Boys & Girls Club of America’s Youth of the Year program recognizes outstanding contributions of club members between the ages of 14-18 to their family, school, community, Boys & Girls Club, and for overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. Becoming a youth of the year is the highest honor a club member can receive. The Youth of the Year program was founded over 60 years ago and was generously sponsored locally by BASF, Walmart, PSEG, PNC Bank, Healthfirst NJ and Shoprite. This year 21 teens were chosen to represent their local club in the State Youth of the Year competition held at the Trenton Marriott on May 22nd. The NJ Youth of the Year program began in January with leadership training where youth participated in skill building workshops that prepare them for the competition. In April youth of the year finalists participated in mock interviews and received tips to improve their public speaking and communication skills. The day culminated in a team building trip to Great Adventure. Throughout the year youth worked with mentors and coaches at their local Clubs to build on their strengths. Through generous support from Walmart, youth of the year finalists were treated to a shopping spree where they were able to purchase a new outfit for the competition. In May members were honored at a legislative lunch sponsored by Cablevision. At the legislative lunch youth had the opportunity to meet with state legislators and tour the Statehouse. Several participants were taped for an episode of “Meet the Leaders.”
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