Want to learn more? Check out our frequently asked questions and answers.

What is the mission of the Armory Youth Project?

The Armory Youth Project (commonly referred to as AYP or the Armory) is a not-for-profit organization that provides a safe environment where young people from grades 6-12 can build community and be encouraged in their educational, emotional, physical and Christian spiritual development. The Armory is located at 555 First Street in Manistee, MI.

What is the Armory’s vision?

The Armory’s vision is to create a flourishing youth culture in Manistee County where every person feels valued, finds a pathway to opportunity and has the tools to realize a more promising future.

Why was the Armory created?

The Armory was created to better support our Manistee County teens and their families. The need was highlighted via statewide statistics and a survey conducted by the Youth Advisory Council of the Manistee County Community Foundation.

Below are a few statistics we are working to help improve: 


As a result, concerned parents, community members, churches and organizations came together to respond in a real way with the Armory Youth Project also known as The Armory or AYP. 

Is the Armory a 501C3 non-profit organization?


How long has the Armory been opened?

The Armory successfully opened its doors in 2017 offering after-school and summer programming, mentoring/tutoring, art classes and substance free parties.  We continue to add and enhance programs based on feedback from our youth, parents and community partners. 

What kind of programs do you offer?

Our programs encourage self-confidence, concern for others and focus on a plan for the future of our youth.

We provide a safe and secure place for our youth to enjoy the following:

  • Daily snacks and nutritional meals

  • Cooking classes

  • Sports activities

  • Arts and crafts

  • Babysitting courses

  • Seasonal programming 

  • Classes including self-defense, archery and yoga

  • Personal support and development through mentoring, tutoring & homework support through HumanKind Michigan (a partnership with University of Michigan student volunteers).

What is AYP’s strategy for reaching the youth of Manistee County?

Our strategy is to develop best-in-class, age-appropriate programing by segmenting space and time at the Armory to meet the specific needs of youth at various ages.


How do you work with schools?

We collaborate with school administration, counselors and teachers to make students aware of the offerings and get continuous feedback on ways to improve programs and our operation. 

Do you offer transportation?

We collaborate with Manistee Area Public Schools and are a designated drop off. We work with Manistee County Dial A Ride to cover costs for students who need a ride home after our programs end. Our staff and volunteers are unable to provide transportation for students. 

How do you promote the programs so teens know what all is offered?

We currently use the Armory website, social media, and the Manistee News Advocate newspaper to promote our weekly happenings. Activities are also shared with local schools and area churches.

How are you different than other community youth programs?

We have the unique capability to provide physical, educational, emotional and spiritual activities all under one roof. We strive to partner with others to leverage this capability coupled with the strengths of other organizations and avoiding conflict with other youth programs.

Do you coordinate with other local agencies to ensure no overlap or gaps?

Yes. We currently work with many community partners on programming ideas and implementation in order to create a flourishing youth culture in Manistee County.

What is your relationship with Young Life?

We are collaborating with Young Life to bring their 80-plus year model to Manistee. We both have a passion for youth in Manistee and see an opportunity to work closely together to help us achieve the spiritual element of our mission without duplicating offerings. 

How have operations/programming evolved since first opening?

We added a kitchen so that we could serve meals and have expanded our programming to includes classes such as art, yoga and archery to name a few.  We will continue to evolve based on student, parent and community feedback.

Are you affiliated with a specific church?

No. AYP is a standalone 501C3 entity. It was created to support our Manistee County teens and their families. The Armory was purchased with donated funds raised through Faith Covenant Church and donors from Manistee County.  Today, we are a separate organization with no single church affiliation, but we endeavor to partner with all in the county.