Little SMYALs

What is Little SMYALs?

Little SMYALs is a group designed for LGBTQ youth ages 6-12 to find a safe(r) space to hang out and meet new people, access resources, and gain support.

During programs, we play games, read books, make arts and crafts, learn about the LGBTQ community and its history, and celebrate being wonderfully, uniquely ourselves!

In order to attend Little SMYALs, you must register in our SMYAL Youth Programs Portal and set up an account. Check out this guide to help get you started with our Programs Portal.

Upcoming Programs and Events

Little SMYALs FAQs

Who can attend Little SMYALs?

We welcome all youth ages 6-13 who identify as LGBTQIA+ or gender nonconforming and those who are exploring or questioning their identities. Through our virtual programming, youth may join from wherever they are located. However, in-person programming is based in Washington, DC. 

To best meet the needs of our youth, we have programs that are designed for 6 to 9-year-olds (who we call Unicorns) or 10 to 13-year-olds (who we call Rainbows). Some programs are open to youth of all ages 6 to 13. If your child is 13, they may choose to continue attending Little SMYALs programs or age up into SMYAL’s drop-in programs for youth ages 13+.

You know your child best, so feel free to select the programs that are the best fit regardless of age.

When and where does Little SMYALs meet?

There is a Little SMYALs group every week of the month! Programs meet every Wednesday and two Saturdays a month. Wednesday programs are hosted both virtually or in person, while Saturday Sessions are hosted in person. When you register for a Little SMYALs session, please double-check whether the program is being hosted online or in person.

If you plan to attend programming in person, please review SMYAL’s COVID-19 Safety Protocols.

Where should I begin?

We encourage youth to start on a day with a “Welcome to Little SMYALs” session. This is an opportunity for parents and caregivers to join their child for 20 minutes before the program begins to see the space, meet the staff, ask questions, and warm up in a more casual setting before the rest of the group arrives. Welcome to Little SMYALs is hosted:

  • In-person: Every 1st Saturday of the month from 9:30-9:50 pm ET
  • Virtual: Every 4th Wednesday from 5:00-5:20 pm ET

Can parents and siblings stay during programming?

We invite caregivers to attend a “Welcome to Little SMYALs” session to make sure their child is ready to participate in future programming. We then encourage caregivers to give their child some space to allow them to meet new friends and participate fully in this environment (some parents/caregivers have enjoyed getting coffee down the street together during in-person programs).

Note: Parents and caregivers are welcome to join us on field trips and special events.

How much does Little SMYALs cost to attend?

Little SMYALs is free of cost for all attendees.


Do I have to pre-register?

Registration is required for all Little SMYALs programs through our Programs Portal. To register for a program, click on the name of the program in the calendar above or directly through the Program Portal.

If this is your first you must set up an account in our Programs Portal and fill out a one-time intake form. Once you have registered, you will be able to sign up for individual programs, as well as update your own member information like name or address.

Click Here to Set Up an Account


Do you offer ASL access?

Little SMYALs now offers ASL interpretation during our Saturday in-person sessions through our partnership with Gallaudet University! Interpreters require at least 3 days notice of whether ASL services will be needed, so it’s highly encouraged to register as far in advance as possible. All interpreters are vetted for trans/queer competency and comfort with diverse pronouns.


Who leads Little SMYALs?


Ty Kitchen (they/them), Little SMYALs Programs Manager

Ty Kitchenis the Little SMYALs Programs Manager and has been at SMYAL since January of 2021. Ty is a nonbinary educator, youth worker, camp counselor, and queer advocate. Ty has a degree in education from Connecticut College and has been working with kids and teens in educational settings since they were a teen themself! Some of their favorite things include their dog (a little chihuahua named Turnip!), the show Steven Universe, watching plants grow, singing and dancing, and finding little bits of queer magic and joy in everyday life. Ty strives to create spaces where youth can be seen and empowered as their whole authentic selves, and can’t wait to meet you!

Sydney Calvelli (she/her), Little SMYALs Youth Fellow

As someone who was an openly queer teenager, Sydney knows how important it is to have positive queer role models. Sydney has always loved working with kids, and feels extremely grateful to be able to provide support to queer and trans youth. Some fun facts about Sydney are that she loves watching Avatar the Last Airbender, singing, and eating any dessert. Her favorite queer icon of all time is Lady Gaga, and she also loves the art of drag.

What should I bring?

We recommend bringing a water bottle and wearing whatever clothes make you feel your best! We try to be outside whenever possible, so please bring appropriate layers.