In a press release announcing the selection, the club said “this honor celebrates teens whose club experience has empowered them to grow into stronger individuals and achieve success. The Youth of the Year title is the most prestigious club honor bestowed upon a young person. These individuals exemplify the Boys and Girls Club values and are proof of the impact clubs make in transforming young people’s lives.”
The Youth of the Year selection was made with the help of three community leaders who served as judges in the event: Drew LaPorte, Elaine Ruck and Ken Wandell. They interviewed four applicants after having reviewed their applications, which consisted of a personal questionnaire, three essays and letters of recommendation. All four competitors then gave a short speech.
After deliberation, Kylee was honored as the Elizabethton/Carter County 2019 Youth of the Year. A light reception followed. community leaders, Boys & Girls Club board members and member’s families attended.
Kylee is a freshman at Elizabethton High School, where she is a straight-A student enrolled in all honors courses. She serves as Student Government freshman vice president and Spanish Club president. She is also active in her church, where she volunteers in youth ministries. As her assistant principal wrote, “The most impressive part is she is all self-motivated and does all these things because she has a passion to make a difference in the Elizabethton community.”
She also consistently volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club and was selected in 2018 as a junior staff, a competitive role where teens go through an interview process and are selected to work in a club apprenticeship. Ginny Wright, the clubs’s chief executive officer, said Kylee was exactly the type of teen the club would want as a junior staff. Wright explained, “She took the position seriously and dedicated herself to the job, but just as important, she set the example for the other club members. She was hardworking, dependable, a true leader, and compassionate.”
Both in her Youth of the Year application and speech, Kylee showed a deep passion for helping children. “I will never give up on today’s youth. They deserve a chance to become the people this nation needs. We need to give them all the resources possible to help them succeed and to get on the right path.”
She spoke about being genuine, setting an example for others, and giving to those in need. Her essay focused on educational disparity and its impact on America, and Kylee stressed that she wanted to step up and provide quality educational resources to every young person, especially those in more challenging socio-economic environments. She said, “I want to change (the statistics). I want to make sure today’s youth isn’t behind because of their lack of income. Every kid should know the importance of a quality education and how it affects their life decisions.”
In March, Kylee will travel with club leadership to Nashville to participate in various State Youth of the Year activities.