Who We Are
The YMCA Youth Gambling Awareness Program (YGAP) is a free service, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health. It’s designed to raise awareness of gambling risks among youth, encourages healthy and active living, and offers helpful advice for making informed decisions. YGAP provides a multi-faceted and innovative approach to problem gambling prevention through outreach, community education, and community awareness activities like community involvement events and youth engagement projects.
YGAP’s work includes a variety of tools and activities, customized to fit the needs of individuals and communities. These include:
When it comes to gambling awareness, youth-driven engagement initiatives encourage youth to share their voice and identify their priorities related to gambling and gaming education/awareness. They lead community-driven initiatives to support those priorities. In response to this need, YGAP developed a Youth Engagement (YE) program to foster open dialogue among youth and ensure gambling awareness messaging is relatable, and consistent with youth experiences.
The youth engagement projects were developed by youth, for youth, to prevent gambling problems among youth ages 13–24. Through YGAP’s YE project and a media literacy framework, youth engage in critical thinking, problem-solving and creative expression.
In addition to gambling/gaming awareness, the program’s curriculum has a focus on developing social-emotional learning competencies. The core competencies include: self-awareness, social-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
The development of social-emotional learning (SEL) skills helps youth foster overall health and well-being, positive mental health, and the ability to learn, build resilience, and thrive. Check out a few of YGAP’s past Youth Engagement Projects.
YGAP Community Involvement Events are designed to promote community awareness and involvement in issues related to gambling. Each year YGAP, in partnership with community members, delivers new and exciting Community Involvement Events for communities.
For more information about Community Involvement events in your area, or to discuss partnering with YGAP, please contact the local Youth Outreach Worker in your area. Below are just a few of YGAP’s past Community Involvement Events.
The YGAP Advisory Committee is an integral part of each YGAP site across the Province. Committee members are volunteers who work cooperatively with the YGAP Youth Outreach Worker by offering advice on areas such as potential networking contacts, information about the local community, feedback on gambling trends and helping to raise awareness of the program in the community. Committees are typically made up of youth service providers, addiction and mental health service providers, educators, credit counsellors, and youth.
What are the benefits of participating as a YGAP Advisory Committee member? Committee members have the opportunity to…
If you are interested in becoming a member please contact your local YGAP Youth Outreach Worker.
YGAP is invited to participate in various community events and school fairs. These events allow YGAP to increase community awareness of youth gambling and harm reduction. We create interactive booths to deliver accurate information to the community.
Please contact the YGAP Youth Outreach Worker in your area if you’d like to invite YGAP to a health fair or event!
“23% of youth know someone who may be experiencing problems with gambling.” YGAP Impact Study, 2016.
Each YGAP participant is provided with information and referral to treatment services and other community resources that can help with a potential gambling problem, as a method of further reaching the individuals who might require such help, without asking for disclosure of problem gambling issues in front of peers.
Book a Workshop
YGAP offers awareness-raising programming in French and English for youth ages 8–24 as well as adults, parents and professionals. Youth workshop content is developmentally appropriate, interactive, fun and engaging for classroom, community centres, and camp settings. Workshops can be booked individually, or as a series.
See Workshop Options (PDF)