Youth Action Hudson

Youth Action Hudson at the YMCA believes the young people of the Hudson community are one of our biggest assets when it comes to serving others and shaping future generations.

YAH has been a catalyst for starting new programs and partnering with other Hudson programs for over 30 years. Our mission is to empower and engage our youth volunteers to make a difference in the Hudson community through service, leadership and education.

Who We Are

Youth Action Hudson at the YMCA has been a catalyst for starting new programs and partnering with other Hudson programs for over 30 years. Our mission is to empower and engage our youth volunteers to make a difference in the Hudson community through service, leadership and education. Our group is comprised of 80+ high school students from the Hudson School District. 

Where it started

Youth Action Hudson was originally established under the name Community Action in 1981. This came about because a coalition of concerned community members was motivated by the negative effects that substance abuse was having on their local community to promote awareness of problem.  The coalition's main focus in those early days was community education through a series of "awareness lectures" and print education. With its original background in adult alcohol and chemical abuse, Community Action's transition to serving youth in 1995 naturally brought them into youth substance abuse prevention and education. Later, the emphasis on prevention was expanded on to include educating youth on service, leadership, healthy relationships, violence prevention and community life. Propelled by a volunteer coalition whose mission was to create opportunities for youth, Community Action worked to give youth the chance to get involved in their community and to build healthy relationships with their peers. 

Community Action evolved to incorporate an organizational structure that was intended to more effectively and efficiently manage the direct needs of the youth in the area as life was becoming increasingly more fast paced for our young adults. Wanting to stay closely connected to those they served, in 1999, the Youth Advisory Board was established to ensure that all Community Action activities were youth-driven and youth-led. In 2000 Community Action received its first AmeriCorps Volunteers and in 2001 Community Action hired its first Executive Director. In 2002, Community Action created a Program Coordinator position designed to coordinate all youth initiatives and programs and supervise the AmeriCorps Volunteers' efforts.

Establishing Youth Action Hudson

In August 2008, board and staff members began work to move the agency forward in a new three-year strategic planning process that resulted in a new name and a revised mission statement that would better reflect to the community the focus of this agency. The name, Youth Action Hudson (YAH), was created and selected by the youth working with our programs and approved by the Youth Advisory Board. The mission, "empowering and engaging youth to make a difference through service, leadership and education" continues to help guide our programs and allow youth to create positive, sustainable programs for the Hudson community.

Youth Action Hudson has since continued to expand and improve its programming as we perpetually work to provide youth opportunities to grow as capable individuals and compassionate community members.

YAH Prevention Model

  1. Youth-created Service learning to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, strengthen communities and link learning to self-reflection.
  2. Peer-led Health education to promote healthy lifestyles, lifelong healthy activities and behavior choices.
  3. Parent support to promote parent-child connectedness and enhance parent-child communication.
  4. Increased school connectedness.
  5. Increased opportunities for pro-social involvement in school and community.
  6. Peer norms that discourage violence and substance use - Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention.
  7. Increased personal expectations for a positive future.

Youth Action Hudson of the future!

In 2023, Youth Action Hudson joined forces with the Hudson YMCA to continue serving the greater Hudson area. Under the YMCA, our goal is to continue to grow and expand YAH's programming. The YMCA in Hudson has pledged to continue YAH's All Dressed Up Program, Peer to Peer, and the YAH Service Scholarship. We are excited to see where the YMCA takes Youth Action Hudson!

Philosophy

We emphasize youth engagement within our community and connectedness to the people within it as a way to promote resiliency to the challenges youth will face over the course of their lives. In doing this, we seek to build upon the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets for young adults. These assets, which are grounded in extensive research in youth development, represent the relationships, opportunities and personal qualities that young adults need to build in order to avoid risky behavior and thrive. Our effective prevention efforts are designed to be developmentally, culturally and gender appropriate for teens while keeping pace with how teens spend their time. Our two main goals are:

  • Youth will be the central leaders in designing and implementing Youth Action Hudson's programs, using strategies that capitalize on their energy and leadership.
  • Youth will assess and identify needs to be addressed in their community (risk factors) and will identify assets and supports that should be promoted or enhanced.

