Category: Youth Development

October 09, 2018
Halloween is so much fun because it’s not like other nights during the year. Here are a few tips to have fun and stay safe for parents and children: After dark kids need to be able to see and be seen while watching out for cars and other traffic. Using a light colored costume will allow your child to be seen much easier. Adding reflective tape to your child’s costume is… [...]
June 11, 2018
Over 100 years ago, while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon, Sonora Louis Smart Dodd wondered why there was no similar holiday for fathers. One of six children, Dodd’s father was a single father and she felt he and others deserved to be honored. After securing support from ministers in Spokane, Wash., her idea came to fruition with the first Father's Day celebration at the Spokane YMCA on June 19,… [...]
October 16, 2017
It takes a village (of volunteers!) YMCA Camp Wewa has a special opportunity upon us. On Saturday, October 21, 2017, our camp will be flooded with over 800 volunteers made up of Lockheed Martin employees, friends and family. Every year Lockheed Martin picks an organization to donate their time and resources to for their Day of Caring event. This year YMCA Camp Wewa will be the benefactor of this company-led… [...]
April 04, 2017
As the YMCA Teen Achievers Program continues to grow and thrive, a record-breaking 10 students received onsite admission during the Achievers’ 2017 Spring College Tour and eight received scholarship awards totaling $152,000. Now in its 27th year, Y Teen Achievers provides the extra mentoring and academic support that many youth need to make smart decisions and pursue their college and career dreams. The program’s annual college tours cap off a… [...]
March 10, 2017
As YMCA Teen Achievers kick off their annual college tour, the program has received a $75,000 grant from the Orlando Magic Youth Fund (OMYF), a McCormick Foundation Fund, in support of college and career readiness among at-risk teens. The grant will be used to expand YMCA Teen Achiever programs for students who live in Orlando’s Holden Heights neighborhood and attend Jones High School or Memorial Middle School. The OMYF has generously… [...]
November 03, 2016
At the YMCA, we believe all kids have big potential. That’s why we offer so many Youth Development programs that nurture young minds, strengthen growing bodies and inspire big dreams. Through the Y, kids find a place to call their own. A place where they hear, “you can do it, I believe in you,” every single day. A place where they can be kids, and where they can grow into… [...]
October 14, 2016
Most people know the Y as a place where kids learn how to swim, shoot hoops and become better athletes. But at today’s Y, kids are just as likely to have a reading coach as a soccer coach. And when we celebrate home runs, we know the biggest victories often take place in the classroom. From infancy through college, the Y of Central Florida is helping kids enter school ready… [...]
October 09, 2016
January 2018 Our vision is to provide a high-quality, safe, and stimulating environment for your children. In order to meet that vision, and to help us grow, we need your involvement and feedback. We take your concerns very seriously and make every effort to address issues within our Centers. In order to assist with this, we have outlined a process and provided contact information for parents to share concerns or… [...]
July 20, 2016
When it comes to giving youth the brightest possible future, few things are more important than a good education. But schools can’t do it all. And many families simply lack the resources to fully prepare their children and teens for the future. That’s where the Y comes in. With a strong portfolio of out-of-school-time programs, we're moving the needle on: Kindergarten Readiness Elementary and Middle School Reading Scores Summer Achievement STEM… [...]
April 01, 2016
With pools, lakes and beaches all around us, drowning is a leading cause of death among Florida kids, ages 1 - 14.   To help kids stay safe in and around the water this summer, the YMCA of Central Florida is offering 10,000 complimentary swim lessons to children ages 4 to 12 during our Safety Around Water event, April 25-28.  Introductory lessons will be provided by certified Y swim instructors,… [...]
March 10, 2016
Healthy emotional development is critical in the first five years of a child’s life. Everyday social interaction with parents, caregivers and others provides the foundation for all areas of a child’s brain development. It’s also the gateway for encouraging children to develop the self-control, focus and confidence they’ll need to be successful in school and beyond. At the YMCA Child Development Centers at Walt Disney World Resort, we pride ourselves… [...]
