Electronic Sports, or Esports, takes on the form of organized, multiplayer online video game competitions and is one of the fastest growing trends for youth engagement.

Through the Y’s Esports program, youth are welcome to be who they are, excel at what they love, and develop the social, strategic and problem-solving skills necessary to grow into thriving adults all in a safe, moderated and inclusive environment.

Esports At The Y Promotes



Games often involve working together on a team to complete a task, goal or objective. Players must be able to differentiate when to take the lead and when to follow for the overall good of the group.




Teams are successful when there is a leader offering guidance and delegating tasks. Leaders can shift from minute to minute in fast-paced games, and players should be ready to take on the challenge.




Games are moderated by an adult at all times in a safe and inclusive environment. All identities will be known of everyone who is playing together, eliminating the “stranger danger” that is often seen in online communities.




Of course, playing on a team develops social skills, working in a group and more, but not every game will be a team cooperative. At times, players will need to rely on their own skills, which helps boost confidence. There is multitude of opportunity for youth to grow and thrive.




All players can come to the table with the same set of skills and opportunity. Playing behind the screen eliminates bias and any preconceived notions players may have for or against one another. Instead, we promote a positive, inclusive environment where everyone can succeed.



Frequently Asked Questions

Competitive video games or electronic sports (Esports) have boomed in popularity in recent years and have become the next big thing in youth recreation. Esports includes all forms of online multiplayer video game competitions

Esports has been featured multiple times on the national recreation and parks association website as a “next big thing”. The YMCA wants to take advantage of our resources and offer a similar program to the greater La Crosse community for youths and possibly adults to get involved in Esports and competitive gaming. According to the national alliance for youth sports around 90% of kids aged 12-17 regularly play some type of video game. The YMCA looks to take those kids into account and provide a brand new exciting and fun program for them.

Signing up will be identical to signing up for any existing YMCA program.

Esports can create positive personal development through games and team sports for those who are not included in traditional sports now can experience. Sport is a popular context for this positive youth development providing a place for participants to feel safe both psychologically and physically, develop relationships, find a sense of belonging, and building skills. In sport, youths can work with mentors and leaderships figures, allowing them to learn vital skills such as persistence and teamwork. Exposing youths to this type of environment has been shown to increase social skills, self-initiative, and increased self-perception. This can lead to long-term benefits in career achievements and networking.

Programmed esports is different than causal gaming in the same way playing baseball in the backyard is different than playing in your local little league. The Esports program is organized competition against other YMCA teams either locally or against other YMCAs around the area or possibly around the country due to the internet capabilities of the program.

Your child will learn important values such as communication, teamwork, and leadership that they can use in the future. Additionally, in an increasingly technologically dependent world, Esports can teach important lessons such as internet safety, how to use program interfaces, and troubleshooting computer problems. Esports is a vehicle to teach lessons that kids could not learn from other sports, all while allowing them to explore their interests and develop relationships with their peers.

The YMCA Esports area is equipped with iBuypower PCs, 27” LG ultra-gear monitors, Nintendo Switches, and artics 5 S steel series headsets. Bringing own equipment is allowed but not necessary.

Practices and matches will work as the same as other youth sports where on to be determined days kids will be able to play in our Esports arena and practice their skills against other members in the program in team scrimmages. Matches will be set up through our partner company League Spot which other YMCA programs use to have matches against their teams o.

  • Improved hand-eye coordination
  • Improved attention & visual acuity
  • Improved basic visual processing and executive function
  • Problem-solving & strategy skill development
  • 71% of parents report gaming having net positive effects for children
  • Boosts self-confidence and player socialization
  • 54% of gamers say gaming helps them connect with friends
  • At least 30 Wisconsin high schools participate in the Wisconsin high school esports association 
  • In the span of just five years, over 125 higher education institutions have created varsity collegiate Esports programs including UW-Stout, North Central tech in Wausau, and Edgewood college in Madison 
  • More than thirty U.S. colleges and universities offer scholarships for gamers