How old do you have to be to work at YMCA

How Old Do You Have to be to Work at YMCA?

The Y is dedicated to improving the quality of human life and to helping all people realize their fullest potential through the development of a healthy spirit, mind, and body. To accomplish those goals, the YMCA places prominence on hiring talented individuals for their staff. 

The Y offers full-time, part-time and seasonal career opportunities in a wide variety of areas and is always looking for dedicated, hard-working and skilled individuals to join their staff.

To get an entry-level job at the Y, you must be at least 16 years old. Some positions require that you are at least 18 years old, with a high school diploma or GED. There are different positions available at the various locations, but the following is a good idea of what jobs are available for teen workers.

Teen Jobs at YMCA and Age Requirements

After School Counselor  (Hourly)

The YMCA is looking for team members to join their After School Program as a counselor. This is a rewarding opportunity to help Children in your area learn and grow through play as well as build a rewarding career working with Children!

The Y is looking for outstanding role models to come and help them create a great place for K – 5th graders to grow and learn. You’ll get to lead groups of kids through exciting curriculum and activities such as painting, playing, coloring and singing. All they need from you is:

  • A Positive attitude
  • Willingness to get paid to play
  • Able to pass a background check and drug screen

To work as an After School Counselor at the YMCA, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma.

Day Camp Counselor (Hourly)

Camp Counselors at the YMCA maintain a supportive, positive atmosphere that welcomes and respects all individuals, promotes the potential of all youth, and provides a quality experience to both youth and their families.

Essential Functions:

  • Supervises a group of children and program activities.
  • Assist in planning daily and weekly activities that will be fun, safe and provide opportunities for skill development. Have a strong hold on the program curriculum and care for equipment.
  • Creates a positive rapport and shared interest with all youth; models relationship-building skills in all interactions.
  • Provides opportunities for youth to lead, problem-solve, and make decisions and choices within the program and provides daily opportunities for youth to reflect on and respond to their experiences.
  • Provides and welcomes ongoing dialogue with parents and caregivers about their child’s needs and progress; connects families to the Y.

This position supports the work of the Y, a leading nonprofit, charitable organization committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  You must be at least 18 years old -- with a high school diploma or GED -- to work as a Day Camp Counselor at YMCA.  CPR, First Aid, and AED certifications are also required.

Lifeguard/Swim Instructor (Hourly)

Lifeguards and Swim Instructors at the YMCA provide excellent customer service while maintaining safe swimming conditions in the pool, deck and surrounding areas. Aquatics team members create a safe and positive atmosphere that promotes member safety and engagement in accordance with YMCA policies and procedures.

Essential Functions

  • Maintain constant surveillance of the pool area using constant scanning techniques to achieve a 10x10 reaction time and dealing with redirection and warnings in a timely manner. Remain alert and attentive to all swimmers while on guard.
  • Know and review all emergency procedures and respond to emergency situations immediately in accordance with YMCA policies and procedures.
  • Know, understand and consistently apply safety rules, policies and guidelines for the pool and aquatic area.
  • Greet and develop effective relationships with the members, participants and other staff.
  • Assist in the retention of existing members and engagement of new members by informing them of the Family Center aquatic programs, including lap swimming, swim lessons, swim team and group exercise classes.
  • Ensure cleanliness of pool decks and aquatic areas. Check the pool for hazardous conditions.
  • Attend all staff meetings, monthly in-services and training as required.
  • All other duties assigned by Management.

You must be at least 16 years old to work as a Lifeguard at the YMCA. You must also have current CPR/AED, First Aid certifications, and Current Oxygen Administration certification. As well as current Lifeguard certification (within 60 days of hire) and current Swim Instructor Certification. The Y offers all of these certifications and will reimburse the cost for all new hires.

