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Military Youth Centers

Youth at teen center

The Defense Department knows that military life presents unique challenges for youth and teens — from frequent moves, school transitions and living far away from extended family and friends to worrying about a deployed parent. That’s why the department provides a variety of support programs and services to help youth and teens navigate MilLife challenges and build the skills they need to thrive.

Youth/teen centers

Military youth centers offer a wealth of support for youth and teens. Centers provide a fun space for youth and teens to socialize with peers, work with mentors, pursue recreational and educational interests, develop workforce and leadership skills, and much more. Centers are staffed with trained professionals who understand how to connect with youth, support them in their teen years and recognize the signs of stress. Resources can vary by location, but most centers offer computer labs for homework support and tutoring; gymnasiums for supervised sports; fitness, music and game rooms; field trips and more.

Looking for youth and teen programs?

Use MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to contact your local youth center.

Learn more about military youth and teen programs.

Military youth and teen programs offer an array of educational and recreational opportunities, including partnership programs with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and 4-H. From art, music and supervised sports to career prep, leadership development, summer camps and more, youth centers offer something for teens of all interests and skill levels.

Being a teen’s difficult enough with all the things they have going on, and then on top of that, you’re a military-connected teen who’s moving every couple years and having to reestablish yourself. So those military-connected programs play a big role in making sure these kids stay resilient and are able to thrive later on in their lives.

– Ryan Flynn, 2023-24 BGCA Northeast Advisor, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Baumholder Youth Programs

Making connections

In addition to recreation and education opportunities, youth/teen centers also provide a place for military-connected youth to nurture their mental health and well-being. Connecting with peers who share the same interests and MilLife challenges can help youth and teens develop important social and emotional skills and feel supported. Centers provide teens with autonomy, a variety of opportunities and a space where they can be themselves, as well as introduce them to offerings through Boys & Girls Clubs of America and 4-H Military Partnership. View the following videos to hear teens talk about the positive impact military youth programs have had on their lives.

Youth centers offer not only a second home, but a second family, a place to come to whenever you need that safe place, that safe haven.

– Xavier B., 2023-24 BGCA National Military Youth of the Year, 2023-24 BGCA Midwest Military Youth of the Year, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Campbell Youth Programs

Your youth center is the place where you can go and be yourself authentically, and it’s going to have such an amazing impact on your life.

– Ahsha B., National Military Youth of the Year 2022


In addition to helping youth connect with peers, youth/teen centers also offer teens the opportunity to work with experienced advisors. Advisors are caring professionals who understand the challenges of military life and being a teen. They can provide guidance to help teens navigate MilLife challenges such as the emotional effects of deployments, changing schools and making new friends. Advisors can also help teens learn new skills and develop their personal strengths to prepare them to successfully transition into adulthood. View the following video to hear youth program professionals talk about what working with teens means to them.

The most meaningful thing about advising a military teen for me was the ability to help them reach their best self.

– Brandon G., Youth Programs Staff, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

The best part of working with Child and Youth programs is working with the teens. I think they need an advocate. Most of the time their voices are not heard, and I think the teen center is a great place for that.

– Jacque L. Baumholder, Youth Programs, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Falz

Additional Youth Programs resources

For more information about Youth Programs, check out the following from Military OneSource:


If you have questions about your local youth/teen center or are looking for off-installation resources, Military OneSource consultants are available 24/7 to help answer your questions and connect you with the support you need. Call 800-342-9647, use international calling options or schedule a live chat.

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