To value and support young people with recreational and educational programs focused on their total development.
To offer year round programs collaboratively with non-profits, public education, and the community. Through partnerships we support our youth physically, mentally, and socially to educate all children in an inspiring, safe and drug-free environment.
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 and a youth organization now occupies this space.
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.
By 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, mini-theater, two TV/computer lounges, meeting rooms and offices.
The Activity Building has become a hub of activity for area young people. Over 50% 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, evenings and weekends. Programs also include weekend and summer activities for teens with disabilities. Other events include Summer Enrichment Program, athletic tournaments, theme dances and band fests. Groups from every part of the community use the YDC, including church groups, sports teams, school groups, scout troops, university students, etc. The facility is staffed 12 hours a day and is available to the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Board of Directors
Board of Directors
Ann Burkholder, President
Jason Van Heukelum