Youth Empowerment

We offer year round employment for youth in our community.  We engage high school aged students (ages 14-18) in meaningful work that contributes positively to our community.


Youth Farm Crews

Spring, Summer, and Fall

We offer year-round employment and learning opportunities for high school students from the City of Kingston. The heart of our program is the Farm Crew. Crews of eight high school students learn every aspect of urban agriculture. They start seeds in the greenhouse, prepare beds for planting, seed and transplant seedlings, move compost and wood chips, water, weed, harvest, and wash and weigh the vegetables. Farm Crew members run the farm stands which provide the opportunity to interact with community members.

We run three seasonal Farm Crews to plant, maintain, harvest, and steward the greenhouse and farm. Following the seasons, teens employed on the Farm Crew do all the work on the farm.


Winter Cooking Crew

The Cooking Crew meets weekly to create multi-course meals from scratch. Using produce from the Winter Farm Stand, youth learn lifelong skills: knife skills, real world math, recipe reading and alteration, teamwork, and breaking bread together.

During the shut-down, we sent recipes and ingredients home each week and youth cooked for their families.

In 2021, the Winter Cooking Crew worked with Julia Turshen to create a bilingual cookbook!

In 2022, the Winter Cooking Crew ran a pop-up restaurant in the lobby of the Fuller Building.


Community Cooking Crew

Community Cooking prepares and packages meals as mutual aid for Kingston’s Community Fridges. This is a new program that officially began in 2022 in addition to our Winter Cooking Crew.


Kingston YMCA Farm Project Cookbook

Our Cookbook can be purchased at our farm stand or at the following businesses: Calcutta Kitchen, Rough Draft, Village Grocery and Refillery, Tilda's Kitchen and Black-Eyed Suzie's.



The Empowerment Coordinators proposed a name change for BARK in 2021 which now stands for Building a Resilient Kingston. BARK engages in environmental stewardship around Kingston and in our pollinator garden and Y Park playground.

The BARK Crew, with Hudson Valley Bee Habitat and KaN Landscape Design, spent a spring and summer learning about pollinators and their habitat before designing and building a pollinator garden next to JFK Elementary School.

The team participated in Community Science projects in 2021 and 2022, helping the NYS DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program collect data on glass eel migration in the Hudson River.


Youth Design Projects

Our winter programming includes a Youth Design Team which responds to community issues and opportunities. 

The Youth Design Team empowers youth voices in the design of public spaces in the City of Kingston. Youth work with a range of professionals to learn how to approach a design process that is inclusive and responsive to community needs. The first project of the Youth Design Team, working with KaN Landscape Design, was the creation of the Y Park, a naturescape, all-ages accessible playground next to the farm.

We guided a team of 12 youth to research and design the Pine Street African Burial Ground. Their final public presentation was in March 2020 with a crowd of over 100 attendees and live feed on Radio Kingston.

The youth voice was engaged to assist with planning and design for the new Broadway Bubble. The team spent four months researching and designing a plan for Broadway that culminated in a bilingual presentation to stakeholders and invited guests along with several public outreach events.

In Fall of 2022, the Youth Design Team served as voice, survey consultants, and designers for the public green space located at the new Prince & Grand intersection. Public meetings will be held during Winter 2023.