February 23, 2016
Despite mounting pressure to start formal education sooner than ever, research shows that our youngest children benefit most from a fun, active learning environment that encourages them to explore the world around them. This "Learning Through Play" philosophy best describes the Y's approach to early childhood learning at our YMCA Child Development Centers at Lake Buena Vista and Sherberth. In fact, what looks like play is actually disguised learning as… [...]
January 25, 2016
At a time when local kids and families need more support than ever, the YMCA has expanded its innovative after-school learning programs to three additional counties across Central Florida. Modeled after the longstanding success of the YMCA After School Zone program, the new programs are providing after-school safety, learning and wellness for an additional 1,000 middle school students throughout Brevard, Lake and Osceola counties. That’s in addition to 3,200 children… [...]
January 20, 2016
Two top experts in the fields of education and child development recently joined our YMCA Family Centers at Walt Disney World® Resort. Dr. Kinyata McGee-Swope, who holds advanced degrees in education, is the new Executive Director of the Y’s Sherberth location. And Mary Anderson, 25-year YMCA early learning professional, has assumed leadership of the Lake Buena Vista location. Mary replaces Nicci Bucher who has been elevated to the Y’s new District… [...]
January 19, 2016
From the time they're born, children learn all the time and everywhere they go. In fact, research tells us that kids' most important learning takes place before age 5. That's why the YMCA Early Learning Centers at Walt Disney World Resort give kids a jump start on school through innovative, accredited Voluntary Pre-kindergarten (VPK) programs. With a solid focus on pre-reading, pre-math and social skills, 98% of kids who complete the… [...]
January 19, 2016
A new study by the Pew Research Center tells us something that working parents everywhere already know: Today's families are stressed, tired, rushed and finding it harder than ever to achieve a proper work-life balance. And while nearly 60% of all kids now grow up in homes where one or both parents work, public and private programs to help families cope still lag far behind. According to the New York… [...]
December 09, 2015
75,453 KIDS SMARTER, STRONGER AND HEALTHIER IN 2015!  THE Y'S CRADLE TO COLLEGE FOCUS: Learning is a lifelong continuum that starts at birth and never ends. At the Y, we’ve developed evidence-based programs and curriculums that support children’s learning at every stage of development. From our Disney early learning centers and After School Zone Program to summer reading pilots and teen leadership activities, the Y partners with parents, teachers and… [...]
November 18, 2015
As a mission driven organization dedicated to Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility, the YMCA of Central Florida is committed to providing convenient, high-quality child care to help Disney Cast Member families stay strong ─ and raise the next generation of Disney Dreamers and Doers! From the first day your child joins us, the Y focuses on helping them reach their fullest healthiest potential ─ one lesson, one active… [...]
July 22, 2015
As part of a mission-driven commitment to youth and Christian values, the Y of Central Florida recently sent 80 promising teens to the YMCA’s Christian Values Conference in North Carolina. Set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the week-long conference gives kids a chance to deepen their faith, develop positive values, and network with peers to create a better world. During the conference, we also proudly honored Tracy… [...]
July 22, 2015
With summer winding down, the Y is here this fall to help every member of the family – starting with kids – to get back to a healthier, more active routine. Flag football, soccer and other YMCA youth sports are a great way to engage the entire family – as players, volunteer coaches, sideline cheerleaders, or as part of a larger focus on family fitness.  We’re also here to provide quality… [...]
July 21, 2015
It continues to be a big, busy summer of fun, discovery and learning for more than 24,000 kids who are taking part in YMCA Summer Camp, Summer Learning and Teen Leadership programs. By blending learning with fun -- along with a curriculum focused on values, reading, wellness and strengthening families -- YMCA campers are on track to enjoy 8 million minutes of reading time this summer. Sound like homework? Not at the… [...]
July 19, 2015
As parents, we know that raising healthy, happy kids is probably the hardest, yet most rewarding job we’ll ever do. Unfortunately, finding quality, affordable child care – the kind that nurtures and cherishes our children the way we do – is often our second biggest challenge. At the Y, we understand this. It’s why we’ve been partnering with Walt Disney World for more than a decade to provide cast member… [...]
