YMCA is a unique national organisation in that it is firmly rooted in local communities. You are most likely to find your nearest YMCA in the heart of a deprived community, buzzing with young people and full of opportunities for potential to be realized.
Within a local community YMCA work can operate from a centre base or can reach out to young people and families on a wider community basis.
For example: Our successful Y SUNDAY project!
Center-based Youth Work
These centres will offer a wide range of community programmes particularly those that will engage young people in learning and development. They are places where everyone can find a warm welcome without judgement and where they will find opportunity to grow their confidence and build healthy relationships. Much of what goes on in these centres will seek to enable young people to achieve their greatest potential offering leadership opportunity and challenge in a variety of ways.
Some of the programmes you might find in a Scottish YMCA youth centre may include:
Music projects, recording studios, radio stations, music tuition, band practice
Just safe space for young people to hang out without being bothered. Space away from parents, from school, from employers, from bullies, from pressures.
Most YMCAs will organize a range of group-work programmes addressing any number of issues important to the young people. These can range from discussions about parents or school to leadership development that can enable a young person to progress to become a YMCA member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.
- Health & Well-Being:
Many YMCAs will operate programme seeking to support young people through the minefield of sexual health and adolescent development. These programmes may include a physical activity and obesity focus, they may provide a range of youth clinics with doctors and nurses, address smoking cessation or attitudes to alcohol or simply come together to think about teenagers and sex.
Street-based youth work
Last year YMCA delivered over 21,000 sessions where our youth workers and volunteer teams engaged with young people on the streets of towns and cities across Scotland. Many young people choose to spend their time on the streets free from the authority and demands of parents and siblings. They are often portrayed as “hanging around street corners and dressed in hoodies” but the vast majority of these young people are simply finding a space to be.
YMCA streetwork often works with other partner agencies and seeks to achieve some of the following goals:
- To engage and build relationship with the young people respecting their space and choices
- To avoid any outcome to move them off the street or fit them into a programme
- To support healthy relationships within the community, with the elderly, with police and other partners and between different groups of young people
- To understand the needs of the young people and to provide them with the means to manage those needs
- To help the young people to find and take advantage of opportunities available to them for their own learning and development
Visit your local YMCA to find out what they provide…you will always find a place for you whether just to hang out or to volunteer!