In January 2001, the YMCA of the U.S.A. commissioned the After
School for America's Teens survey. The survey found that teens
who are unsupervised during the after-school hours of 3 to 6 p.m.
are more likely to engage in risky behaviors -- such as drug and
alcohol abuse, sexual activity, cigarette smoking, and carrying
and using weapons -- than youth who are supervised by a parent or
another adult, or who are involved in structured activities
during those hours. In response to these findings, the YMCA has
launched its Teen Action Agenda, a nationwide campaign to double
the number of teens it serves through its after-school and other
programs; this would involve 5 million youth by 2005. The
program's goals are to build skills and values; improve teens'
health practices, educational development, and character; help
teens become contributing members of their communities; and place
committed, caring adults in long-term relationships with the
youth. Participating local YMCA's will offer programs that focus
on three key areas: education, career, and life skills; health,
safety, and well-being; and leadership and service learning. Each local YMCA chapter must offer at least one program in each of the
key areas, dedicate a full-time program staff member to every
1,000 youth served, and issue a membership card to every teen
served in the community. Each chapter will measure the success of
its efforts and report the findings to the YMCA of the U.S.A.