Director of Youth Programming

Key member of the Program Strategy team


YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago


Chicago, IL 60607-2916

Job Description

As a key member of the Program Strategy team, this role is responsible for interim/transitional program management and consulting assignments at multiple, diverse membership centers within the Association based on program and center needs. This role is key to enhancing program effectiveness, informing program strategy, and driving revenue, staff development, member/participant experience and retention in assigned centers as well as identifying and developing center program leaders and staff to ensure effective transition.

This role collaborates with Metro, center leadership and staff teams during the assignment to manage all aspects of program operations including program execution, program communication and marketing, budget management, as well as staff management and coaching. In this role, incumbents’ will leverage operational knowledge and program expertise to improve program operations at assigned centers. This role is designed to facilitate learning and development in multiple program areas and build leadership bench.


  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent or higher in Elementary Education, Recreation Management, Early Childhood Education or a related field with a minimum of 21 college semester hours in courses related to Early Childhood Education or Childhood Development.
  • 4 to 6 years or more of experience working directly with youth in an early learning and/or school-age program and at least 4 years of experience managing staff that interact with youth.
  • Must be at least 21 years of age and/or 5 years older than the oldest child that participates in the program.
  • Intermediate to advanced proficiency in Microsoft Office (MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint) with the ability to learn new technology.
  • Ability to travel locally on a regular basis (up to 100%) to multiple YMCA locations (city and suburbs) when needed.
  • Type 03 or 04 IL Teacher Certification preferred.
  • Ability to obtain and maintain industry standard certifications and continuing education requirements.
  • Continuous learner who keeps abreast of industry trends, best practices and safety guidelines in order to innovate on and improve program quality and safety.
  • Budget management experience, with the ability to quickly understand and analyze program financials and identify relevant trends and indicators.
  • Ability to quickly understand and adapt to multiple centers, contexts and priorities.
  • Demonstrated initiative with strong critical thinking and analytical skills to identify opportunities for continuous improvement.
  • Proven organizational, time-management and project management skills.
  • Ability to quickly build effective relationships with multiple, diverse stakeholders; strong consulting and influencing skills are essential
  • Superior verbal, written and presentation skills with the ability to facilitate and/or deliver training to small and large groups.
  • Proven track record of influence management with the ability to maintain relationships with members, volunteers and staff.
  • Proven ability to quickly understand and execute a program to the required safety and quality standards, specifically maintaining compliance with DCFS licensure and American Camping Association accreditation.
  • Ability to work flexible hours, including evenings and weekends, when needed to achieve program goals.

Essential Functions

This role reports to the Senior Director of Day Camp & School Age Program and performs the following duties:

  • Act as floating Youth Development Director for interim/transitional program management. During the transition, perform the following duties:
    • At assigned center(s), performs needs assessments and identifies relevant drivers of center program performance.
    • In collaboration with leadership teams, quickly identifies, validates and communicates plans for transitional support and continuous improvement to facilitate program effectiveness and change management.
    • Develops and implements plans to enhance program operations including program marketing, communications, staffing, processes and procedures to meet assignment and program goals.
    • Increases member/participant connection and commitment to YMCA programs and ensures the member experience is consistent, integrated and aligned to YMCA goals for member experience, engagement and retention.
    • Manage the operations of the assigned program area, staff and volunteers. Implements all necessary processes and communication channels to seamlessly execute programs.
    • Provide data and reports as required for assigned program.
    • Manages program budgets, including revenue and expenses to meet financial targets and monitors financial performance.
    • Ensures program safety and policy compliance including collaborating on facility and equipment needs and ensuring staff training and relevant certifications according to program standards.
    • Ensures compliance with all license, license-exempt and/or American Camping Association requirements.
    • Make changes to programming and scheduling as deemed necessary.
    • Develop and execute on staffing and hiring plans including recruitment, onboarding, staff development and coaching to meet assignment goals and/or to ensure a smooth transition to a new program leader.
  • Program Performance and Needs Assessment
    • Assist in identification of relevant metrics and drivers of program performance. Tracks and reports on data/trends which predict or impact program success
    • Provide observation and assessment of the effectiveness of programs and identify areas of continuous improvement and/or intervention. This includes but not limited to program design, delivery, execution, ROI and staff supports necessary to optimize member/participant experience, program quality, safety compliance and financial targets.
    • Compile and maintain a comprehensive inventory of all content area-related programs across the Association. Prepares analytical and narrative reports as required.

  • Program Design and Quality
    • Assist in delivery of signature programs, improve standardization, and be a resource to center leadership in program implementation.
    • Keeps abreast of industry trends and best practices in order to inform and enhance program offerings, drive innovation and enhance quality and safety.

  • Program Operational Support
    • Provide day-to-day consulting, tactical support to center leadership staff in program implementation, execution and delivery.
    • Assist in program implementation and continuous improvement plans that ensure programs are implemented with fidelity and meet program quality, safety and financial targets.
    • Provide intensive support to centers, where needed, to enhance program effectiveness and staff efficacy

  • Staff Mentoring and Development
    • Provide coaching, professional development and leadership to field staff in program content area to enhance staff learning, career development and operational effectiveness.
    • Track and audits that staff have the relevant certifications, licenses, training, or other credentials necessary to meet program standards.

How to Apply

Apply by Email

Apply by Mail to:

Richard Harper
1030 W. Van Buren St.
Chicago 60607

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