Youth Development at the CLC YMCA
Youth Development is a focus here at the CLC YMCA, but what does it mean? It means we intentionally think of how a program we offer will impact the children taking the class. It means we think of how we can use the program, whether it is basketball, gymnastics, or our Thrive at the Y After School program to teach the Y’s core values. At the CLC YMCA we have four core values: respect, responsibility, caring and honesty.
In our programs, we try to “catch” children showing these traits. So, if your child is part of our soccer program, not only will they be learning the rules and skills of the game, but they will learn how these values incorporate into soccer. For example, to practice respect we reinforce that the children use active listening skills and thank their coach after their practices and games. Parents can help teach their children responsibility during sports by having their children come prepared with the proper equipment and a water bottle. Having children store their sports equipment is a great way to practice this responsibility piece too. At the Y we teach the children to care for their teammates. If we see a teammate fall, we model behaviors to check on them and help them up. If we see a teammate who is unhappy, we check on them. Honesty is our last value. Our coaches teach the children it is more important to be honest when we compete, than to win.
By teaching these values in all our programs, we hope that children see the importance of these values and grow up to practice these values in their everyday life.
Author Sally Farrell, Lead Pre-K Teacher & Child Care Director