March 30, 2015
With nearly 1-in-3 Florida kids overweight or obese – and a majority reading below grade level, the Y’s Healthy Kids Day is a great way for families to get up, get active and start developing healthier routines at home. Scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at each of our 27 Y family centers, the event is being co-sponsored by our great partner, Orlando Health.… [...]
March 27, 2015
Today, according to The American Heart Association website, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. In addition, obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression. And excess weight at young ages has been linked to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood. Furthermore, when the school year ends, the physical and educational health of… [...]
March 10, 2015
Check out the Dr. P. Phillips YMCA Summer 2015 Program Guide to get information on classes (descriptions and times), programs, volunteer opportunities, Child Development Center policies, Healthy Living initiatives, our Blueprint for a Healthy Community (Mission Expansion) and more ... Just click on the image below and check out your one-stop resource for everything you need to know about your membership, programs, services and benefits associated with the Dr. P. Phillips YMCA. [...]
March 02, 2015
Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in Florida among children ages 1-14. At the Y, we know that learning to swim is a lesson of a lifetime and in Florida, all people need to live safely around water. For more than 100 years, we have been empowering youth with the water safety skills they need to be safe in and around water – and most importantly, we have fun too!… [...]
September 03, 2014
From reading great books and sailing in the Keys to racing rockets and exploring careers, more than 23,900 kids enjoyed a jam-packed summer of fun, growth and learning at the Y. Families were involved, too, through Fun Friday activities, Reader’s Theater performances, athletic events, swim lessons, field trips and family fitness challenges – not to mention livelier dinner conversations as kids shared their daily adventures. With so much going on,… [...]
September 02, 2014
Drowning is the No. 1 killer of children under age 5 in Florida. It only takes a few minutes for a child to drown or sustain serious, life-altering injuries. Children, as young as 6 months of age, can learn to save themselves in a drowning situation by using the self-rescue techniques taught in the YMCA of Central Florida’s Safe Start program. Unlike other swimming programs, Safe Start combines safe swimming… [...]
August 12, 2014
To make the college application process less daunting for teens and families, the Y of Central Florida and Heart of Florida United Way have teamed up to launch the “Going to College” texting program. Based on a model from the Florida College Access Network, the program aims to increase college enrollment by providing guidance and information during the application process. By simply texting a pre-assigned code, students receive timely reminders… [...]
June 06, 2014
As part of the Y’s century-long commitment to keeping kids safe, confident and secure around water, more than 350 Fern Creek Elementary students recently participated in free swim lessons at Cady Way Pool in Winter Park. Provided through a partnership between the Downtown and Winter Park YMCA Family Centers, Fern Creek Elementary School and Fern Creek Boosters, the lessons are part of a combined effort to reduce childhood drowning. “In… [...]
June 03, 2014
Everyone likes to think of summer as an idyllic, carefree time when kids enjoy enriching family trips to museums, read great books and get plenty of active, outdoor play. But for far too many kids, summer has become a time of learning loss, weight gain and endless hours of unsupervised TV or computer time. According to the National Summer Learning Association, it’s a problem we as a community and nation… [...]
April 24, 2014
Join us on Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at your neighborhood Y Family Center for Healthy Kids Day!  This FREE community event is a great way for families to get up, get active and start developing healthier routines at home. To learn more, click here: VIDEO: Healthy Kids Day April 26, 2014 Healthy Kids Day Activities will include games, contests, health screenings, family Zumba and yoga classes,… [...]
January 02, 2014
Through our focus on Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility, the Y provides the complete “wrap-around” support today’s kids need to reach their full potential. And we do it through academically based programs focused on values, reading, wellness and reducing family stress.     From infancy through college, we are helping children enter school ready to learn, close the achievement gap and graduate on time. To prevent bullying and school violence, we’re instilling values. And… [...]
November 18, 2013
The YMCA of Central Florida was front and center during this week’s National Conference on Summer Learning attended by 680 education leaders and experts from around the U.S.   [caption id="attachment_27815" align="alignright" width="199"] Daniel Wu, YMCA Summer Camp Kid[/caption] Wowing the crowd were 33 students from Conway Middle, 14 robotic students from Avalon Middle, and numerous students from 14 other schools who proudly presented some of the robotic, rocketry, science,… [...]
