Today, the YCA mission is to prepare high school students to become Ambassadors of the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum (USOPM), Olympic City USA, and the Olympic movement at large.
YCA comes to life through an online essay competition designed to select student representatives from each high school, to participate in a one-of-a-kind youth leadership series that concludes with an international trip to the origins of the Olympic and Paralympic movement in Greece.
YCA participants venture into a journey of personal growth as they master skills such as critical thinking, public speaking, networking, branding, whilst learning about the Olympic and Paralympic movement.
In June 2014, the city of Colorado Springs CO, USA established a sister city relationship with Ancient Olympia, Greece with the assistance of Harris Kalofonos, and in a symbolic way solidified the argument for Colorado Springs to be branded as Olympic City USA. As a result of this initiative, and inspired by a conversation with the mayor of ancient Olympia about his positive experience with high school students in the role of ambassadors of the Olympic movement, Colorado Springs Sister Cities International, with the guidance of Harris Kalofonos, launched the Young Champion Ambassador Program (YCA) in late 2015.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum (USOPM) as of September 2019 has formally engaged with the Young Champion Ambassador (YCA) program. The new relationship aims to capitalize on the programmatic momentum and community engagement of YCA over the past four years throughout the Pikes Peak region. This cooperation will enhance the USOPM’s educational and community outreach initiatives as it prepares for public opening in the Spring of 2020.
Together, the USOPM and YCA will work to broaden the program to more high school students in the Pikes Peak region, enhance the leadership curriculum, engage YCA participants in USOPM activities, and expand YCA outreach to a statewide audience after 2020, as well as open opportunities nationally and internationally.
Since YCA’s inception in 2015 - we have engaged with every high school in our city, hosted numerous events and traveled to the birthplace of the Olympic Games several times.