Boys & Girls Club Hosting Youth of the Year Competition
Annual Statewide Competition Moves to Virtual Format
Submitted by Deann French
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Illinois are announcing plans to move forward with the annual Youth of the Year competition by adapting to a virtual format. The Youth of the Year award represents the Boys & Girls Clubs highest honor, recognizing an exemplary club member for accomplishments in service, academics and overall leadership.
"Youth of the Year is the Boys & Girls Club premier leadership and recognition program for teens. Each year, thousands of Club teens participate in local, state and regional Youth of the Year events," said Illinois Alliance Director Bryan Soady. "I commend the Illinois Area Council for making the necessary adjustments to keep this event on schedule."
"In light of COVID-19 restrictions, we have made arrangements to conduct the Illinois Youth of the Year competition virtually" said Illinois Area Council President Marty Slusarz of the Cicero, Illinois Club. "These outstanding teens exemplify the best of Illinois Clubs. They work extremely hard to get to the state competition, and we are happy to provide the platform they have earned to share their inspirational stories."
The State competition, sponsored by IlliniCare Health, will be held April 22. Judges will have the opportunity to hear and see each candidate's story of personal development. At the end of the competition, one club member and one military club member will be chosen to represent Illinois Boys and Girls Clubs in the Midwest Regional Youth of the Year Celebration scheduled for July 23 in Chicago. At press time Boys and Girls Clubs sending a representative to the state competition include: Pekin, Southern Illinois, Alton, Chicago, Livingston County, Rockford, Union League, Dundee Township, Bloomington-Normal, Mississippi Valley, Danville, Bethalto and Scott Air Force Base.
"IlliniCare Health's support of the Illinois Alliance of the Boys & Girls Club through its Youth of the Year Illinois competition is an extension of our commitment to community partners that are dedicated to a holistic approach to wellness" said Kimberly Foltz, CEO of IlliniCare Health. "We recognize that complete well-being involves more than just physical health and it's critical that we support organizations whose work help people in the community to achieve total health."
"Fifty-four percent of club alumni say the Club saved their life," said Soady. "The Youth of the Year is a large part of the Boys & Girls Club mission and empowers Club kids to speak directly to the impact Clubs make in transforming and saving their lives."
Six teens, five regional winners and a national military youth winner, advance from the regional competitions to Washington, D.C., for the National Youth of the Year Gala & Celebration Dinner on October 6, where one outstanding young person is named Boys & Girls Clubs of America's national teen spokesperson.
The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs' Movement in Illinois is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Boys & Girls Clubs serve nearly 80,000 youth throughout Illinois - from Genesee to Carbondale and Moline to Danville. With Clubs located in large urban areas such as Chicago, mid-sized cities such as Springfield and smaller communities such as Bethalto, Clubs support youth who need us most and face many different challenges. Boys & Girls Clubs' proven youth development model supports the needs youth have in common, such as the need to succeed academically, while allowing local Clubs to tailor their programs and activities to the specific needs of their community's youth and families. Learn more at http://www.bgcillinoisalliance.org/