Our Programs

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All Dressed Up

All Dressed Up began in 2009 by one of our recent Hudson High School graduates Brooke Brokaw. All Dressed Up’s initiative was to make prom more affordable for teens in western Wisconsin, specifically reaching out to families that are financially strained. Brooke’s idea has grown into an annual All Dressed Up campaign that provides dresses, accessories and services to young women who want to attend their high school prom. We collect and clean, ready to wear prom gowns long or short, shoes, handbags and accessories. We also take apparel for men, such as suits, tuxedos and dress shoes. In early spring we host an open house that is free and open to the young people and their families.

All Dressed Up was hosted on February 9th and 10th, 2024. A smaller version of All Dressed Up is currently set up in the Hudson YMCA Teen Center until April 5th. Need a dress for prom this year? Swing by the Teen Center, Monday through Friday, 3:00-6:00pm to pick one out!

National Night Out

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live! NNO provides a safe, family-friendly night out at Lakefront Park in Hudson, WI. We will return to National Night Out this summer!

Peer to Peer

Peer to Peer was originally designed to educate youth about the issues surrounding substance abuse. Since it's conception, P2P has grown to expand to all 5th through 8th grade classrooms in the Hudson School District. Through our Peer to Peer program, YAH youth have the opportunity to have a positive impact on their younger classmates through education. P2P also provides our youth with an opportunity to increase their public speaking skills and confidence.

Each fall, YAH youth volunteers prepare presentations on various socially relevant topics including self-esteem ,diversity, stress management, etc., and present to all 5th grade classrooms in the Hudson School District, both public and private.

In the spring, YAH volunteers put together presentations on various relevant topics and present to all 6-8th grade students at Hudson Middle School. Past topics have included health & wellness, diversity, social media & technology addiction and "profile of a high school student".

Sign up now for Fall 2023 Peer to Peer!

Presidential Service Award

Each summer, Youth Action Hudson recognizes our youth volunteers for all of the incredible work they do in the Hudson community! To do so, we use the Presidential Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) website to log all service hours that our volunteers complete with us. The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation was established in 2004 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in our communities and encourage more people to serve. The council created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.

Youth Action Hudson logs all hours that our volunteers complete with us. Students are encouraged to keep track of any additional service hours completed through other organizations (ex: bagging groceries for soccer, volunteering at a nursing home, student council, mission trips, etc.) and enter them into your PVSA account. Not only is this award a great personal achievement but is also a valuable accomplishment to list on resumes, college applications and scholarship applications!

Youth Action Hudson Service Scholarship Award

Youth Action Hudson at the YMCA recognizes our senior students who complete 200-500+ hours of community service over the course of their High School Careers. Start logging your hours with YAH today!

Community Volunteers and Connections

Throughout the year, Youth Action volunteers can be seen at various community events and within community organizations. Some of these include the Hudson Backpack Program, Operation Help, Britfest, Pepperfest, Shop with a Cop and more! If you are in need of volunteers for one or more of your community events, please reach out and we will see if anyone is available to assist!

Hudson Holiday Boutique and Craft Fair

Youth Action Hudson coordinates one of Hudson's largest craft fairs on the first Saturday of December each year. This event helps sponsor our Service Scholarship Award.

Save the date for Saturday, December 7th, 2024, at Hudson Middle School. Applications for 2024's craft fair will be available this spring. Stay tuned for more information! 

Youth Action Hudson Senior Citizen Prom

New in 2024, Youth Action Hudson is partnering with the Hudson YMCA Foreverwell Program to offer a Senior Citizen Prom! Save the date for Saturday, May 11th, 2024. This will include a night of dancing, dinner, and fun at Camp St. Croix.