Youth Development Center
The Youth Development Center fosters physical, academic and individual growth through community partnerships, engaged staff and a safe sustainable environment. ENGAGE, MOTIVATE, ACTIVATE!
Our youth are united in creating and experiencing positive self-worth, character building and life productive knowledge to carry through life.
The Youth Development Center (YDC) was founded in 1990 by a group of individuals, including business people and community leaders, who deeply cared for the development of adolescents in Winchester, Frederick and Clarke County.
A campus concept was agreed upon whereby area organizations whose mission embraced the development of young people could co-exist in an environment that would provide for networking, exchange of ideas, and shared resources. Organizations would also be provided with rent free office space in order that operating expenses could more fully be utilized for youth programming. The campus began with an office building housing youth non-profit organizations.
Shortly thereafter, land was leased (at $1.00 per year) to the area Boy Scout Council for their headquarters; Tom Baker and his wife Sheila then donated their home and three acres of land (now known as the Baker House) to complete the three building campus site. The house was converted to office space which TEENS, INC now occupies.
By 1992, the YDC Board of Directors expanded its vision to include an activities building which would provide for recreational space for the campus organizations, youth, and the community at large. The Gerald F. Smith Youth Activity Building was dedicated on December 3, 1995 and held its first High School dance in January of 1996.
To build the YDC campus, a goal of $1,455,000 was established and this allowed for the construction of an office building, the renovation of the Baker House, and the construction of the activities building. Three acres of land were donated by the O'Sullivan Corporation, expanding the campus to 6 acres- 3 acres each in the city of Winchester and Frederick County. Donations were solicited and received from individuals, businesses, civic groups, youth groups, schools, churches, and government agencies. Additional donations were sought for the beginnings of a future endowment fund.
In 2003, use of the Youth Activity Building had been fully taken advantage of and a new campaign was begun to expand the facility. $1,600,000 was raised and the new Dave and Kathy Holliday Annex was dedicated and opened in November of 2006.
The Youth Activity Building was designed specifically with adolescents in mind. With 22,000 square feet of space, the facility boasts a full and half court gyms, game room, two snack bars with kitchens, theater, two lounges, meeting rooms and offices.
The Activity Building has become a hub of activity for area young people. Over half of the area's middle and high school students participate in YDC programs. As advocates of a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle for adolescents, YDC has focused program offerings for teens during special times: New Year's Eve, After the Prom, and SuperBowl Parties. For teens and young adults with disabilities, YDC offers Adventures Beyond on the weekends and summertime plus a special dance party every September. Other programs include SummerFest, athletic tournaments, chess tournaments, YZONE, theatrical productions powered by Selah Theatre Project, Basketball Academy powered by Unique Hoops and soon the Timbrook Achievement Center.
Recently, YDC merged with our local Big Brothers Big Sisters in order to provide the same services under the new operating name Baker’s Anchor Mentoring (BAM). The mentoring program now has greater flexibility and resources in serving more
area youth carrying on the mission of helping kids by pairing them with positive adult mentors. Baker’s Anchor Mentorship provides a sense of stability, trust and a safe place for youth ages 6-13.