The Boys and Girls Club of West Central Missouri will host the local Youth of the Year awards at State Fair Community College on Thursday night.

BGCWCM says Youth of the Year is a national program designed to promote and recognize service to the Club and community, academic performance and contributions to family and spiritual life.

To be named Youth of the Year is considered the highest honor a Club member can have.

Competition begins with each Club site nominating a Youth of the Year in three age categories – Elementary, Junior and Teen – who all receive a certificate and medallion. The program culminates at a special Youth of the Year event, during which each nominee reads an original essay about what Boys & Girls Club means to them and are judged by a panel of local judges.

While Elementary and Junior categories are honored, only the Teen winner goes on to compete at the state level. The local Teen winner also receives a $1,000 scholarship, courtesy of State Fair Community College and Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri.

The 2018 Youth of the Year event will take place January 18 at the Stauffacher Theatre in State Fair Community College, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The State Youth of the Year competition will then take place in late spring in Jefferson City. The state winner then competes at the regional level and regional winners compete at the national level.

Randy Kirby