Youth Centers Near You That Offer The Works

The two heavyweights when it comes to youth centers are the Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCA. Both serve ages 5 and up and offer a wide range of programs at dedicated centers or off-site on school campuses.

They are a no-brainer when you are looking for child care or school vacation camps as their programs are generally affordably priced, offer scholarships, and tend to offer bonus services (transportation, homework help, meal programs).

For older kids/teens, they not only offer sports and fitness opportunities, but valuable teen leadership programs that range from life skills (money literacy, career exploration, college readiness) to learning about our democracy through creating a model legislature or United Nations.

Now you know why they have both have been around since the 1800s!


Boys and Girls Clubs

Supervised activities are offered after school (sometimes before school too), and during school vacations for children 5-18.

Programs focus on all aspects of life for kids and teens, and cover sports and recreation, education, arts, health and wellness, workforce readiness, and character and leadership. Each program is designed for specific age groups; ages 6-9, 10-12, 13-15 and 16+, with a mission to help young people succeed in school, develop leadership skills, and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Some branches offer special-needs inclusion and/or preschool child development centers. Meals and/or snacks may be provided at some locations. Scholarships are available for qualifying families.

Clubs are located throughout Southern California. Use their club finder to find a Boys and Girls Club near you.



Programs for the entire family include year-round child care, fitness programs, teen clubs, food programs, day and resident camps (even family camps!), youth sports, STEM programs, aquatics, and gymnastics. Preschools are even available at some locations.

Parent/child programs (grades K+), such as Adventure Guides, are also offered to promote bonding between parents and their children.

Many YMCAs offer off-site programs at schools and recreation facilities, and accept third-party funding such as GAIN or CAL Works.

Visit the Find Your Y page to locate a program in your area.


Your Local City Recreation Department

Don’t forget to check your city’s recreation department. Most cities offer kids and teen programs at community centers for little to no cost.

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