At YMCA dance programs, students learn through movement, encouraging freedom of expression, self-confidence, poise through performance, and the love of dance. Children will thrive as a dancer and grow as an individual. In addition to helping them be more graceful, YMCA dance programs promote discipline, respect, and responsibility. Classes, including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and Irish dance are offered for a wide range of ages and they include opportunities for parent participation, dress up, rhythmic movement, and more.

The club meets during the school year: September-April with celebrations in May and informational meetings in August. In addition to their meetings, where they plan activities that they host, work on leadership skills, and have a fitness component, they also spend their time raising money for their week-long Leadership School at Blue Ridge Leaders School in June, as well as, sharing stories to raise money for our Annual Campaign. Activities that they host and/or attend: Parent’s Night Out, Fall Festival, Healthy Kids Day, Senior Sock Hop, different benefit walks around Greater Cincinnati, Rallies with other Leader Clubs. They also have opportunities to volunteer around the Y at the Welcome Center, office work, Swim Lessons, Youth Sports, Kids’ Club, our 21st Century Sites reading, and more.

For more information about the programs, call M.E. Lyons YMCA at (513) 474-1400 or R.C. Durr YMCA at (859) 534-5700.

Be a mentor and change two lives. The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati is dedicated to helping children and teens achieve their goals. The Y’s Reach and Rise one-to-one mentoring program serves youth between the ages of 6 and 18 to ensure that every child has an opportunity to envision and pursue a positive future, and to take an active role in strengthening his or her community. The mentors and mentees meet once a week for an hour to explore decision making and career options, and set goals to help youth achieve their dreams.They must participate in two community service projects together.Parents and/or guardians are also included in the mentoring process.

Mentors are always needed for the program.  They must be at least 23-years-old, willing to accept the challenges and rewards of mentoring a young person, and be able to commit one hour a week for one year. Mentors receive comprehensive training, and mentoring coordinators are available to help plan activities, and provide resources, games, and materials for mentors and youth.

A complimentary YMCA of Greater Cincinnati membership will be provided to mentors and mentees in the Reach and Rise program.  For more information about the program, or to serve as a mentor email

Youth in Government educates local high school students about systems of government, engages them in civic and political processes, and instills an interest in public service. Aligned with the new Ohio Learning Standards for American Government, the program provides opportunities for students to discuss community issues with local administrators, elected officials, and students from diverse backgrounds. The program encourages the next generation of leaders to positively participate in the political process and engage in community service. Students develop a sense of citizenship and learn to implement their ideas so they can make a positive impact in their community.


  • Stimulate an interest in and understanding of political processes and systems of government
  • Develop self-confidence and self-expression while fostering tolerance and understanding of diverse viewpoints
  • Provide opportunities for civic engagement and encourage students to be involved in their community
  • Promote an awareness of prominent social issues
  • Strengthen students’ ability to organize and express their ideas clearly and persuasively
  • Cultivate the application of values and integrity in government operations


Each year, the program kicks off with the two-day Fall Youth in Government Conference that serves as the foundation for the year-long service-learning portion of the program. During this event, students attend workshops on the history, structure and operations of local government, ordinance writing, public speaking, campaigning and debating. Students also work in groups to write a new ordinance, which they later debate and vote on. Local civic and political leaders also speak to the attendees about their professional journey and the importance of being involved in their community. Past presenters have included the Mayor and Vice Mayor of the City of Cincinnati, Cincinnati City Council members, Cincinnati City Manager, representatives from city departments including public safety, law, parks and recreation, as well as representatives from the State of Ohio. The highlight of the event is always the election of the new Youth Council. Students are provided the opportunity to campaign for council and all participants vote for the Youth Mayor and council members.

Throughout the school year, the Youth Council and other program participants meet monthly for participatory learning activities related to researching and writing bills, debating and community service. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the State of Ohio Youth Assembly. Youth Assembly brings alive the workings of Ohio state government as students discuss current issues with state administrators, elected officials and students from other Youth in Government program around the state. The Youth Assembly includes mock committee meetings, as well as full debating and voting on bills by the House and Senate. Youth are also able to campaign for offices. Finally, students can also participate in the Council on National Affairs (CONA) where students gain awareness of national issues and an understanding of the Federal Government.

For more information, contact Youth in Government's email.