November 05, 2013
It took teamwork, planning and partnerships, but the results of our two YMCA summer learning pilots are in and the outcomes are incredible. At McCoy Elementary, where we co-sponsored the YMCA/BELL summer learning pilot, 111 young “scholars” collectively improved their math achievement by 6.6 months and boosted reading scores by 5.8 months.  That’s half a year of learning in just six weeks! Our local pilot was one of three that… [...]
October 02, 2013
Y of Central Florida :: Youth Development     YMCA BRINGS LOCAL LEADERS TOGETHER TO IMPROVE COLLABORATION AND STUDENT OUTCOMES With our children’s future at stake, more than 70 local education leaders recently attended a YMCA Youth Development event to discuss how we could work together to improve student success. During a luncheon held at Leu Gardens, Dr. Jesus Jara, Deputy Superintendent, Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) discussed the district’s… [...]
October 01, 2013
With one-third of Florida’s kids obese or overweight, the Y of Central Florida is tackling the issue by including at least one hour of physical activity in all of our Youth Development programs.   This summer alone, 23,000 kids who attended our summer camp programs took part in 9.6 million minutes of exercise.   And to keep their brains active, they enjoyed 8 million minutes of reading activities. That’s in… [...]
August 07, 2013
To ensure that all kids have opportunities to progress – not regress – with learning over the summer, the Y has teamed up with two national partners to provide innovative summer reading pilots at two local Title 1 schools. Through a partnership with BELL (Building Educated Leaders for LIFE) 117 students at McCoy Elementary have received 6.5 hours per day of reading, math and science and enrichment activities. Designed to… [...]
August 07, 2013
by Jim Ferber Most people know the Y as a safe, nurturing place where kids learn to swim, shoot hoops and become better athletes. But at today’s Y, kids are just as likely to have a reading coach as a soccer coach. And when we celebrate home runs, we know the biggest victories are often taking place in the classroom.   That’s because the Y of Central Florida has adopted… [...]
August 07, 2013
YMCA Early Childhood Development Centers Operated at Walt Disney World Resort, these two centers give children, birth to age three, the consistent, nurturing care they need for the best possible social and cognitive development.Y teachers guide children through important early developmental stages. They also provide the consistent, positive relationships which children need to develop trust in themselves and others.   YMCA Elementary and Middle Afterschool Programs In partnership with Orange… [...]
August 07, 2013
Eighteen months ago, the Y of Central Florida set out to revamp our summer camp program and make it even more effective in addressing the challenges facing today’s kids and families. In doing so, we talked to parents, teachers and educational leaders whose insight helped shape our new curriculum – one based on values, reading, wellness and strengthening families.   When we launched the program in June, we knew we… [...]
April 18, 2013
The Y’s Teen Achievers and Middle School Achievers groups recently completed their spring college bus tours, with nearly 150 kids participating. It was the first year for the middle-school group, which enjoyed a one-day visit to UCF, Valencia Community College and Rollins College. Over the course of their four-day excursion, the high-school Achievers toured Alabama A&M University, Tuskegee University, Fisk, Meharry Medical College and other leading Southeastern universities. Many also… [...]
April 18, 2013
When it comes to kids, there’s school time, there’s family time and then there’s Y time – those “out-of-school” hours when parents are working and kids need a safe, nurturing place to learn, grow and thrive.   That’s especially true over summer vacation, which is why our 22 Family Centers are gearing up to offer a variety of great “Y Time” programs and adventures for kids of all ages.  … [...]
April 18, 2013
One of the things that set the Y apart from many other local nonprofits is our promise to never turn people away due their inability to pay. It’s part of our mission and deep belief that for many local kids and families, the Y is simply their best, most direct connection to a better life.   It’s why we offer Y scholarships to more than 35,000 kids, families and seniors… [...]
