Change Starts with Y-Strong Girls Banner Photo

NEWS // February 5, 2019

Change Starts with Y-Strong Girls

YMCA of San Diego County

The YMCA of San Diego County offers a place for families to grow and be healthy together, for seniors to participate in engaging activities and for kids to become active members in their community.  In continual support of women and girls in San Diego and around the world and International Women’s Day in March, the YMCA is proud to offer another year of the Y-Strong Girls program for young girls. This program empowers young women ages 13 to 18 years old with opportunities to create healthy lives through movement, healthy choices and community involvement.

The Y-Strong Girls program is run by volunteers and includes field trips, mentoring opportunities and community service projects allowing participants to learn how to achieve their goals and build their social networks.

Edgar Vargas, Teen Director at Copley-Price Family YMCA says, “We have experienced that the girls in our program benefit greatly by becoming more confident, planning their long and short term goals and making new friends.”

When asked what participants will remember most about Y Strong Girls 10 years from now, one participant shares, “In ten years I will remember all the fears that I have conquered – for example, I am scared of heights, but I conquered my fear during the rock-climbing field trip.” The program has been held at Copley-Price Family YMCA for the last two years and has reached more than 50 girls. This year’s program grew to maximum capacity with 25 girls enrolled.

Today, women earn more than 60% of college degrees in the United States. With programs like Y-Strong Girls, young women can learn how to harness their own strength and build new skills to be the leaders of the future. One participant shared, “It’s an incredible program that teaches girls to use their own natural female strength and to stand up for themselves. We get to meet incredible women that show us that we too can accomplish anything we work hard for.” 

“It is important to continue to empower young girls to be the best they can be, and it’s even better to watch them achieve their goals,” said Alicia Branam, Associate Executive Director at the Copley-Price Family Y.

Empowered young girls create strong women, and with that comes a ripple effect of positivity in their own personal lives and in the community

The outcomes of the program are undoubtedly successful. Evaluation data shows that 100% of the program participants reported that the Y Strong Girls program helped them learn how to use their voice as a young woman to advocate for themselves and 89% of participants reported that their confidence has grown since joining the Y Strong Girls program.

The YMCA offers many programs for kids of all ages, from summer camps to sports teams and after school programs, as well as college prep and mentorship programs to help kids reach their fullest potential. It is with YMCA programs that kids gain the confidence they need to succeed. The Y-Strong Girls program is a chance for girls to learn from their peers and mentors, and to become active in helping their community for the better.

For more information about the Y-Strong Girls program, visit