YMCA Northeast Leaders School (NELS)

Hosted by the YMCA of Central New York

YMCA Northeast Leaders School is the premier teen leadership conference in the Northeast. Located at the historic Springfield College, the program serves Teen Leaders from all the states in our region. Staffed by YMCA professionals and volunteers the program is designed to meet the needs of the individual teen by providing them with skill development and valuable personal and group living experiences.

NELS 2024

Dates of School:  July 21-26, 2024 (Overnight)

Age Requirements:  Ages 13-18 (must be 13 by the start of Leaders School)

Location:  Silver Bay YMCA, 87 Silver Bay Rd Silver Bay NY, 12874

Cost:  $575 (all inclusive, no money is needed during the Leaders School Experience), Financial aid is available and the application can be found HERE!

Registration for NELS 2024 is OPEN!!! Here is how registration works:

YMCA Staff/Leaders Club Advisors:  Click the Link here to register your YMCA for registration. IF YOU REGISTERED LAST YEAR AND YOUR INFORMATION HAS NOT CHANGED, YOU DON’T NEED TO REGISTER AGAIN! This is the first step in registration! YMCA Staff will get a registration link for their YMCA to share with Teen/Parents to register!

Teens/Parents connected to a Leaders Club/YMCA Teen Program:  Connect with your local YMCA Teen Staff Member or Leaders Advisor to get registration links. A parent must sign up their teen for Leaders School. If you are not sure who to talk to, reach out to the Leaders School Director, Josh, jschupack@gpymca.org.

Here is the LEADERS SCHOOL REGISTRATION GUIDE to help you register!

Teens/Parents who are not connected to Leaders Club or YMCA Program:  Click here to request registration information.


TYLER talks about his Leaders Experience



Programming & Activities

Leaders School has a packed schedule with very little free time by design. Activities include

  • Leadership and teaching skills in Physical Education, Fitness, Sports, Aquatics, Creative Expression, Advocacy, & Volunteerism.
  • Character Development and Values Education in a diverse small group environment.
  • Elective programs in a broad area of interests
  • Special programs including an induction ceremony, banquet, and dance
  • Optional early morning activities, all school evening activities, even meal times are full of energy, learning opportunities and fun!


Goals & Objectives

  • Provide training to young people who demonstrate leadership potential
  • To offer a mentoring experience with volunteers and professionals
  • To introduce methods of teaching and leadership skills
  • To enhance leadership capabilities including teaching and performance skills in physical education, aquatics, recreation, character development, and other areas of YMCA youth work
  • To acquire the human relations skills necessary to translate personal values into positive action
  • To have the most amount of fun possible in 5-1/2 days!

Parent Information

Sending your teen away for 5-1/2 days may bring up questions and anxieties both teens and parents. Leaders School and the YMCA is committed to being a safe, inclusive environment for all. Check out our Parent FAQ for helpful information.

For more information: 

Reach out to your local Leaders Club advisor or email the NELS Director, Josh, at jschupack@gpymca.org