Preparing The Teens of Tomorrow, Today.

Say “Hi” to Hi-Y.

In 1889, Kansas YMCA formed the first High Y (Hi-Y) Club for high school boys. Hawai‘i’s first Hi-Y Club formed in 1918 at McKinley High School, followed by clubs at O'ahu College (renamed Punahou School), Kamehameha Schools, and Mills Institute for Boys (known today as Mid-Pacific Institute). Clubs for girls (Tri-Y), middle school (Jr. Hi/Tri-Y), and elementary (Gra-Y) were added later.

YMCA Youth & Government

Today, YMCA Youth & Government involves thousands of teens nationwide in state-organized, model-government programs. It teaches youth about our democratic system of government and how to advocate for their beliefs in a civil and respectful way. Established in a New York YMCA in 1936, Youth & Government was launched in Hawai‘i in 1950 by YMCA Honolulu Hi-Y and Tri-Y Clubs. Their topic was the hottest issue of the day: Statehood.

Y Changemakers Today

Youth-Led Participatory Action Research, or Y-PAR, teaches teens to become community changemakers by learning to identify critical community needs, develop programs to address those needs, and to collect data to ensure the programs are working.

Beginning in 1919, annual Territorial Hi-Y Conferences united Hi-Y boys and leaders through athletic and recreational activities, Bible study, discussion groups and speakers.

The tent above housed boys from Oahu College, now known as Punahou School,  at the 1922 Hi-Y Conference Camp at Camp Malulani in Kane‘ohe.
1926 McKinley Hi-Y students. Since its early beginnings, Hi-Y clubs brought together high school boys from all racial, religious and economic backgrounds. Every week, over 100 participants from McKinley High School would gather for a “bean feed” supper followed by socializing and programs. Once a month, they held joint meetings with clubs from other schools—leading to lifelong friendships.
By 1964, the YMCA of Honolulu had the third largest Hi-Y teen program in the nation with 277 clubs. From the 1970s to 1980s, “Y Social Clubs” were in every school in the state. The Cherrelles Tri-Y Club Christmas Card, 1962. 
Serving as a speaker at the 2019 Youth and Government Opening Ceremony, Hawai‘i’s U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono described her 1964 delegate experience as “an eye-opening experience...I didn’t think I was going to run for office someday, but it planted the seeds, and here I am today.”

Families ➔