Youth Institute offers teens creative digital media training and student connection

Rapid City teens are getting a first hand experience studying technology and media at the YMCA Youth Institute.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The YMCA of Rapid City Youth Institute is a teen program focusing on creative digital media like film production, graphic design, photography, and much more, all the while offering opportunities for meaningful connections with other students along the way.

YMCA Youth Institute

YMCA Youth Institute

YMCA Youth Institute

Chris Huling, Youth Institute Coordinator, says, “So we really run them through the gamut of a lot of different things to spark those passions about something they might not have been exposed to yet.”

The program is set up for middle and high school aged students choosing from an after school curriculum or a summer camp experience. It’s individually focused, catering to student’s creative passions.

YMCA Youth Institute

Ruth Stevenson, Youth Institute alumna, says, “I really loved the program, it was a really great experience for me. I met so many friends and I learned so many things like life skills and even like videography and photography and all that.”

Students learn an array of creative media skills, like web design, graphic design, 3D printing, painting, editing software, production companies, magazine design and illustrating. They also focus on STEM projects and cooking.

YMCA Youth Institute

Genevieve Myers, Youth Institute student, says, “I keep coming back to Y.I. because it’s a good learning program for me and it helps me  broaden my skills as well as my knowledge.”

Students learn business aspect of having your own company in the entrepreneur branch.

YMCA Youth Institute

YMCA Youth Institute

YMCA Youth Institute

Geiden Simpson, Youth Institute student, says, “I come to Y.I. because I love learning these Adobe programs, and I feel like it will help me for the job I want in the future because I want to be a video game designer.”

In the course, they are building industry standards for when students are finished with the program, they are ready to step into a career in the future.

YMCA Youth Institute

Huling adds, “So we are trying to build those industry standards so that when they are finished with the program, if this is something they want to pursue they have that experience that already has them stepping up for careers in the future.”

Part of the curriculum includes guest speakers in selective fields and industry professionals.

YMCA Youth Institute

Huling says, “Essentially we are doing everything we can to say what you are dreaming about is possible, like even here in Rapid City, South Dakota, like you are not limited by your location – you are only limited by what you feel like you can accomplish, and if we can kind of tear down those walls and say it’s all available to you, if you want to put in the time and the effort to pursue it.”

The students’ final project is making a film, which is presented at the Elks Theater.

The Youth Institute is now taking applications for the summer camp. Click here for more information.

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