
Students
Conferences

To get involved, volunteer or learn more about Youth & Government, contact Whitney Chandler.

Youth & Government is supported by generous contributions from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation and the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation.

Donate to Youth & Government

Learn. Grow. Serve.

YMCA Teen Leadership Council is a program designed for Oklahoma students that offers opportunities to develop leadership skills, build connections and with other teens and engage with ideas and activities that promote personal development.  

YMCA Teen Leadership Council Members will attend monthly meetings, develop a community enrichment project, attend a state-wide retreat and be presented with exciting opportunities to have fun at local social events or participate in OKC-area service projects like the Regional Food Bank or St. Luke’s Community Market. They will also learn about the value of the YMCA as non-profit organization and how to participate in a community campaign.  

Students entering 6th to 8th grade are eligible to apply for the YMCA Middle School Teen Councils, and students entering 9th and 10th grade are eligible to apply for the YMCA High School Teen Council. 

What Else Can I Expect?
  • Leadership Training
  • Learn the importance of social responsibility and service to others.
  • Build character.
  • Meetings throughout the school year.
  • Complete community service hours within your local Y and your community.
  • Socialize with like-minded teens.
  • Attend the Y Teen Leadership Council statewide retreat at YMCA Camp Classen.
2022 – 2023 Teen Council Meeting Schedule
  • Middle School Grades 6th-8th Mitch Park YMCA- First Tuesday of Every Month beginning with the first meeting Tuesday October 4th and ending with the last meeting on May 2nd
  • Middle School Grades 6th-8th Downtown YMCA- First Wednesday of Every Month beginning with the first meeting Wednesday October 5th and ending with the last meeting on May 3rd
  • High School Grades 9th-10th Downtown YMCA-Second Tuesday of Every Month beginning with the first meeting Tuesday October 11th and ending with the last meeting on May 9th

Apply Now

High School 9th and 10th Grade Teen Council link
Middle School Teen Council Application link

Questions? Contact Tyler Self at [email protected]



Y Achievers is a college readiness and career-exploration program designed to help underserved, first-generation college bound and minority teens to achieve higher education through experiences, exposure and empowerment. The program operates during the school year at the following Oklahoma City Public High Schools: Capitol Hill, Douglass, John Marshall, Northeast, Northwest Classen and Santa Fe South Charter.

Freshman College Readiness
In school mentoring program that pairs local business leaders with high school freshman mentees to help them build a successful path to higher education.

Sophomore Leadership Summit
High school sophomores engage in interactive session with local college students to learn about leadership, morals, ethics and values in order to become leaders and pursue their dreams of higher education.

Junior Career Exploration
One Saturday each month, local businesses host Y Achievers in their buildings/offices to show young people a variety of career opportunities. The tours provide hands on experiences to many careers and exposure to passionate business leaders, while broadening each students’ horizon to dream bigger and strive for great success.

Y Achiever Senior University 101
One Saturday each month, seniors meet to finalize all details that are necessary to enter college. A local expert helps the students with everything from college applications to scholarship essays to financial aid forms, resume writing and so much more.

For more information contact Whitney Chandler, Executive Director of Teen Initiatives.

Y-Corps is a service-learning program for students who want to make a difference in their communities and communities around the country. The program is comprised of a group of passionate young people from across the state who have been exposed to the wide range of cultures, strengths and needs that make up the Oklahoma Standard.

Through a combination of hard work, cultural experiences, travel, self-discovery and reflection, Y-Corps extends the Y’s mission into communities throughout Oklahoma and beyond.

2022 Summer Service Learning Trips
St. Louis – August 1-5, 2022 – Register Here
Who: Students in 7th-12th grade
Cost: $650 per person, includes t-shirt, travel, lodging, Cardinals vs. Cubs game, Gateway Arch, museum experiences, eight meals mission projects, service learning and fun!

2022 Y-Corps Summer Days
Join us for service-learning days designed with fun in mind! Sign up for a single day or for all seven Y-Corps Days.
See the full schedule and register today.

Questions? Contact Tyler Self at [email protected].