2015 ReCap

Youth of Year 2014

(pictured left to right) Madisen Cork(Sedro-Woolley), Karen Gallardo(Anacortes), Heather Hernandez(Skagit Publishing), Ariana Shirley(La Conner), Justice Lively(Mount Vernon)

Congratulations to Justice Lively, our 2014 Youth of the Year! All the candidates did a fantastic job. We are so proud of them. Thank you to everyone in attendance for supporting our youth.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County Crown 2014 Youth of the Year

At the Inaugural Dinner with Friends of Skagit County, held at the Anacortes Boys & Girls Club on Thursday, January 29th, the 2014 Youth of the Year was announced at the end of an evening celebrating the accomplishments of Club members and staff.

Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been the premier recognition program through Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Targeting youth ages 14-18 for participation, Youth of the Year is an opportunity to develop essay creation and public speaking skills, learn to create a resume, and practice interview skills, preparing tomorrow’s leaders today. The process beings each fall with more than 4,000 Clubs around the country working with Club members on these skills, and each Club naming their own Youth of the Year, the highest honor a Club kid can achieve. During the winter, Clubhouse winners come together for the next phase of the program where they face a panel of judges who score the youth in five areas: Essays, Letters of Recommendation, Overall Application Quality, Speech, Interview.

The four youth in Skagit County, representing their respective Clubs of Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon, and Sedro-Woolley faced quite a formidable panel of judges – Don Wick of EDASC, Kati Collins from Key Bank, Tyler Steinman from Foothills Toyota, Captain Lou D’Amelio from the Anacortes Police Department, Dr. Rob Coffey representing the Mount Vernon School Board, Patsy Martin from Port of Skagit, David Bricka of the Country Meadows Village, Brian Hanrahan from the Anacortes School District, Joe Jones of Les Schwab Tire Center, Chief Lin Tucker from the Sedro-Woolley Police Department, Skagit Valley College President Dr. Thomas Keegan, and Mayor Jill Boudreau from Mount Vernon.

Karen Gallardo from Anacortes, Ariana Shirley from La Conner, Justice Lively from Mount Vernon, and Madisen Cork from Sedro-Woolley each represented their community with panache and in their speeches reflected on how the Boys & Girls Club had helped them to overcome obstacles and made a difference in their lives. For one, it was simply recognizing their pride in heritage as a member of the Samish Tribal Nation; for another, a positive place to make friends when self-esteem and mental health issues seemed to consume them.

Before the crowning of the Youth of the Year, Boys & Girls Clubs of America representative Lloyd Tolle spoke and recognized six Skagit County employees with National Service to Youth Awards – Angela Freeberg, Noah Bannister, John Garman, Taylor Bannister, Patrick Dougher, and Monica Oppel. The audience also enjoyed remarks from the 2013 Youth of the Year Bobby Castro who is currently attending Skagit Valley College, working toward his goal of becoming a Cardiothoracic Surgeon. The final moment of the evening was announcing the Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County, an honor bestowed upon Heather Hernandez of Skagit Publishing. As Justice Lively from Mount Vernon was called forward to accept his well-earned recognition, it was moving to see the four youth from the four Clubs come together in a celebratory group hug. This was not a competition, it was a life experience.

Preparations now begin for Mr. Lively as he moves forward in the program and participates in the Washington State event in March. He will come together with 14 other youth from all corners of the State and go through the process all over again. At minimum, he will earn $1,000 in scholarship money, but has an opportunity to be named Washington State Youth of the Year and continue on in the program to the Regional and National level. Five regional Youth of the Year travel to Washington DC in October for the final phase. While there, they meet with the President, attend a Congressional Breakfast in their honor, and enjoy a star-studded Gala featuring some of Boys & Girls Clubs’ most famous alumni including Denzel Washington, Jennifer Lopez, and Youth of the Year ambassador Misty Copeland.

Additional Photos can viewed on our Facebook Page.

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