February 20, 2013
We’ve all heard the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And while the idea is hardly new, it’s certainly gaining new attention as America looks to reform its healthcare, education and criminal justice systems.   Here at the Y, we’ve been at the forefront of prevention for decades. In fact, our organization is leading the way in preventing – and reversing – many complex… [...]
November 21, 2012
Evans Hubbard is our Champion of Youth. Each year, he supports a wide range of charitable programs and organizations like the YMCA dedicated to education, youth, community service, health and the arts. He has consistently supported the YMCA in our efforts to create a safe place for kids and families in undeserved communities at our Tangelo Park YCMA where his support provides kids a chance to build life skills in… [...]
November 21, 2012
Our youth sports program has many great physical and mental health benefits for kids that play. With the childhood obesity epidemic, youth sports are used as an amazing avenue for kids to get out and exercise while participating in a safe and fun environment. Along with the exercise, kids are also learning how to work as a team while building their self-confidence and self-worth. Parents and coaches also see social… [...]
November 12, 2012
Protect the Right to Play More children than ever are involved in scheduled, structured activities.  Children benefit greatly from unstructured play as well.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, free play helps children grow and develop toward important intellectual, emotional, and social milestones along their developmental journey towards becoming a healthy teen and adult.   Introduce Children to Nature A growing body of research is pointing to the fact… [...]
November 07, 2012
At the J. Douglas Williams YMCA every fall we bring families together with our youth basketball league.  Hundreds of  kids spend their Saturdays at the Y learning new skills and team work.  Our coaches instill powerful values and leadership in our basketball players, which prepares them for future life experiences.   On the television.  In the movies.  In the songs you hear in the radio.  It seems as though everywhere you… [...]
July 07, 2012
Most adults remember their childhood summers as a time when kids and families were active and outdoors, spending time swimming, reading, hiking, and taking family vacations. Maybe they remember eating healthy fruits like watermelon and vegetables like corn-on-the-cob. But for most Americans this reality is far from this picture. As school doors close during the summer, many children face safety concerns, laziness, learning loss, risk for obesity, and food insecurity… [...]
April 10, 2012
More than 10,000 children – some as young as six months old – have learned life-saving techniques in the water over the past 10 years as part of Safe Start, the innovative water safety program launched by the YMCA of Central Florida with support from the Dr. Phillips Charities in 2002.   We invite you to celebrate the lives that have been changed. Join us at the 10th Anniversary of Safe… [...]
March 06, 2012
Y GOLF LEARNING CENTER GOLF EVENT We are passionate about nurturing the potential of every child in our community.  That’s why we are bringing the community together at the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge for our Tangelo Park Golf Tournament, March 9. This inaugural golf tournament provides the means for our education initiative in Tangelo Park to move forward. We are determined to offer the best programs and… [...]
February 15, 2012
Be part of something bigger - Bringing our community together to inspire our youth   Come together as we show Central Florida youth that math and science careers are great options to a building a better future. We’re advancing our cause to strengthen communities by creating new programs that promote youth development. When we are united, we can make a stronger impact on our youth.   The Y and its… [...]

Our 2010 Successes

June 27, 2011
We came together to celebrate our milestones and accomplishments in the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility at our Annual Meeting.  Last year, we opened our doors to the community more than six million times and more than 230,000 people were affected by our impact. One of our greatest accomplishments was continuing to expand our presence in the community by starting or completing construction of new Family… [...]

Community Investing

December 28, 2010
In 2010, the YMCA of Central Florida invested $4.2 million to support operations of 10 family centers in communities traditionally considered underserved. These Ys are South Orlando, South Lake, Wayne Densch, Tangelo Park, Osceola, Blanchard Park, Titusville, Suntree and the Teen Achievers Program in middle and high schools across six counties. You might be surprised how much you can do to make a difference right here in your community. Learn… [...]
December 28, 2010
The Y is dedicated to solving serious problems that we’re facing in our communities today. Like addressing childhood obesity and offering many proactive and health-minded solutions for our young members. Other strong and popular programs include preventing childhood drownings through a swimming initiative called “Safe Start.” This program is all about getting your kids in the swim of things with the very best instructors who will teach them the basics… [...]