All USACYC programming adheres to the following philosophies and principles of youth engagement:
- Youth programming should be youth-governed and youth-controlled,
- Peer learning is the most empowering form of education,
- Youth programming should not remove its participants from general programming,
- Understanding the potential of our shared youth identity in movement spaces is powerful,
- Participatory programming (e.g. caucus format) is a direct way to learn how to practice democracy, and
- Greater youth participation in cooperative spaces is mutually beneficial for both the young cooperativists and the larger cooperative movement.
USACYC provides various types of programming and initiatives for its members in line with these principles. On an annual basis, USACYC runs a number of programs that teach participatory democracy, develop leadership skills, as well as convene youth to build relationships, strategize, and plan.