A Close Look at the Aspen Youth Center

A Close Look at the Aspen Youth Center

Since 1991, Aspen Youth Center has provided thousands of children and teens in Aspen and the surrounding communities with a safe place to be a kid – a place for them to connect, learn and grow. The programs, activities and mentorship we offer create an environment that emphasizes wholeness, compassion, and inclusiveness which, in turn, helps young people to develop mature identities and form healthy relationships at home and at school.

Aspen Youth Center (AYC) is the only youth center and the only non-profit organization in the Roaring Fork Valley dedicated solely to providing services to a significant number of youth on a daily & year-round basis. If you were to look inside our facility, you would notice the game tables, the computers and the gym. These are, in a sense, the ‘skeleton’ of the Aspen Youth Center – the vital and tangible aspects which provide the foundation for everything that happens here. Supported within this infrastructure, you will find the ‘heart’ of the Aspen Youth Center which is comprised of the many interactions that occur daily between youth and their peers and between youth and staff members. This is the foundation of the Aspen Youth Center community and it is this intangible and invaluable asset that sets us apart from a mere hangout spot or video arcade. By creating an environment that emphasizes wholeness, compassion, and inclusiveness, the Aspen Youth Center helps young people to develop mature identities and form healthy relationships at home, at school, and in society, providing the foundation for a more cooperative and caring world.

During the school year, AYC is open from 10am-6pm to youth in grades 4 – 12. On Fridays, our facility is open until 9:00pm for middle and high school students. During the summer our facility is open from 9am-6pm, Monday thru Friday. There is no entrance fee! Each day there are a variety of activity options for youth to choose. Our facility has a computer lab, game room (air hockey, pool tables, foosball, ping pong, etc.), media/video game room, small gym, and a kitchen. We offer staff-led activities such as Creative Arts, Cooking, Fitness and Model-Building.

Other Info about AYC

Aspen Youth Center

There is a pervasive notion in our society that parents should be able to support their children entirely within their own families. In reality, however, parents cannot do this by themselves, even in the healthiest of families. In order to raise independent, well-rounded children in today’s complex society, it is crucial to go beyond the parent-child relationship, beyond our individual homes and out into wider and wider circles. At the Aspen Youth Center, we believe that young people need to have a wider space in which to live and other people with whom they can talk truthfully, adults as well as peers. The Aspen Youth Center is committed to providing the space for young people to make these vital connections.

Clubs and Programs for 2012

  • Creative Cooking
  • Trivia Challenge
  • Gym Rats (Sports Club)
  • Creative Arts
  • Movie & Popcorn
  • Game Room Tournaments
  • Homework Club
  • Wednesday Early Release
  • Take a Hike
  • Community Crusaders
  • Fit n’ Fun
  • Strong Kids
  • Field Trips
  • Staff vs. Kids Tournament
  • Girl Power/Girl Talk
  • Mad Science
  • RC Speedsters
  • AYC Bucks
  • Karaoke
  • Community Lunch
  • Healthy Snacks

As you can imagine, with 30 to 60 youth in our facility each day, we have different situations that arise. From conflict resolution to self confidence building, our staff coaches youth through these issues. The games and activities are great but behind all that is a sense of community that we create and teach the youth about respect, empathy, problem solving and other valuable life skills.

We currently have well over 1,200 youth members,

During 2011, Aspen Youth Center had 13,012 youth visits – which averages out to approximately 53 kids per day in the Aspen Youth Center.

Excerpts from our 201112 surveys of Aspen Youth Center participants:

  • 87% of the youth surveyed reported that if the AYC did not exist, they would be bored with nothing to do or be at home alone.
  • 98% of the youth surveyed reported that they feel safe and have fun at AYC.
  • 80% of the youth surveyed reported that they learn important things at Aspen Youth Center like how to work with others, how to respect people and how to be part of a community.
  • 88% of the youth surveyed reported that they can talk to the staff at the Aspen Youth Center about their problems.
  • 86% of the youth surveyed reported feeling better about themselves since coming to the Aspen Youth Center.
  • 45% of the youth surveyed reported that they come to AYC because it is free.

For more information about the Aspen Youth Center, please visit their website.