Man and woman instructors demonstrate self defense move to teens in background.

Let's Talk Teens. Today, youth are exposed to unrealistic expectations through social media, cyberbullying, mental health issues, academic pressure and much more. At the John Geigle YMCA, teens are given a safe and fun outlet to express themselves and discover who they are and what they want to become. This self-discovery often takes place in the Teen Leaders Club.

Leaders Club is an annual, yearlong service and leadership development program for teens ages 13-18. Within the Club, teens are exposed to a Teen Talk series. Teen Talks are conversations structured similarly to a TED Talk, with an expert in a particular field sharing their knowledge and skills through a short discussion or presentation. 

The John Geigle teens decided to focus the 2023-24 school year on all things safety. The first Teen Talk of the year was a self-defense class focused on fighting off an attacker.

The teens learned techniques such as strikes, kicks and blocks along with developing situational awareness. The instructors emphasized the importance of paying attention to your surroundings, identifying potential threats and trusting your instincts.

In December, the teens will continue their self-defense class and learn how to get away from an attacker.

Lisa Warren, Executive Director at John Geigle YMCA, shares, "Teens are our future, and they are all hungry for knowledge. The Teen Talk program lets us help broaden their spectrum of knowledge beyond the typical leadership program. We are teaching them life skills and things that they can utilize in their day-to-day lives."

Upcoming John Geigle YMCA Teen Talk subjects include:

  • What Would You Do If? - Lifesaving Skills in Dangerous Situations
  • Cooking Safety & Fire Extinguisher Training
  • Car Care & Maintenance

Teen Leaders Club registration is open throughout the school year at multiple Suncoast YMCA locations.

Published: November 27, 2023