Putting young people at the heart of what we do.


Young people are front and centre of everything YMCA does, which is why the Youth Ambassador Programme was created. Our Youth Ambassadors act as the leading representatives and propel the voices of young people within YMCA England & Wales.

What is a YMCA Youth Ambassador?

Bringing together young people from YMCAs across England & Wales, Youth Ambassadors actively represent the opinions, needs and beliefs of young people. They help shape the policies we focus on, attend national and international events, and act as spokespeople for youth voices within the organisation.

What does it take to be a Youth Ambassador?

Nominated by local YMCAs, Youth Ambassadors are passionate about improving the lives of young people, and want to use their experience and knowledge to be the voice for effective, meaningful change.


They are aged 18-30 and must already be involved in their local YMCA in some capacity. That could be as a staff member, service user or volunteer.


Being a Youth Ambassador is a commitment, but one worth taking, and accompanied by high-quality training and opportunities to develop skills for success. To be part of the programme, young people must be keen to contribute their thoughts, with a desire to make a difference.

What opportunities do Youth Ambassadors get?

Youth Ambassadors will have a range of opportunities available to them and will have the chance to amplify the voices of young people across influential platforms.


Policy: Youth Ambassadors have the opportunity to join the Youth Advisory Group, which guides the policy areas of research and campaigns.


International: There are opportunities for Youth Ambassadors to be part of the international YMCA community, join policy and leadership groups, and attend international events.


Media: Youth Ambassadors act as spokespeople for YMCA England & Wales, representing us in national media outlets, through press statements and interviews.


Advocacy: Ambassadors have the opportunity to meet with and influence key decision makers, including MPs, to represent the issues that are important to them, their peers, and their YMCAs.


Local campaigning: Youth Ambassadors are encouraged to lead on local campaigns that are specific to the community. They will receive support and guidance on how best to raise awareness and influence.

Meet one of our Youth Ambassadors - Abigail Palmer, YMCA Humber


“I had been in my role at YMCA for a month when I had the opportunity to become a youth ambassador. I knew this would be the perfect way to gain new skills and a better understanding of what other YMCAs do.


“The training provided throughout this programme has helped me in my role as Communications Officer and helped me grow as a person. The training we have received has been broad and it has given me the confidence and knowledge to deliver presentations to a wider audience and to give radio and TV interviews.


“I would highly recommend joining me on the youth ambassador programme as you meet different people from across the Federation, sharing learnings with others and will have the opportunity to be the voice for young people.”


Who can become a YMCA Youth Ambassador?
  • A YMCA can nominate any young person associated with them to become a Youth Ambassador.
  • Youth Ambassadors must be aged from 18 to 30.
  • Local YMCAs are required to cover the cost of Youth Ambassadors travel to trainings and the annual residential.
What training is available?


Youth Ambassadors are offered a diverse range of training courses across the year to help them become fully rounded ambassadors. In previous years this has included:

  • Media training
  • Organisational governance
  • Public speaking
  • Utilising social media to amplify young people’s voices
Youth Ambassadors: Impact


Youth Ambassadors have been involved in the co-chairing of the APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) on Youth Affairs and recently launched an inquiry into the skills gap and youth employment, joining MPs and other young people to discuss challenges facing young people right now.


Some of our Youth Ambassadors have had the chance to meet with their international colleagues at the recent YMCA Europe General Assembly, collaborating to support young people to be at the centre of YMCA’s vision for the future.


Youth Ambassadors were involved in collecting postcards from housing residents who were writing to their MP about the impact of the Cost of Living crisis. The result: MPs heard about the experiences of young people and the Government listened, supporting our recommendations to increase Universal Credit in line with inflation.


Youth Ambassadors also represented YMCA England & Wales at both the Conservative and Labour party conferences in the Autumn speaking with MPs on panels and at reception events.


We recruit new youth ambassadors during the first part of the year. This next recruitment period will be starting in February 2024.