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Looking for Maxwell's youth of the year

Posted 11/2/2012   Updated 11/2/2012 Email story   Print story


by Donovan Jackson
Air University Public Affairs

11/2/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Al  -- Enabling young people to reach their full potential as caring, productive and responsible citizens has always been a primary mission of the Boys and Girls Club of America.

National programs held by the club such as the Youth of the Year Program have served as one of the many vehicles used for carrying out the club's mission. This is the first year military and civilian youth will compete in separate, but equal, categories.

The yearlong program utilizes the maturing cognitive and social skills of teenagers involved by implementing challenges, tasks and mentoring that help sharpen and refine those skills.

"I feel that the Youth of the Year Program would greatly benefit the teens on this base that choose to get involved by showcasing their leadership skills while building their confidence," said Robert Richert, director of youth programs at the Maxwell Youth Center. "I know that there are numerous productive and focused teenagers at Maxwell."

Through this contest, youth have the chance to earn scholarship money and develop networking skills. "Becoming active in the Youth of the Year Program made me feel really good and opened up a lot of doors for me," said Alfred Frazier, program director at the Gunter Youth Center.

"Although I was the 2008 Maxwell-Gunter winner, I initially didn't want to partake in the competition; however, Robert Richert convinced me that I should as it would only benefit my future, and he was right."

Applications will be accepted at Maxwell and Gunter youth centers through Dec. 7, and a local youth of the year will be selected by the end of January.

There will be five military youth selected from each region who will then compete at the next level competition at the Pentagon before the national Youth of the Year competition.

"The teens who decide to embark on this competition have a major opportunity to shine as an individual," said Sarah Cooper, programs director for the youth centers. "I feel that the Youth of the Year program could be considered a gateway to endless possibilities and opportunities."

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