22 May 2022
drawing of teens and their book bags

The YMCA of South Hampton Roads is excited to provide teens FREE memberships this summer (June–August 2022, ages 13–18) through its Sponsor–a–Teen Program. With the help of three important community partners (the individual donor, the Y, and a match sponsor), the Sponsor–a–Teen Program is made possible. Donating $25/month or $75 for the summer will allow local teens to have a safe place to thrive, connect, and grow this summer. The Y believes this initiative is critical, and stresses the importance of the community coming together to support youth in building healthy habits, strong character values and achieving a sense of belonging.

Teens looking to receive a free membership simply fill out a quick, easy online application (or, they can come to a YMCA of South Hampton Roads location with their parent or guardian to complete the form). Then, the Y will send a text to their parent or guardian to sign their participant waiver. It’s that easy!

For Nicole Tsetsilas, a Regional Health and Wellness leader for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, this program is personal; “Growing up, my brother, sister and I would go to the Suffolk Y together. My older brother to workout, my younger sister in before/after care and summer camp. We received a scholarship to help pay for our membership and spent hours every day at the Y, especially during the summer. It was our favorite place to be and my parents trusted we were safe, doing something positive.” Nicole further shared passionately that the Y helped build who she is today, and that through challenges it was a beacon for her to escape to to connect with her peers, find caring adults and build her sense of self. She even started working at the Y when she was age eligible. She continued, “I hope every teen gets the opportunity to experience the Y like I did, it’s why the Sponsor–a–Teen Program is so important to me and to the kids in our communities”

For many Y staff, the Y has been there for them from a young age. Anthony Walters, President and CEO for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads shared that his first interaction with the Y was through the back door—his family did not have a membership, but he heard from his friends how the Y was the perfect place for them to come and hangout, and he wanted to be a part of that. Walters shared, “we want to welcome all teens to a place to feel safe, a place to involve and engage, a place to be healthy and build confidence, and we want them to walk in through our front door. This membership opportunity can give them just that—come to the Y, you are welcome here!" This summer, teens at the Y can look forward to pick-up sports like basketball and volleyball, social activities, teen fitness classes and training, special pool hours just for teens, summer service projects, and even job opportunities. If you are interested in sponsoring a teen or enrolling your teen for the summer you can visit the Y's donation page.