Aspen Youth Center is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive place for youth to connect, learn, and grow. We achieve this by offering free, after school and all day summer programs to youth in grades 4 - 12 who live anywhere in the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond.
Aspen Youth Center was founded in cooperation with the Aspen Substance Awareness Project, Aspen School District, City of Aspen and other community members due to community concern about the widespread use of alcohol and drugs in the adult Aspen community.
The American Drug and Alcohol Survey was administered to Aspen students in grades 7-12 in 1987, and the results of the survey revealed an alarming level of teen drug use far above both Colorado and national averages. Following the release of these results, local middle and high school students established the goal of creating a youth center at an annual "Views of Youth" conference.
AYC opened its doors on October 31, 1991 following a successful three-year campaign to raise the funds needed to build a center on land owned by the City of Aspen. In April of 2003, we relocated our operations to a new facility, the Aspen Recreation Center on Maroon Creek Road, across from the Aspen School District campus.
"Thanks for being so welcoming to our son. He comes home from AYC so happy and walks around the house talking about how he loves making new friends, seeing people he knows and having fun.
He is an Aspen Youth Center success story as he belly aches every Thursday about Community Crusaders but comes home talking about how great it was. He is thriving under the new found independence of being able to come and go from AYC on his own. It is so fun seeing him become appreciative, accepting, and self-confident. Thanks for everything!" - K.A., Parent
"My wife and I have five adopted children, and AYC has been a breath of fresh air for our family this summer. Yes, can you believe that AYC is absolutely free all day long from 9 am to 6pm for kids? This has lifted such a huge burden off our shoulders, and our kids have something - actually many things - to do at AYC every day, and they can't wait to get there." - Steve, Parent
"One of the things I love about Aspen Youth Center is being noticed by the staff. They don't ask me how my grades are, they ask me what I'm learning. They don't ask me if I won my game, they ask me if I had fun playing. At AYC, they like me just the way I am...and that feels good. It gives me confidence." - Arnold, AYC Kid
"I feel very lucky to have Aspen Youth Center as my 'extra family'. It's a place where I can come out of my shell; a place where I feel cared about. A place where I know I matter." - Bella, AYC Kid