Youth of the Year Celebrates Win after Loss

by Donovan Jackson
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

7/11/2014 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Al. -- The Military Youth of the Year competition recognizes a youth center member who has demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments. For youth who go on to compete regionally while representing their bases, this can be a time of excitement and nervousness. For those who do not progress further in the competition, the experience can be an unpleasant one.

However, sometimes a youth enters the competition and loses, but still leaves feeling as more of a winner than when the initially entered.

Fifteen-year-old Kameron Moore was selected as the Maxwell-Gunter 2014 candidate to represent the bases at the Southeast Regional Military Youth of the Year celebration June 17-19 in Atlanta.

Although Moore represented Maxwell-Gunter admirably, she was not selected to progress in the competition.

Though she technically lost, Moore believes that she is still a winner.

"I absolutely feel as though I am a winner," said Moore. "I met a lot of amazing people who opened my eyes to a different experience, while informing me as to how they managed to overcome life obstacles and persevere."

Moore believes that there were two particular reasons as to why she did not progress in the competition.

"One reason as to why I think that I didn't win is due to my age. I was the youngest candidate there, and I felt like that was a major obstacle for me," she said. "The second reason is because even though I am technically a military child, I have not lived the typical military child lifestyle with a deployed parent or moving around the world every couple of years. My father is retired from the service and I have never experienced moving to different parts of the world or having a parent who was deployed, or having to make new friends. I have only experienced what I have seen within the youth center as far as friends moving or helping friends deal with deployed parents."

Gunter Youth Center counselor Latoya Box helped prepare and condition Moore for the competition, and since it's been over, Box says that she has seen progression and maturity in Moore's behavior.

"I have noticed numerous changes after her experience," said Box. "She has matured and become even more of a role model for her peers at the youth center. She is also more motivated to achieve the goals that she has set for herself. I am extremely proud of Kameron. She just amazes me every day with her spirit and resolve for her age."

Despite not progressing in the competition, Moore says that she has no regrets and believes that winning is a state of mind more than a title.

"I have absolutely no regrets because in my opinion winning is a state of mind more than it is an actual title or level of recognition," said Moore. "For example, if a person gives 100 percent of their effort into a competition and improves in a certain area, or performs better than they previously did, aren't they technically a winner as well? I may have not won the competition, but I did win an experience, I did win new friends, and I did win a new perspective on life and values. Three wins to one loss is something that I can certainly smile about."

As the Maxwell and Gunter youth centers prepare to begin their search for the 2015 YoY candidates, Moore wants her experience to be used as a learning and preparation tool.

"To next year's candidates, I would say, be open to new experiences," she said. "I did not initially realize the position of opportunity that I was in. Also, I would say, let your personality shine. Your information packet and speech are extremely important, but no one can teach you or train you to be yourself."