August 12 is International Youth Day, a day to bring awareness of the potential of young people as bringers of peace, shapers of our future and agents of change.

The City of Boulder is committed to building a welcoming, inclusive and diverse community where all community members experience physical health, safety and well-being. When we make our communities better places for children and youth, we make them better places for all.

On August 3, Boulder City Council declared August 12, 2023, as International Youth Day. Endorsed by the United Nations (UN), the intention of International Youth Day is to emphasize the need to enable the engagement of youth by making community-based local, state, national and global processes more inclusive for youth, for the purpose of strengthening the youth’s voice, relevance and capacity.

The 2023 theme for International Youth Day is Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World. The shift towards an environmentally sustainable and climate-friendly world is critical not only for responding to the global climate crisis but also for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Keep reading to learn more about the many programs and services that support and inspire Boulder's youth.

UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative

The City of Boulder is partnering with UNICEF USA and Growing Up Boulder to work towards formal recognition as a UNICEF Child Friendly City. The goal of the UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) is to identify and prioritize action steps and mobilize the community to improve young people’s health and well-being. In Boulder, this work will be co-designed with young people, including historically underrepresented children and youth.

We want to hear from you!

Making our community a place where children and youth thrive will take all of us.

Visit Be Heard Boulder at UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative | Be Heard Boulder to provide feedback on key questions throughout the process.

This fall, Growing Up Boulder will also partner with Boulder Valley School District and youth-serving organizations to facilitate conversations with young people and their parents, caregivers, and adult allies. Our goal is to understand how well Boulder’s children and youth are doing and what issues or opportunities we should focus on moving forward.

Family Services

Family Services supports children, youth and families through regional collaborative planning, community funding and quality programs. Family Services is comprised of three programs:

  • Child Care Subsidy Program - Provides financial assistance to qualifying low- and lower-middle income families in Boulder, who are not eligible for Boulder County Child Care Assistance Program. Subsidies are contingent on available funds. Learn more on the city’s website.

  • Family Resource Schools - A partnership between the City of Boulder and the Boulder Valley School District dedicated to supporting families capacity to raise healthy, well-functioning, and successful children through a broad array of prevention and early intervention services. Learn more on the city’s website.

  • Youth Opportunities Program - Promotes youth civic engagement and leadership development, organizes community events and provides youth perspective and recommendations on city and community projects, issues and initiatives. Learn more on the city’s website.

After a two-year hiatus, the city’s Youth Opportunity Program reactivated the Youth Opportunities Internship Program in the summer of 2023. During the six-week paid summer internship, interns were matched with a city department to gain experience in city government and took part in career readiness sessions. Future youth internship opportunities will be announced later this year.

Parks and Recreation (BPR)

Youth Services Initiative

The Youth Services Initiative (YSI) inspires youth and families from underrepresented communities to make healthy, caring and responsible choices through recreation, health and well-being opportunities as well as life skill development.

Each year, YSI provides underserved community members opportunities to learn about art, good nutrition, the benefits of academic achievement and higher education, and a healthy culture and support system.

Youth summer camps

Summer camps are places for our young community members to build a community and create fast friendships. Both campers and counselors can be their authentic selves and belong as they try out new games, learn new skills, gain a new sense of self-confidence and most importantly have fun.

Summer camp opportunities include “Goats and Gardens,” “Kidz Kamp,” “Reservoir Camp,” and EXPAND camps for community members with developmental disabilities. Summer’s wrapping up, but make plans for next year by seeing what we offered in our 2023 Summer Camp Guide.

Youth sports

BPR partners with organizations to provide camps and classes for kids across the city. They provide youth a chance to express themselves in drama camp, expand their minds in STEM camps, build clay projects at The Pottery Lab, sports with Skyhawks, and sail at the Reservoir.

See everything your kids can participate in year-round in our recreation guide and via Skyhawks Sports.

Childcare at recreation centers

Parents, want to exercise but don’t know what to do with your young children? BPR has brought back childcare at North Boulder Recreation Center. We encourage our kids to have fun and let parents get their exercise on!

Drop-in childcare is available for children ages 2-10, Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Kids 2-3 can stay for up to 1.5 hours and kids 3-10 can stay for up to two hours. The childcare is included with the family pass, a youth pass or pay the youth entry fee, which is $6 for residents and $7.25 for non-residents. Sign up in advance and get more details.

Gymnastics is fun and builds confidence for kids

Our 12,000 square foot gymnastics facility in North Boulder Recreation Center provides opportunities for young athletes to develop life-long lessons of self-confidence, bravery, and perseverance through the vehicle of gymnastics.

From beginner classes for 2-year-olds to advanced competition preparation, there’s an on ramp/low balance beam for everyone to join in the fun of gymnastics!

Fitness programs for youth

We have fitness opportunities designed specifically for our younger community members.

One is our Youth Speed, Agility, & Quickness (SAQ) Camp, which helps young athletes master their body control and mechanics as related to movements such as jumping, landing, acceleration and changing direction. Through this class, participants will be more dynamic and explosive in their movement and reduce the risk of injury.

BPR also provides weight room orientations to community members under 14. These classes show them how to use the weight room equipment safely and learn weight training policies and protocols.

Playgrounds in our parks

Last, but not least, are the over 60 parks that BPR manages in Boulder. They are a chance for kids to explore, take physical (and emotional) chances, make new friends, and be active! These spaces are places to make memories and be a kid! We hope you can visit one close to you or a large one that may be a bit farther away.

Junior Rangers

The Junior Ranger Program is an opportunity for teens ages 14 to 17 years old to be employed by the City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) department to work on a variety of natural resource projects. Junior Rangers:

  • Work outside

  • Earn a paycheck

  • Develop important work skills

  • Explore nature together

  • Work on teams and make lifelong friendships

  • Give back to the land and the Boulder community

Learn more about this opportunity on the city’s website. Thank you to the Junior Rangers who worked hard to help us maintain and improve open space this summer!

Lifelong Boulder

Lifelong Boulder is part of a statewide initiative called Lifelong Colorado which aims to ensure all Coloradans will be able to live and fully participate in their communities for as long as possible.

A community that is well adapted for aging is one where all individuals can thrive. Age-friendly communities foster economic growth and make for happier, healthier community members. Many cities across the nation are taking steps to ensure their communities are age-friendly and Boulder is no exception.

Learn more about Lifelong Boulder on the city’s website.