The Military Youth of the Year honor is a distinct component of the National Youth of the Year program. It recognizes a Club member served on a military installation who has overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments. To earn this honor, Club youth advance through local, state and regional competitions. After the Military Youth of the Year is named at an elite ceremony in Washington, D.C., in September, he or she advances to join the five regional Youth of the Year finalists from traditional Clubs to compete for the National Youth of the Year title. Military Youth of the Year honorees are living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.
Savannah faced many challenges as a young girl. In addition to multiple moves to multiple cities and dealing with her family members’ frequent deployments, she lost her natural mother to cancer at a young age. Needing a rock in her life, Savannah joined her Club, and spent time both before and after school getting to know the members and staff. There, she found the mentors she needed to develop a strong sense of self. At school, she became the track and cross country team captain, the lead manager for her school’s wrestling team, and joined the culinary club, school yearbook staff, and served as editor for her the school newspaper. She also served as secretary of the Moline Police Stoppers organization, while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.
Like many military youth, Elizabeth has moved numerous times throughout her childhood, relocating with her family to military installations in Japan, Florida, Texas, Germany and, currently, California. So many moves, along with her father’s deployment to Afghanistan, created social and educational obstacles for Elizabeth. She also suffered from chronic migraines. Needing a place to feel at home no matter where her family was based, Elizabeth joined her local Youth Center. There, she became active in Club activities and took on leadership roles. At school, she served as President of Future Business Leaders of America, President of Student2Student, and became a member of the National Honor Society, while maintaining a 4.7 GPA.
Looking to be part of something positive and productive after school, Kilana joined her first Club while living in Germany. When her family moved to Andrews Air Force Base, Kilana’s first action was to sign up at the Youth Center there. Like other children with one or more military parents, Kilana has experienced her share of uprooting, but this has only served to strengthen her character. At school, Kilana is the Varsity Volleyball Captain, Senior Editor of the yearbook, a National Honor Society member, a Unified Bocce Ball team member, a Student Ambassador, a member of the Wise Singers choral group, and has a 3.5 GPA.
A leader among his peers, Brendan joined his Club as a teenager after his family moved to Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. He quickly became an active member, participating in personal growth activities, working part-time and helping out at home, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA at Warner Robins High School where he is currently a senior.
After yet another military move, this time to Ft. Hood where her parents would now be stationed, Shakira was again forced to adapt to a new living environment. Following her mother’s deployment, Shakira found comfort in the installation’s Youth Center. There, she felt at home, quickly making new friends and engaging in new activities. As she overcame her challenges, she took on leadership roles both at her Club as well as at school, serving as Vice President of her school’s National Honor Society. She also became an active member of Student 2 Student and Student Council, while maintaining a 3.47 grade point average.
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