• Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been Boys & Girls Club of America’s premier recognition program, celebrating Club members’ extraordinary achievements. Each year, one exceptional Club member is selected to be the National Youth of the Year. This person serves as an exemplary ambassador for Boys & Girls Club youth and as a strong voice for all of our nation’s young people.
  • The journey to being named National Youth of the Year begins locally and progresses to the state, regional and national levels. To achieve the title of Youth of the Year on any level, Club members must embody the values of leadership and service, academic excellence and healthy lifestyles. They should exemplify the critical impact Boys & Girls Clubs have on the lives of young people.

Program Outcomes

  • Youth of the Year is a year-round program that develops and inspires the next generation of America’s leaders. By engaging youth in meaningful character and leadership experiences, we prepare them for 21st-century leadership – tapping into their passion and their ability to solve problems and create positive change in their Clubs and communities.
  • Through the Youth of the Year leadership experience, young people develop basic leadership knowledge and skills to prepare them for success in 21st-century life and work settings. They gain a sense of their values, vision, purpose and passion – and they learn to make everyday choices that lead to positive results and contribute to the greater good.


  • The Youth of the Year Leadership Development Program builds teens’ leadership skills and abilities both in the Club and out of the Club. The program first guides youth through a series of activities to engage them in real-world leadership experiences, then fosters their leadership potential by encouraging them to reflect on, apply, practice and develop their leadership abilities at the Club, school, home and in the community. Through engaging, hands-on activities, participants explore essential topics such as: identity, passion, personal branding, voice, listening, teamwork, inclusion, mindset, goal setting, citizenship and purpose.
  • The second phase of implementation involves identifying candidates (Youth ages 14 to 18) who are interested in participating in the Youth of the Year selection process.
  • The winner of the local competition received a $1,000 College Scholarship from Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle.

Selection Process

  • One Teen member is selected from each Clubhouse (Mascaro & Remington) to compete in the local competition to determine who will represent the entire Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle organization and advance to the state and successive levels.
  • Each candidate completes their application and then stands in front a panel of 5 judges. These judges are New Rochelle stakeholders who are responsible for helping choose the best candidate to represent the Club.
  • There are four categories our candidates must complete work in
    • Candidate Essays: My Club Experience, What Matters to Me, Overcoming Obstacles.
    • Interview: Candidates must prepare for a 15-minute interview with judges.
    • Public Speaking: Candidates should be prepared to deliver a speech based on the content of their three application essays.
    • Overall Application Quality: Judges will assess each application- including cover letter, resume and letters of recommendation.
    • Each category is weighted at 25% and the judges work together to decide who would best represent the Club as our Youth of the Year.

Past Winners

  • Our Youth of the Year Program restarted in 2017 after 5 years of not facilitating this program. We have had 3 great Youth represent us in Albany these past years. Our 2019 Youth of the Year, Jesus Torres even came in 2nd Place in the New York State Competition and received over $3,000 in College Scholarships.

2022 BGCNR Youth of Year: Brian Penn
2021 BGCNR Youth of the Year: Giovanni Wellington
2020 BGCNR Youth of the Year: Juan Ruiz-Diaz
2019 BGCNR Youth of the Year: Jesus Torres
2018 BGCNR Youth of the Year: Bianca Harris
2017 BGCNR Youth of the Year: Juan Ruiz-Diaz