The YMCA Intern Challenge presented by Rockford University is a summer-long elimination challenge focused on developing leadership, teamwork, and communication skills in young adults. Put on by the YMCA of Rock River Valley, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to challenge your potential and discover your passions in an environment of safety and support.

Intern Challenge Video Library

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! Every week interns are paid a $100 stipend as well as $50 to the winning team leader. Also, the 1st place intern at the end of the summer receives a $1,500 college scholarship and the option of a summer-long paid internship with the YMCA of Rock River Valley worth up to $5,000. Second place receives a $1,000 college scholarship and third place receives a $500 college scholarship.

Most Saturdays and Sundays are designated as off with exceptions for special events and challenges.

Hours vary based on the requirements of challenges, however we recommend setting at least 25 hours aside each week to complete the challenges.

Contestants must be between 16 and 24 years of age and currently attenting high school or college.

The YMCA Intern Challenge lasts for 6 weeks over the summer.

We’ve modeled this program after the hit show the Apprentice. Like the show, contestants will be split into teams to complete weekly challeges presented by various businesses. At the end of the week one team will be declared the winner and there will be at least one person eliminated from the competition based on performance throughout the challenge.

Mondays start with the week’s challenge and the dividing of teams. Teams then have until their presentation on Friday morning to work together to complete the challenge. Time management and team collaboration is up to contestants during the week.

You will receive a confirmation e-mail upon submitting your application. We will only call applicants we choose to interview.

Former Contestant Testimonials

Carly Kasicki

Intern Challenge Contestant

“I learned a lot of things from the YMCA Intern Challenge. I learned a lot about professionalism - how I’m supposed to dress for meetings and how I should arrive early, not necessarily on time. I also learned that I should never walk out of a situation saying ‘good enough.’ I need to walk out of every situation knowing I gave it my all and that it was my best work.”

Dalton Morris

Intern Challenge Contestant

“You could say that I actually found my confidence through the Intern Challenge. Before the Challenge, I was a guy who was too afraid to go in and pay for the gas for his car, but now if you ask me to go call 20 realtors, I can do that. The challenge was a lot more than I expected and it adjusted my career path a bit. I actually found an opportunity that I’m really looking into at the College of Medicine and through that I want to do some research about regenerative medicine.”

Thank You to Our Sponsors

SupplyCore   University of Illinois College of Medicine
Trotter Manufacturing Rockford Public Schools
Stillman Bank Aqua-Aerobic Systems
DaVinci Industries Blackhawk Area Council, Boy Scouts of America
Rockford IceHogs Manpower
Thayer Lighting Northwest Bank
Community Foundation of Northern Illinois  


If you have any questions or would like some more information on any topic relating to the YMCA Intern Challenge, please feel free to email us at or give us a call at (779) 500-0800.