The YWCA Banff Programs and Services team offers community programs focusing on awareness, education and support for children, youth and adults.

Children & Youth Programs

  • Girls Circle

A structured support group for girls from 9-18 years which integrates relational theory, resiliency practices, and skills training. The overarching theme of the program is “Friendship”, and the objective is to foster self-esteem, help girls build and maintain authentic connections with peers, increase and develop capacity for empathy, counter trends towards self-doubt and allow for genuine self-expression. The curriculum is based on the ‘Girls Circle’ program developed by the One Circle Foundation which is a model of structured support groups for girls. The ‘Girls Circle’ program is delivered to elementary school students in Banff, Canmore and Exshaw.

  • Boys Council

A strengths-based group approach to promote boys’ and young men’s safe and healthy passage through pre-teen and adolescent years, Boys Council explores themes that pre-teens and early adolescents encounter. The Council strives to break down social-cultural barriers, explore motives and actions around put-downs, encourages knowing personal rights, defines assumptions about male power, respecting others’ physical boundaries, understanding and using the energy of strong emotions, and standing up for each other in community. In this structured environment, boys and young men gain the vital opportunity to address masculine definitions and behaviors and build their capacities to find their innate value and create better lives – individually and collectively. The curriculum is based on the ‘Boys Council’ program developed by the One Circle Foundation which is a model of structured support groups for boys.

  • Power of Being A Girl

For a lot of young women, the teenage years can represent a challenging and difficult phase. The Power of Being a Girl ™ Conference helps to recognize those challenges and work towards solutions with a day of empowering workshops and speakers to help girls embrace who they are. The day focuses on discussion and dialogue about issues that young women face in our community such as body image, self-esteem and living a healthy active lifestyle. The workshop topics that are presented at the conference are healthy relationships, media and body image, and communication, along with a myriad of interactive and engaging discussions. Through participation in the conference, the girls build skills that can be transferred to all facets of their lives as they develop into healthy independent women.

  • Week Without Violence

Each year during the third week of October, Canadians bond with people in over 90 countries around the world to mark YWCA’s Week Without Violence™, a week-long series of community events promoting diverse approaches to creating a violence-free world. More than 9,500 people in schools, workplaces and neighbourhood organizations throughout Canada recognize this annual violence prevention initiative aimed at making violence a thing of the past.

  • Healthy Youth Relationships

Healthy Youth Relationships looks at healthy and unhealthy peer romantic relationships. This program helps young people identify healthy dating relationships, abuse in a dating relationship, consent, protection and reporting procedures, and where to find support. The workshop reviews the legal definitions and ramifications of physical and sexualized assaults. Written scenarios, group work and a video support this information and identify warning signs such as emotional harassment. The curriculum is based on the ‘Healthy Youth Relationships’ program developed by the Canadian Red Cross.
The Healthy Youth Relationships program is delivered to Bow Valley High School students within their CALM (Career and Life Management) class curriculum. 

Community Programs

  • Women’s Circle

A support group for women to share and explore, empower, build skills, and encourage one another to live authentically in mind, body, heart and spirit. Circles convene weekly for 2hours for 10 consecutive weeks. Women’s Circles offer participation in meaningful discussions, creative arts, and skill building activities with a focus on topics and issues that are relevant to their lives. The curriculum is based on the ‘Women’s Circle’ program developed by the One Circle Foundation which is a model of structured support groups for women. Women’s Circle is offered in Lake Louise, Banff, and Canmore.

  • Community Helpers – Town of Banff

The Community Helpers Program provides the mechanisms to identify and support existing “natural” helpers for youth and young adults in the community. The program doesn’t create volunteers but finds a way, through an anonymous survey, to discover the community members that youth and young adults already relate to when they have a mental health problem.

The YWCA Banff partnership with the Town of Banff provides the helpers with the opportunity to learn more about healthy relationships, intimate partner violence, sexualized assault and the training to strengthen their support and referral skills. The intent of the program is to build a bridge between the informal and formal support in the community and to provide awareness of existing supports and services in the community.
This program is funded by Alberta Health Services.