“Youth Institute helps us become new, skilled people—people we are proud of." 

2018 Youth Institute Participant

This is just one of the many positive sentiments shared by teens in the Whatcom Family YMCA’s college-and career-readiness program, Youth Institute.

Having been established and operated successfully for 20 years at the YMCA of Greater Long Beach, CA, Youth Institute is now spreading across the country, including teens in our own Whatcom County community. Youth Institute will create a brighter future for underserved, culturally-diverse, high school youth- teens who need us most.

The goals of the Youth Institute are:

  1. To improve academic achievement and stimulate interest in post secondary education among youth.
  2. To improve the technology, career, leadership and decision-making skills of these youth to promote readiness for post secondary education or career entry after graduation.
  3. To promote bonding to prosocial adults and community attachment among urban youth to ensure that they remain engaged in their schools and communities.
  4. To develop social and emotional skills in youth through multiple group and individual learning experiences.



Youth involved in our After School Meetings are encouraged to join us for Summer Programming. The first week of programming involves a retreat where youth will participate in activities aimed to bond the group and encourage empathy, vulnerability, and courage.

For the remainder of the seven weeks, project-based learning approaches are employed to teach Digital Media Arts skills. Youth will work together to create films and a magazine, ultimately showcasing their work to the community at the end of the program. Those who stay engaged receive a $500 stipend at the end of the summer to go toward any upcoming school year needs.

Applications for Summer Youth Institute now available.


DATES: JUNE 27 - AUGUST 12, 2022



June 15 or June 21: Parent/Guardian AND Participant Orientation (required) 

June 27-July 1: Youth Institute begins with week long Wilderness Retreat

August 12: Last day of Youth Institute, Graduation & Film Showcase

Thank You to our generous sponsors



Thank You to our generous sponsors

Thank You to our generous sponsors

Thank You to our generous sponsors