we are the men we've been waiting for
WE’RE THE VILLAGE YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR
In the year 2000, with the generous support of many great men and women in the Bay Area, the nonprofit, Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend, was created. Those men who served on the first Board of Directors - all busy with work and families – were invaluable in the development of the organization. These dedicated men include Steven Smulewitz, John Zeiter, Corey McKinley, Mitch DeArmon, Jim Bratrud, Stuart Fischback, Ted Turina and Mark Schillinger.
Our mentors are ready to serve as guides for your son after they’ve participated in our extensive training program with the YMUW Leadership team. These men are united in their high regard for the values YMUW espouses: respect, intelligence, gallantry, celebration and integrity.
The YMUW boasts an approximate one to one ratio of volunteers to young men, which exceeds the guidelines from the California Mentoring Foundation. The YMUW has been helping young men prepare for their adult life since the year 2000 and has seen approximately 3500 young men, just like your son, graduate from the program.
HELP US, HELP THEM
Volunteering to serve on production at the YMUW is a hugely rewarding, educational and fun experience, open to all men over the age of 21. Hundreds of volunteers - from all walks of life - have helped YMUW at approximately 50 weekends since the year 2000.
It's hard work, but you'll probably never have a better experience working with a large group of men devoted to each other’s success and well-being. The reward for your service is experiencing accelerated personal growth for yourself, while helping the next generation of young men enjoy meaningful and productive lives.
Checkout some videos of our volunteers and what they say about working with YMUW.
Get in touch to find out more about volunteering.
Listen to our volunteers reveal their experiences:
The Young Men's Ultimate weekend has been successfully run for 18 years and has seen more than 2500 Young Men graduate.
We are a non-profit staffed entirely by volunteers devoted solely to helping young men succeed in the modern world.
“I witnessed the young men move forward - out of adolescence and into the world as productive, accountable, compassionate and respectful young men towards themselves, their families and peers.”
Adrianne Lommel - Newton, former YMUW Secretary
"Volunteering as a mentor (twice) and a cook (once) at YMUW have been some of my favorite experiences of my adulthood. By supporting the transformation of those young men, I was given the great gift of serving others transformation. It’s an awesome and joyful journey that I recommend to any man, and every man."
Lion Goodman, YMUW Volunteer
"I've been volunteering for the YMUW Product Staff for 10 years and I cannot imagine any more rewarding service for an adult male. One of reasons I've been coming back to YMUW year after year is that I am always amazed to be witness to the magic of watching a rowdy group of young men start the Weekend and come out transformed into a loose, happy bunch two days later.”
Brad Brown, YMUW Volunteer
In addition to our own programs, YMUW has made notable contributions to other organizations as well. Under the guidance of Steven Smulewitz, Jim March and Mitch DeArmon, our volunteers built a log cabin home on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota for Grandpa Chipps, a descendent of the medicine man for Chief Crazy Horse.
Corey McKinley, led our volunteers in a restoration project at the shelter of the Marin Abused Women's Services.
Alan Hill organized volunteers and traveled to the California Youth Authority in Stockton California, presenting an unforgettable mentoring program for incarcerated young men.
Brian Hunter has been working with Uplift Family Services (Los Gatos, CA), an organization that aids children, adolescents and families at all levels of need.
Since 2004, YMUW has hosted Operation Elf, which collects and delivers holiday
presents to families in need.
The entire community of YMUW volunteers, Board members, parents and young men are deeply saddened by the recent passing of our leader, Fred Vesey. Fred’s ability to connect with people quickly and deeply, created relationships that earned him the respect and loyalty of everyone who knew him.
At the Ultimate Weekends, Fred would challenge men when they did not give their best, and praise them when they did give their best. Regardless of the ruthless honesty Fred always showed them, the men always knew Fred’s intention was to help them become happier and better men. The volunteers always gave their best efforts to caring for the young men, as well as for each other, because of their desire to “win” for Fred.
Thank you, Fred, for always being the man we aspire to be.
YMUW co-founder, Steven Smulewitz, passed away at the age of 60 years old in 2021. Without Steven there would no YMUW. From the very beginning of YMUW he took responsibility for all of the administrative and organizational things that YMUW needed in order to become a non-profit and maintain that status. He was the one person who tirelessly handled so many of the behind-the-scene tasks.
Until his passing, he served as the YMUW Board Treasurer. He also held the responsibility of being the Board President for a number of years.
He often served as the YMUW Production Team Manager. That job required him to oversee the entire YMUW event, including the well-being of the young men and the volunteers. Hundreds of volunteers served under Steven’s leadership at the YMUW. Every single one of those men would tell you that when Steven was certain about something, he would find a way to make it happen.
The volunteers knew that Steven appreciated their efforts, and that he loved to mentor them. He always wanted to empower the men, and he instilled a sense of confidence in the men that he connected with.
One of Steven’s nicknames with the volunteers was, “Huge”.
He will be forever remembered as the huge presence and force that he was in YMUW.