News Articles

Hope of the World: Catholic Youth Organization

by Catherine Kirch

The Catholic Youth Organization of New York (CYO) is a division of Catholic Charities Community Services that organizes extracurricular programs for young people in New York City and southern New York State. Through programming that spans sports, the arts, and beyond, CYO aims to build high moral standards in all participating youth.

The Catholic Youth Organization was founded in 1936 by Patrick Cardinal Hayes, Archbishop of New York, in a pastoral letter. In this letter, Archbishop Hayes emphasizes the importance of investing in young people. “Youth is the hope of the world,” Archbishop Hayes writes. “Upon youth the future must be [built].”

CYO has been building on this philosophy ever since, providing high-quality programs that work to instill values of sportsmanship, integrity, and fair play. Basketball is CYO’s largest program, with over 16,000 youth participating in 1,600 teams. CYO sports programs also include cheerleading, cross country, track and field, and soccer. With both indoor and outdoor opportunities, CYO’s sports programs encourage participation throughout the school year.

While CYO is most well known for their sports programming, the organization also supports the arts and other activities in a number of ways. The Catholic Youth Organization promotes Catholic Scouting through events that support Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts of America. CYO chess programs allow children, starting as early as three years old, to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills while upholding CYO’s values of sportsmanship and fair play.

Catholic Youth Organization’s Art and Essay Contests foster friendly competition even outside of games and sports, and were featured in the Fall 2019 issue of Archways. The Art Contest offers first through twelfth grade students the opportunity to express themselves through flat media, including watercolor, charcoal, oil paint, and more. Sixth through eighth graders can also participate in the Essay Contest by writing about topics that range from personal accomplishments to how faith has helped them through a challenging time.

The ultimate goal of Catholic Youth Organizations goes beyond athleticism and competition; at CYO, it’s not about winning or losing. Whether participants are playing chess, shooting hoops, or writing essays, the organization emphasizes attitude over all else. Throughout CYO’s many programs, young people learn to respect not only their teammates, but also their competition. It is through this culture of sportsmanship that CYO encourages all members to practice Christian values in everything they do.

To learn more about Catholic Youth Organization, please visit their website.