The Hunting Outbursting Young Stars (HOYS) project performs long-term, optical, multi-filter, high cadence monitoring of 25 nearby young clusters and star forming regions. Utilising Gaia DR3 data we have identified about 17000 potential young stellar members in 45 coherent astrometric groups in these fields. Twenty one of them are clear young groups or clusters of stars within one kiloparsec and they contain 9143 Gaia selected potential members. The cluster distances, proper motions and membership numbers are determined. We analyse long term (about 7yr) V, R, and I-band light curves from HOYS for 1687 of the potential cluster members. One quarter of the stars are variable in all three optical filters, and two thirds of these have light curves that are symmetric around the mean. Light curves affected by obscuration from circumstellar materials are more common than those affected by accretion bursts, by a factor of 2-4. The variability fraction in the clusters ranges from 10 to almost 100 percent, and correlates positively with the fraction of stars with detectable inner disks, indicating that a lot of variability is driven by the disk. About one in six variables shows detectable periodicity, mostly caused by magnetic spots. Two thirds of the periodic variables with disk excess emission are slow rotators, and amongst the stars without disk excess two thirds are fast rotators - in agreement with rotation being slowed down by the presence of a disk.