In 1984, five members of the Society of American Magicians founded the Society of Young Magicians (S.Y.M.) to encourage young people between the ages of 7 and 17 (inclusive) to consider magic as a hobby. In 1988 the S.A.M. amended its Constitution to admit Young Members (Y.M.), and adopted the S.Y.M. as its youth program. All members of the S.Y.M. automatically became Y.M. of the S.A.M. The amendment paved the way to chartering the 31 already existing S.Y.M. Assemblies.
Today there are over 50 chartered S.Y.M. Assemblies, fully integrated into the S.A.M. All S.Y.M. Assemblies have adult S.A.M. Ieaders who provide guidance and magic instruction. Other activities include guest lecturers and special programs that provide members with an opportunity to perform. Leaders have access to an online forum where they can interact with fellow leaders to develop and share ideas. Some adult S.A.M. Assemblies allow Young Members to participate in their activities as well.
All Young Members are encouraged to participate in special activities at the annual S.A.M. National Convention: workshops/lectures, a professional show featuring S.Y.M. members, an autograph party with those magicians appearing at the convention, “Kids Doing Magic for Kids, and social activities—all in an area dedicated to the S.Y.M. members. Young Members also have the opportunity to participate in the Junior Category of the S.A.M. stage and close-up contests.
Young Members receive a membership card, membership pin, and an online monthly newsletter, The Magic SYMbol. The SYMbol is written especially for young magicians and features news about the youth program, and articles written by well-known adult magicians and by Young Members themselves. Also included in the SYMbol are easy-to-perform magic tricks and advice on how to grow and become proficient in the Art of Magic Theater.