Camp Kitchen Staff Member  (Hourly)

YMCA Camp kitchen staff members perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking. They prepare cold foods and shellfish, slice meat, and brew coffee or tea. Other job responsibilities include:

  • Assist cooks and kitchen staff with various tasks as needed, and provide cooks with needed items.
  • Carry food supplies, equipment, and utensils to and from storage and work areas.
  • Clean and sanitize work areas, equipment, utensils, dishes, or silverware.
  • Cut, slice or grind meat, poultry, and seafood to prepare for cooking.
  • Inform supervisors when equipment is not working properly and when food and supplies are getting low, and order needed items.
  • Load dishes, glasses, and tableware into dishwashing machines.
  • Make special dressings and sauces as condiments for sandwiches.
  • Mix ingredients for green salads, molded fruit salads, vegetable salads, and pasta salads.
  • Place food trays over food warmers for immediate service, or store them in refrigerated storage cabinets.
  • Package take-out foods or serve food to customers.
  • Portion and wrap the food, or place it directly on plates for service to patrons.
  • Prepare a variety of foods, such as meats, vegetables, or desserts, according to customers' orders or supervisors' instructions, following approved procedures.
  • Prepare and serve a variety of beverages such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
  • Receive and store food supplies, equipment, and utensils in refrigerators, cupboards, and other storage areas.
  • Remove trash and clean kitchen garbage containers.
  • Scrape leftovers from dishes into garbage containers.
  • Stock cupboards and refrigerators, and tend salad bars and buffet meals.
  • Store food in designated containers and storage areas to prevent spoilage.
  • Take and record the temperature of food and food storage areas, such as refrigerators and freezers.
  • Use manual or electric appliances to clean, peel, slice, and trim foods.
  • Vacuum dining area and sweep and mop kitchen floor.
  • Wash, peel, and cut various foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to prepare for cooking or serving.
  • Weigh or measure ingredients.

No previous experience is necessary. You must be at least 16 years old to work as a Kitchen Staff Member at the YMCA.

STEM Day Camp Counselor (Hourly)

STEM Camp Counselors at the YMCA create a supportive, positive atmosphere and provide a quality experience to both youth and their families. This position supports the work of the Y, a leading nonprofit, charitable organization committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. 

Essential Functions:

  • Supervises a group of children and program activities focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
  • Assist in planning daily and weekly activities that will be fun, safe and provide opportunities for skill development. Have a strong hold on the program curriculum and care for equipment.
  • Creates a positive rapport and shared interest with all youth; models relationship-building skills in all interactions.
  • Provides opportunities for youth to lead, problem-solve, and make decisions and choices within the program and provides daily opportunities for youth to reflect on and respond to their experiences.
  • Provides and welcomes ongoing dialogue with parents and caregivers about their child’s needs and progress; connects families to the Y.

You must be at least 18 years old to be a STEM Day Camp Counselor at the YMCA and have a high school diploma or GED. CPR, First Aid, and AED certifications are also required.

Maintenance Team Member (Hourly)

Maintenance team members at the YMCA inspect different equipment and perform any basic repairs or preventative maintenance when required. To do well in this role you should have previous related experience, be skilled with various hand and power tools, and be able to read blueprints and repair manuals.

Essential Functions:

  • Conducting routine inspections of premises and equipment.
  • Performing preventative maintenance.
  • Handling basic repairs and maintenance.
  • Overseeing contractors when professional repairs are necessary.
  • Diagnosing mechanical issues and correcting them.
  • Repairing machines, equipment, or structures as necessary. 
  • Cleaning and repairing facilities and equipment.
  • Cleaning and stocking of various facilities on the property 

This is a flexible position, can be full-time or part-time, year round or seasonal position from June through August with possibility of part-time off-season hours, especially in April, May, September and October.

You must be at least 18 years old to work as a Maintenance Team Member at the YMCA and have a high school diploma or GED. 

Can a 15 Year Old Work at the YMCA?

No. The minimum age to work at YMCA is 16 at some locations and 18 at others. We do have a page on our website specifically for 15-year-olds that you can view for other options.

Can a 16 Year Old Work at the YMCA? 

Yes. Some YMCA locations do hire 16 years old for some positions. We have a page on our website specifically for 16-year-olds that you can view for other options.

How Much Does the YMCA Pay Part-Time Workers?

The hourly earnings for employees at YMCA vary greatly because of state and city minimum wage laws. However, we can give you a general idea of what the hourly pay is for each position.

