Outstanding teens from seven Arizona Boys & Girls Clubs and military base youth programs competed for the highest state Club member honors
PHOENIX, Ariz. The Arizona Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs and presenting sponsor Fiesta Bowl Charities are proud to announce the selection of Bailey M. as the 2022 Arizona Youth of the Year. Bailey is a senior at Agua Fria High School and is a member of Avondale’s Bob Bové Branch of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley. Evie C., a sophomore from Catalina Foothills High School and a member of the Davis-Monthan AFB Youth Program was selected as the 2022 Arizona Military Youth of the Year.
The luncheon ceremony was held at the Arizona State Capitol with friends, Club staff, and many state legislators in attendance. Local legislators from the House and Senate met with the seven finalists to learn more about them and their plans for the future. All of the teens also had the opportunity to meet with Governor Doug Ducey for nearly one hour following the announcement.
Bailey, a 6-year member of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley’s Bob Bové Branch, a Thornwood Legacy, earned the top title after winning BGCAZ Youth of the Year in January 2022. He’s graduating this year and plans to attend Estrella Mountain Community College and study computer science.
Evie, the 2022 Arizona State Military Youth of the Year, joined the Club 3 years ago. She credits the Club with building her confidence and she’s an active member of Keystone, Girl Scouts, and many other community programs. She plans to attend the University of Florida in the future.
Selected from a field of 7 candidates from Boys & Girls Club organizations around the State, Bailey and Evie will receive $2,500 in scholarships and will go on to compete at the regional level in their respective categories. Regional winners move on to Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year competition.
In Bailey’s three-minute competition speech, he shared the difficult journey he and his siblings faced as young children. Ultimately, their grandparents were granted custody of the youth, and Bailey and his brother moved to Arizona with his grandmother. They found the Club when she was trying to find work and make ends meet. Bailey shared how the Club created a second family for him, and he’s looking forward to attending college in the Fall.
Evie also presented her speech to the large gathering. She reflected on the challenges and inspiring opportunities that come with being in a military family. Her family moved around to follow her father’s career and she found a home at her Club, and excelled in many community groups, including earning her Bronze and Silver Awards with Girl Scouts. “The Boys & Girls Club has helped me come out of my shell and has made me feel more comfortable with other people. I have learned more about my community and organizations from volunteering,” said Evie.
Cheyenne Walsh, partner of Compass Strategies Public Affairs and Board Chair for the Arizona Alliance and a member of the Board of Directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley emceed the event alongside 2021 Arizona Youth of the Year Vakentae Cooks, a freshman at Prescott College. Walsh said, “Every one of these teens is a winner. These Club kids have grown into positive community volunteers, great students, and kind young adults. They represent the very best of the 110,000 Club members around the State of Arizona.”
Kristina Chumpol, Senior Director of Community Relations of Fiesta Bowl Charities and herself the 2006 Arizona State Youth of the Year winner, announced this year’s recipients.
“Fiesta Bowl Charities is proud to support the State Youth of the Year Program for the Arizona Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs. As a sponsor for the last 20 years, we know the impact this program has on these young people – it is incredible. The members are incredibly inspiring with their perseverance and accomplishments. Boys & Girls Clubs are experts in youth development and through their programmatic work and relationships, they are making a true difference in these young people’s lives.”
All of the candidates previously competed at local levels to represent their individual Boys & Girls Club organizations before moving on to the state competition. Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year Program is a premier youth development recognition experience celebrating academic success, examples of leadership, and overall Club involvement. Teens must write multiple essays, participate in the interview process and deliver a three-minute speech highlighting the impact of their Club experience.
Congratulations to all of the Arizona State Youth of the Year candidates:
- Zander G., Boys & Girls Clubs of the Colorado River
- Anna V., Boys & Girls Clubs of Gila River Indian Community
- Sydney F., Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale
- Davonte M., Boys & Girls Clubs of Sierra Vista
- Mariah A., Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson
- Bailey M., Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley
Arizona Military Youth of the Year candidates:
- Evie C., Davis-Monthan AFB Youth Program
Special thanks to the Arizona State Youth of the Year judges:
- Michelle Pabis, Vice President of Government and Community Affairs at Honor Health
- Kaitlin Harrier, Senior Education Policy Advisor for the State of Arizona
- Alex Nash, Communications and Social Media Manager for Fiesta Bowl
- Brittany Fuentes, National Manager of Customer Care at Toyota AND
- Tom Boyle, Partner at Thalma, LLC
About the Arizona Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs:
The Arizona Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs (www.azabgc.org) is made up of 17 organizations from across the state, serving more than 114,000 kids and teens each year. The Alliance was formed in 2000 to increase the Club’s visibility in communities and to advocate for Arizona’s most vulnerable youth. Clubs offer programs and services promoting and enhancing the development of youth by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging, and influence. @AZABGC
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