Y Guides is an action-oriented, year-long adventure program designed for parent/child pairs to strengthen their relationship through shared experiences. With a circle of families in their community, parents and children will enjoy weekend campouts, a pinewood derby, volunteer projects, monthly meetings and other activities centered around skill-building and fun!

HISTORY
Established in 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri, Y Guides was formerly structured around a Native American theme, and originally called Y-Indian Guides and then Adventure Guides. Today the program has evolved and is structured around the adventures a parent and child may take together. Y Guides is a way for kids and parents to spend quality one-on-one time together while retaining the original program’s structure, spirit, objectives, and character-development focus.

PHILOSOPHY
At the YMCA we believe that if we build strong communities that nurture and strengthen families, then children will learn early-on the assets and values they need to become responsible, caring adults that will care for and love another child. This has been our legacy and it will continue to be embedded in the Y Guides program and its theme.

WHO PARTICIPATES? 
Y Guides is for a parent and their child(ren) ages 3 through 4th grade and above. Participants form circles with others in their community. These circles are normally composed of eight to ten parent/ child pairs and typically meet twice per month

WHAT WILL WE DO?
The Y Guides program is action-oriented! Circles typically meet once or twice a month. Meetings may be held in member's home and include fun activities such as games, crafts and stories or may be an outing such as a community service project, hiking or a cookout. In addition to the regular activities, Circles can participate in larger Y-sponsored activities throughout the year, including weekends at Camp Orkila and Colman, pinewood derbies, sporting or arts events.

WHAT IS A CIRCLE, AN EXPEDITION AND A FEDERATION?
The Tyee Federation is composed of all Expeditions related to the YMCA of Greater Seattle. An Expedition is made up of 10 to 20 Circles in close geographic proximity. Circles are a grouping of eight to 10 parent/child pairs. Four of our YMCA branches sponsor Expeditions (see list of expeditions below). You’re welcome to host or join a circle within an expedition at any branch. 

  • Coal Creek Family YMCA
    Happytalk, Mercer Island Princesses, Skookum, Tahaminawi, Tykes, Westerners
     
  • Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA
    Husky, Orca, Tykes, Westerners
     
  • Sammamish Community YMCA
    At-Sar-Kal/Talk-A-Lot, Issaquah, Snoqualmie, Tykes, Westerners
     
  • University Family YMCA
    Rainier, Tykes, Westerners

HOW DO I FORM OR JOIN A CIRCLE?
Gather up 8 to 10 parent/child pairs from your school, church, PEPS group, or soccer team and email your nearby Y Guides coordinator to form your circle. If you don’t have a group, email a Y Guides coordinator and we’ll match you up!

WHAT DOES Y GUIDES COST?
Each participant, both parent and child(ren), pay an annual registration fee of $75 each year. The Y Guides year follows the school-year, starting in September and ending in June. This fee is waived for YMCA facility members. Orkila and Colman campouts, events and activities have separate fees. To ensure that all families in our community have the opportunity to participate in Y Guides, the YMCA provides financial assistance on a sliding scale.