Facility Update: The Y will be closed on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27

New Canaan YMCA

Y Support Needs (YSN)

Y Support Needs (YSN)

Y Support Needs


Everybody belongs at the New Canaan YMCA.  We strive to ensure that all members can utilize our facility regardless of need or ability.  Our inclusion and support needs programs are adapted to provide assistance allowing members with diverse abilities to participate in programs within our Y.   We proudly offer programs, support services, special events, volunteer opportunities, and employment for over 130 kids, teens, and adults with special needs each year.

Through our programs, individuals build confidence, make friends, and develop independence in a supportive and welcoming environment.  Our support needs department offers support aides for individuals to participate in traditional programs as ability allows, as well as a wide range of specialized programs designed specifically for individuals with special needs.

Youth Activities (Ages 5+)

ysn youth section

YSN Junior Sensory Gym Fitness (Ages 5-10, with supervision of a parent/caregiver)

This Kid Zone program is specially-designed for families with young children with special needs. Participants are encouraged to explore different stations (i.e. ball pits, swings, inflatables, trampolines, climbing structures). Taught by a gymnastics instructor, children will be encouraged to play and will have opportunities to actively interact with their environment, explore their senses, and work on core strength, balance, and social skills. Parents/caregivers are required to stay to supervise and may join in to play along. Private therapists welcome!

YSN Junior Swim Instruction (Ages 5-12)

Instructional swim program that is designed to focus on body position, control, water safety skills, and fundamental swim strokes. Participants should be comfortable in a body of water.

Teen & Young Adult Activities (Ages 13+)

ysn TYA section

A variety of afternoon and Saturday programs for young adults with special needs! Programming includes wellness and fitness classes, like cooking, swimming, and sports. There are also a variety of classes in the arts, like theater, music, and more!

YSN Cardio Dance (Ages 13+)

This modern inspired dance program is an exciting way to exercise while having fun dancing with friends. Each class will begin with a warm-up of freestyle dance and then work on dance routines to music and end with a cool down and stretch. Each participant can request a favorite song to be added to our playlist for 45 minutes of fun-filled music and movement!

YSN Y-Tunes Drumming & Yoga Stretch (Ages 13+)

Join us for an afternoon of music and drumming with music therapist Phylis Bethel, followed by a soothing, 30-minute yoga stretch.

YSN Swim Club (Recommended for Ages 13+, must be an independent swimmer)

A non-competitive program that is designed to be instructional for YSN teens who want to swim for fitness and improve endurance and skills. Participants must be able to swim 25 yards of freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke, as well as 50 yards continually. Class is held in the Forese Family Lap Pool (deep water). Please note: first-time registration requires Director’s approval.

YSN Sports (Ages 13+)

Join us for a non-competitive sports class with friends and peer buddies that offers a variety of sports and games, with different sports offered seasonally.

YSN Teen & Young Adult Free Swim (Ages 13+)

Join us for a free swim social hour with friends and get some exercise in the Forese Family Scooter Pool (warm pool).

YSN Health Living: Cooking & Fitness (Ages 13+)

Our healthy living program is designed specifically for teens and young adults. This is an instructional class for those who enjoy fitness with friends. Each session consists of warm-up/stretch, workout, walk/run ratios, and a cool down. Great for all fitness levels! The class concludes with preparing and sharing a healthy snack with friends.

YSN Roaring 20’s Hangouts (Ages 20+)

Community outings, dinner field trips, and enriching evening activities at the Y specially designed for young adults with special needs. Dinner included each evening.

YSN Teen Scene Hangouts (Ages 12-19)

Join the fun at Teen Scene with peer buddies while teens and young adults gather for enriching nights and special events at the Y. Dinner included each evening.

Summer Camp: Special Cares Support (Ages 3-14) & Camp Jam (Ages 13+)

Special Cares Support (Ages 3-14 years)

An inclusive program available at Camp Mini, Sports Camps, & Camp Y-Ki offers campers of varying limitations the opportunity to participate in a traditional camp experience with additional support for up to 4 weeks of camp at no extra cost. Extra support is  offered based on availability and need.

Camp Jam for Teens & Young Adults (Ages 13+)

Six-week program offered at our Y, this camp program is specifically designed to meet the needs of our participants with special needs who require additional direction and support, but do not require 1:1 or intensive behavioral and/or physical intervention. This specialized camp offers a high staff-to-camper ratio and a structured schedule that rotates weekly to offer: swimming, art, dance, music therapy, yoga, group fitness, with a personal trainer, drama, cooking, and weekly special events (i.e., African Drumming, Mad Science, and Magic Show). Camp Jam offers participants the opportunity to participate in an enriching summer camp experience while developing skills, building friendships, staying active, and most importantly having fun!


For more information on YSN programs, contact Carolynn Kaufman, Director of Inclusion & Support Services at 203-920-1656 or [email protected]

Online Registration & Program Brochures