Youth & Family
Chautauqua’s programs for youth present a diversity of activity, in settings varied and historic. From pre-school to day camp, from sports instruction to informal youth centers, from enrichment classes to entertainment, and from reading to experiences in the arts, these programs offer opportunities to explore the Chautauqua experience. At the same time, youth are encouraged to grow in independence, make choices, take responsibility and celebrate family time, all in the safe and supportive community that is Chautauqua.
For youth ages 2.8–5. Built in 1921, the Chautauqua Children’s School pioneered the concept of nursery school education. Additions made in 1926, 1947 and 1969 were followed by a full renovation and expansion in 1994 to its present size and capacity.
For youth entering first grade in the fall. Begun in 1997, Group One is a program designed for children who will enter first grade in the fall and serves as a transition between Children’s School and Boys’ and Girls’ Club.
Boys’ and Girls’ Club
For youth entering grades 2–10 in the fall Boys’ and Girls’ Club is considered the oldest day camp in the United States. With most buildings dating from the 1890s and the turn of the century, Club grows out of a Chautauqua tradition of excellence in sports and physical education.
Youth Activities Center (YAC)
The Youth Activities Center (known as the YAC) is a drop-in center for junior and senior high school students. Located on the south lakefront at Heinz Beach, and adjacent to the Boys’ and Girls’ Club campus, the YAC features a bustling snack bar (with daily lunch specials at “kid” prices), a friendly staff, televisions, games, table tennis and pool tables.
Classes at Chautauqua
Chautauqua’s Special Studies program provides youth the ability to experience Chautauqua as their parents do in an age-appropriate learning environment. The Special Studies curriculum offers a wide variety of subjects from computer skills, art, dance, music, writing, language and many more interactive courses that engage youth to begin a path to lifelong learning.
Young Readers Program
The CLSC Young Readers Program encourages the enjoyment of good reading. The books have been chosen for their quality, the variety of styles and subjects, and their appeal to young adult readers.
In addition to the plethora of activities young people will find within the framework of Boys’ and Girls’ Club, Children’s School and Group One, there are a variety of other activities for them to enjoy — from tennis and golf to swimming and sailing and more.
The Youth Services Office coordinates a babysitting list that provides information to help families with young children connect with available babysitters in Chautauqua and the local area.
Young Writers Institute
The Young Writers Institute is a five-day immersive, multi-genre creative writing day camp for students 14 to 18 years old. Through short exercises, close study of work by contemporary writers, and workshops, students will develop their command of the core elements of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
Youth and Family Programs Advisory Group
The Chautauqua Youth and Family Programs Advisory Group was created in March of 2020 to serve as a direct resource and sounding board for staff as they consider and develop plans for the future of Chautauqua Institution’s Youth and Family Programs.