Leading the charge

. February 1, 2013.

Looking for a positive outlet for your teen's after-school and weekend free time? The Ann Arbor YMCA's Leaders Club provides youth between the ages of 12 and 17 an opportunity for personal growth and leadership development that helps them employ their free time wisely, and enjoy themselves with their peers while they're at it.

Here's how it works: YMCA employees nominate teens for the Leaders Club yearly, based on responsibility, character and interest in the program. Participants must attend monthly meetings, which range from training in CPR and First Aid to workshops on completing job applications and being a good volunteer. Members also complete service through the YMCA, with many spending around 45 hours volunteering yearly. “We create volunteer opportunities that are one hundred percent about their interests and building their skills," says program leader Josh Humbel. Those opportunities include helping with classes, assisting in marketing, planning events and participating in a range of other activities.

The YMCA often selects Leaders Club members to take part in youth events, as well. Three of the group’s current 12 members will even attend the YMCA Europe Festival 2013 in Prague. Many members use such events, along with club activities, to develop a longstand- ing relationship with the YMCA. In fact, a handful of former Leaders Club members comprise the association’s staff today.

For more information about the YMCA Leaders Club, visit www.annarborymca.org/ leadership-development.php or contact Josh Humbel, YMCA youth and teen director and leader of the Leaders Club program at 734-661-8012, jhumbel@annarborymca.org.