The Story of BYS
Originally named the Child Guidance Center of Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Youth Services (BYS) was founded on January 5th, 1962, when a group of concerned Islanders met to discuss the need for a local child counseling program to prevent “youth delinquency”.
At the time, youth counseling was only available in Bremerton, Washington. The local group partnered with the Bremerton Child Guidance Center (BCGC) and provided the space and support for BCGC to offer weekly professional services for youth on the Island.
In October 1970, the organization changed its name to The Bainbridge Center for Youth Services (BCYS) and expanded its mission to supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of youth up to 18 years of age.
Bainbridge Youth Services (BYS) was first housed in the Unitarian Fellowship Committee’s loaned office space, and subsequently shared space with numerous organizations, moving to Commodore Options School in 1995 and the 100 Building of Bainbridge High School in 2009. BYS renovated the space formerly occupied by Big Kids Day Care and moved into the current offices near the Aquatic Center in August, 2019.
Completely free confidential counseling, peer tutoring, and work opportunities are three of the main services BYS offers.
Here are landmark dates for BYS programs:
1982 – BYS starts a Jobs Board, a bulletin board outside the BYS offices where community members post job opportunities for local teens. The Jobs Board goes digital in 2009, passing along job opportunities via email.
1990 – BYS hires its own part-time counseling staff. The first clinical supervisor is hired in 2006.
2001 – BYS creates the Compassionate Action Celebration/Kids with a Heart Celebration. This award program recognizes youth in the community who give of themselves in a spirit of generosity.
2005 – BYS offers the Juvenile Diversion Program through a contract with the Kitsap Juvenile Court system.
2014 – The Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island and BYS team up to offer Summer Work Internships.
2014 – Peer Tutoring program and Tech Squad at the Senior Center begin.
2020 – The Career Exploration Initiative, a joint collaboration of BYS, The Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island and the online platform FindMino, offer young people Coffee and Careers, Job Shadows and Summer Work Internships.
BYS has enjoyed strong community support for many years. We sold jam at Town and Country Market from 1988-2019 and took over the annual BYS Fourth of July Fun Run in 1989.