After School Counselor (Hourly)

After School Counselors at the YMCA usually make between $13 and $15 per hour. Some locations are offering hiring bonuses of $250 for new staff.

Day Camp Counselor (Hourly)

Day Camp Counselors at the YMCA usually earn between $13 and $16.50  per hour. The average hourly rate for this position is $15.

Lifeguard/Swim Instructor (Hourly)

A new competitive wage plan is being offered to lifeguards and swim instructors that starts at a minimum of $15.00 per hour.  Any related experience will also be factored in addition to the new base rates.

Kitchen Staff Member (Hourly)

Kitchen Staff Members at the YMCA receive a starting wage around $9 per hour. But can go as high as $14 per hour, depending on experience.

STEM Day Camp Counselor (Hourly)

STEM Day Camp Counselors at the YMCA usually earn between $13 and $16.50  per hour. The average hourly rate for this position is $15.

Maintenance Team Member (Hourly)

YMCA Maintenance Team Members are paid based on experience. The average rate is between $12 and $17 per hour, but can be higher depending on education and certifications.

How Much Experience Do You Need to Work at the YMCA?

The YMCA is an entry-level friendly organization, and they do hire teen workers as young as 16 for some positions. However,  they do prefer that applicants for most positions have a high school diploma or GED.  And, if you already have your CPR, First Aid, and AED certifications when you apply, that will definitely make your application stand out.

What Should You Wear to a Job Interview at the YMCA?

When you show up for your interview at YMCA, you will want to be dressed in business casual attire. Consider something fashionable and trendy. Or, go traditional with a buttoned-down shirt with nice slacks or jeans and dress shoes. The key is to look nice, clean, and put together.

YMCA Interview Questions

The possible questions in a job interview are endless, and it always depends on the interviewer. But, there are some common questions that they do often ask. 

Why do you want to work at the YMCA?

Why are they asking?  

A non-profit organization is a unique choice for a first-time job, and they want to know why you are interested in working for them. The YMCA is open to hiring entry-level teen workers, and they offer a ton of opportunities for advancement.

What’s the ideal answer?

There is no wrong answer to this question. Whatever your reason is for applying at the Y, tell them! Maybe you have a friend that works there or you are intrigued by the career opportunities. Whatever your reason is for applying, just be specific and honest with your answer.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Why are they asking?  

If they ask you this question, they are trying to find out what job skills you can bring to the position, and what you need to work on. 

Applicants are usually able to communicate their strengths, but when it comes to weaknesses, some think it’s best to say they don’t have any or can’t think of any.  Don’t do this!

What’s the ideal answer?

The hiring manager wants to know that you can accept feedback and develop your own skills. Give one or two strengths with examples to go with them. Then list one or two weaknesses, and describe how you’re working on them.

A good answer for a weakness would be something like, “I’ve been told I speak too quickly, so I’ve been practicing slowing down when talking.”

I read through your application. Is there anything you would like to expand on?

Why are they asking?  

If a manager asks you this question, they are trying to find out more about you and get you to sell yourself.  A big part of your job at YMCA is interacting with members. They are wanting to find out how well you can communicate, while being positive and professional.

You may not have any previous work experience, but you can still have skills like communication, time-management, money-handling, etc...

What’s the ideal answer?

Know your strengths. If you get asked this question, tell them how you will benefit their organization. They want to hear that you have good verbal communication skills, have a friendly and upbeat demeanor, and can give good customer service. 

Tell them that you are a reliable worker who will show up to work on time for every scheduled shift. If you are interested in a long-term career with the company, definitely let them know. 

Benefits of Working at the YMCA 

Everyone who works at the YMCA gets a free membership.  In addition, the Y provides Staff with a Career Development program designed to ensure a fair and equitable approach to advancement where each and every employee has the opportunity to grow and thrive. 

  • Health Insurance
  • Retirement Package
  • Paid Vacation

What it’s Like to Work at the YMCA

How to Apply at the YMCA

If you would like to apply for a job at the YMCA, you must go online or visit the specific location you are interested in working at. One of the best places for job listings is the national YMCA organization website

However, because there are over 2,400 locations and multiple chapters all over the country, you should check out the local YMCA website for your area.

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