Youth Development

The Y nurtures the potential of every child and teen by supporting their unique youth  development journey through holistic programming. From cradle to career, the Y provides all youth with the tools and resources they need to succeed in life. Child care and early learning programs at the Y provide a safe and healthy place to learn foundational skills, develop healthy, trusting relationships and build self-reliance through the Y values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility.


Quality Out of School Time

In 2011, Y-USA made a commitment to become the nation’s healthiest childcare provider and help end the childhood obesity epidemic.   By adopting and implementing Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards, Ys across the country are committed to developing healthy habits in all the youth we serve.  The HEPA Standards can be viewed here

The SC Alliance of YMCAs has developed a partnership with the University of South Carolina and Policy to Practice in Youth Programs ( to further advance the HEPA work throughout the state.  Serving over 5000 children at over 100 afterschool programs each day, our Statewide HEPA Coordinator works closely with each YMCA Association to promote best practices to serve healthier foods and increase levels of physical activity.  In addition, Y’s have committed to prioritize staff training, evaluate policy changes, and complete weekly self-reports using HEPA Mobile (

To learn more about Quality Out-Of-School Time, CLICK HERE


Quality Afterschool and Summer Camp Programs 

We are FOR access to summer enrichment and education activities, programs that help combat the “learning loss” that many youth – especially low-income and minority youth – experience during the summer months when school is out and learning, for many, takes a vacation.  We promote and advocate for programs that will enable us to close the achievement gap and create a rich learning environment for all children.

The South Carolina Department of Education is responsible for implementing the components of the Read to Succeed Act.  Part of this legislation is the funding of summer reading camps which are partnerships between local school districts and local community organizations, such as the Y.  Please click here to read more about this partnership.

Please click here to download an infographic on the issue of summer learning loss and the success of the Ys achievement gap programs.


Healthy Eating Physical Activity Standardsboy-apple

The SC Alliance of YMCAs is committed to assisting the YMCAs in SC to work towards fully implementing the nationally recognized HEPA Standards to provide an out of school time environment supportive of providing healthy foods and snacks and opportunities for active play.  The YMCA, the University of South Carolina and the SC Afterschool Alliance have partnered together to implement a comprehensive pilot project which is readying South Carolina for statewide implementation of nationally recognized Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards (HEPA).

The national Healthy Out of School Time Coalition has set nationally recognized standards for out of school time providers to create an optimal environment for healthy eating and physical activity while children are in their care.  Currently there are 25 After School Providers working in partnership with the University of South Carolina to pilot recommended strategies to assist providers in achieving full compliance with the HEPA standards.

With additional funding received through NIH, in 2014 USC and the SC YMCAs will create regional Centers of Excellence who are fully compliant with the HEPA standards and will serve as regional centers for technical assistance to other local Out of School providers statewide.


Y Mentor