Kentucky’s YMCA Youth Association, or Y-Club, “develops engaged citizens and servant leaders, inspired to affect change in their school, community, Commonwealth, nation, and world. Through experiential learning, service, and community activism, the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association fosters critical thinking, leadership, and social responsibility in teens.”1
So, what does that actually mean?
Well, a little bit of history might be helpful. The first service-based Student Y activities were started in 1912, and there are now over 150 active Y-Clubs in the state. The one at West was formed in 2012 by current senior Abbey Bowe, who has been involved with Student Y activities since sixth grade. The club has progressed from six upperclassmen members during its year of formation, to over 30 members, representing all four grade levels, this year.
Abbey Bowe remains president, and she is joined by Bradley Phelps (vice president), Fabian Leon (treasurer), Shannon Anderson (secretary), and Cody Emberton (service chair) in leading the group under the supervision of advisor James Cabrera, who could possibly be your social studies teacher.
The Y-Club is largely a service organization, planning at least one club service project a month, as well as preparing and encouraging members to engage themselves in the community on their own.
How is this done? A major part of Y-Club is the debate-focused conferences, the Kentucky Youth Assembly (KYA) and the Kentucky United Nations Conference (KUNA), which expose participants to social, political, and economic issues facing not only our state, but our world. Participants are given the opportunity to write, present, and debate bills in front of their peers, which gives them insight as to why they hold the beliefs that they do, as well as exposes them to better ways to solve the issues that our society faces.
Knowledge of societal issues tends to lead to movements to fix them, which is the end goal of many types of community service and the Y-Club.
The Y-Club isn’t completely work-focused though; West’s members are currently planning a backpacking trip to Red River Gorge. They also sell baked goods and walking tacos at school sporting events.
All in all, West’s Y-Club will probably become more noticeable throughout the school year, as it grows both in size and influence, the members “inspired to affect change in their school.”