Boys & Girls Club members participate in Youth of the Year contest

From left to right are Jahlil G., Sydney S., Hannah G., Courtney F., Bryce M., Jonathan R. and Herman B. Not pictured: Raegan M.

DELAND – On Feb. 6, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Volusia/Flagler Counties (BGCVFC) held its Youth of the Year (YOY) competition.

Out of safety concerns due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic, family and friends joined virtually all eight candidates, joined by their Boys & Club Unit Directors, participated at the Rossmeyer Family/Holly Hill Club while the judges, family, and guests joined virtually through Zoom. Simply Health-care sponsored the event.

The competition was judged by Judge A. Kathleen McNeilly of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court; Lynn Byrne, owner of 1st Realty and incoming BGCVFC board president; and Stephanie Lerrett, SVP, Marketing & Community Relations  at  Avalon Park Group.

Each candidate was judged on specific criteria including a candidate essay, a personal interview with the judges, a public speaking segment and the review of the quality of each candidate’s application. The judges completed their assessment, and the winner of the Youth of the Year competition will be announced at the annual meeting on Feb. 17. The winning youth will go on to compete at the State level with other Florida Boys & Girls Club Youths of the Year.

New Smyrna Beach Unit Director Oretha Bell and Youth of the Year Co-Chair Kim Brown shared, “It was powerful and inspiring to hear the messages our eight candidates delivered. Each one conveyed a speech of hope that will empower and inspire them to pursue their dreams. We are so proud of these young women and men who represent their clubs and community so honorably.”

The 2021 Youth of the Year participants are:

  • Sydney S. – Lacey Family/Spring Hill Club
  • Raegan M.– Rymfire Club in Palm Coast
  • Jahlil G. – Jeep Beach/Edge-water Club
  • Herman B. – John H. Dickerson Club in Daytona
  • Bryce M. – Rossmeyer Family/Holly Hill Club
  • Jonathan R. – Harris Saxon Club in Deltona
  • Hannah G. – Oretha Bell/ New Smyrna Beach Club
  • Courtney F. – Mid Florida Jeep/Lake Helen Club

TJ Rivera, unit director of the Harris Saxon Club, and the other YOY co-chair stated that “I’m honored to be part of this great event, listening to each of the YOY’s accomplishments, leadership, service, academic excellence, and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. This process inspires and motivates me to help them grow. Congratulations to all the youth of the year candidates. We are so proud of you all.”

The journey to being named National Youth of the Year begins locally and progresses to state, regional and national levels. Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating the achievements of Club members.



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