Summer Day Retreat

Saturday, July 27th, from 9am-5pm

Take a day to participate in camp and team-building activities with the Winnetka Youth Organization at YMCA Camp Duncan! Benefits to adding this day retreat include: 

Exploring the outdoors with fun team building activities

Experiencing adventurous challenge courses 

Developing social and leadership skills

Who’s this open to? 9th-12th grades only, regardless of residency.


Registration Information: Our registration will open on Evenbrite on Monday, July 8th, please come back to the website to register. Deadline to register is Thursday, July 25th

Looking for leadership opportunities?

Join our Youth Board!

Join the Winnetka Youth Organization’s Youth Board! Bi-monthly meetings start up again in August 2019.

Develop and enhance your professional, social, and networking skills; gain hands on experience with business marketing and fundraising; attend professional development workshops; and foster new relationships with professional adults and like-minded peers.

Eligibility: Open to high school students only, regardless of residency or school!

NOW OPEN: 2019 Scholarship Application

Rising Seniors Apply Early!

The Winnetka Youth Organization provides high school seniors, who reside in the New Trier Township, with an opportunity to receive a scholarship award to use towards their expenses at their first-year in college. All applications will be thoughtfully reviewed by the Board of Directors. The award recipients are acknowledged at WYO’s Annual Spring Benefit in April.

Application Deadline: Friday, March 13, 2020 at 11:59 PM or dropped-off in-person at the Winnetka Youth Organization by 5 PM.


The Winnetka Youth Organization’s mission is to foster individual development in adolescents by providing adult-to-youth mentoring with opportunities for leadership, citizenship and education within a positive, encouraging environment. Through our diverse positive youth development initiatives, we empower adolescents to become more active community members and leaders, while also giving them opportunities to develop confidence in their own talents and skills.

The WYO provides a place where teens can have fun, learn and be themselves in an safe accepting environment.

For 50 years, the WYO has provided a variety of programs, both recreational, educational, and service oriented. Informally known as “The YO”, the WYO is a place where teens can feel at home, meet new friends, and express individuality with their peers and WYO staff mentors.


The WYO is not a substitute for parental guidance. We are a service to complement and support teens outside of their daily lives and we partner with parents as well as other community agencies to support a holistic approach to wellness. That means nurturing each youth’s individuality, assessing their strengths and weaknesses and building a base of support that they can lean on in times of crisis by:


  • Providing a positive, safe environment where young people can be recognized as individuals
  • Engaging youth in programs designed to develop leadership skills, enhance positive social skills and self-esteem, and advance constructive behavior patterns
  • Sponsoring activities that promote cultural competency and understanding of others
  • Assisting in meeting youth needs for friendship, status, safety, and adult mentoring
  • Offering programs and services that are positive alternatives to adolescent high risk behaviors
  • Facilitating cooperation and communication between the teen population & the community at large
  • Enlisting the support of community members, agencies, and institutions to share financial and physical resources to strengthen service youth.


Our Team

Our Team Leaders help organize and guide our program to great heights

Lynne Levernier

Lynne Levernier

Board of Directors Chair

Christina Gikas

Christina Gikas

Executive Director


Renee Affinito

Renee Affinito

Youth Board President


What our teens think

I had a great time during my interactions with the WYO. I am happy to be a part of this group. My first experience with the WYO is the house renovation. After that, I volunteered for the Kids Against Hunger event. To me, the WYO is a great place to make new friends, hang out with friends, practice problem-solving skills, and volunteer to do something for other people. I will keep participating in volunteer events in the future. The WYO is a place to have fun

Hope Pu

Freshman at New Trier High School

“My favorite part of the WYO is I get to perform here!”

Jack Ellis

Sophmore at New Trier High School

“I love the youth organization because we can just be ourselves and have fun in all the activities we do.”

Sloan Walker

Freshman at New Trier High School

When we were at the WYO and we played our first show, we got a lot of connections to cool people, cool venues, and made friends. So that’s really nice, and it kind of started us actually having shows, and not just playing around Wilmette. So that’s really cool. So thanks to the WYO and everybody involved!

Austin Lyons

Junior at New Trier HIgh School, WYO Music Commitee Member

“The organization is succeeding, and bringing people into the spirit of service.”

Aaron Lariosa

Sophmore at New Trier High School, Youth Board Member

“This is a really good organization and more teens should come. We have different, fun activities.”

Katy Dickman

Senior at New Trier High School, Youth Board Secretary


Sloane Walker, WYO Teen

Who’s Sloane?

Sloane is a regular participant in WYO programming, we met her and her dog Scout at our middle school program “The Burne” a few years ago. She now attends all kinds of WYO events, including art nights and field trips. She also frequently lends a hand during our Social Service Saturdays!

Why the WYO?

“I like to get involved with the WYO because it’s fun and I need a place to escape from my house.”
What does Sloane do after-school?

When not at the WYO, Sloane enjoys karate and other after-school clubs.

What you may not know about Sloane (if you know her):

“Something that not many people know about me is that I’m an entrepreneur.”

Sloane’s Future Aspirations:

“My biggest aspiration for the future is to be a very successful actress.”

We are so grateful for the positive energy and baked goods that Sloane brings to the Winnetka Youth Organization!


Stay Current

Make sure you sign-up for our monthly newsletter full of events, news and all things great at the WYO

Teen Drop-In Center Hours (Summer)

Monday – Thursday: 2 PM – 6 PM

Friday: 3 PM – 9 PM

Saturday: Social Service Days

Sunday: Closed

Want to Help Out?

Your help is greatly appreciated

Donations are a great way to help the WYO provide our teens with educational programs, technology, and more. Your donation can be  easily made via PayPal. We thank you for your support.

Reach Us

Winnetka Youth Organization

620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL. 60093


Winnetka Youth Organization