On March 21st through March 24th, 13 finalists from across WA state competed to be the next WA State Youth of the Year and WA State Military Youth of the Year.
The multi-day leadership development event kicked off at the Tumwater Club of Boys & Girls Clubs of Thurston County, with pizza, icebreakers and “getting to know you.” The finalists got to experience virtual reality headsets courtesy of the Workforce Development staff from Boys & Girls Clubs of King County. The VR tech allowed the teens to explore different careers and pasttimes.
On Wednesday, March 22nd, finalists and their Club advisors and CEOs gathered at the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia for a breakfast reception. Rep. Sam Low. R-39 (pictured below), who won WA State Youth of the Year in 1988, spoke about his experience at his Club in Everett and in the Youth of the Year program. Governor Inslee made a special appearance and spoke about his time as a member of the Boys’ Club before honoring Dalilah Fuentes from Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties with the Community Service Award. Many youth got a chance to network with their legislative delegations, and posed for a commemorative photo with our First Lady, Trudi Inslee.
After breakfast, teens gathered at TVW for a tour of the station and to learn more about their vital coverage of the legislative process. Later that morning, the HR team at WSECU welcomed the finalist for a workshop on important job interview skills.
Wednesday night, the 13 finalists took a limo ride around Seattle. Every year, without fail, this limo ride is the turning point in the competition. It’s the point where the youth form bonds that last beyond the event. They posed for photos at Kerry Park (pictured below).
The big day arrived on Thursday. Finalists met at Bell Harbor on the Pier for a luncheon with judges where they presented their speeches. Individual interviews with judges representing WA State businesses and public agencies followed.
Over 250 guests attended the Celebration Dinner later that night and at the end of the night celebrated Dalilah F. of Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties as the 2023 WA State Youth of the Year and Cecilia S. of Naval Base Kitsap as the 2023 WA State Military Youth of the Year. Congratulations Dalilah and Cecilia! And congratulations to all the finalists for all they’ve accomplished and for sharing their stories!
The festivities continued on Friday with an Alumni lunch gathering at MoPOP in Seattle. Current and past YOY alumni came together to celebrate and catch up, sharing stories and experiences. We’d like to thank our judges and our sponsors for allowing us to host such a successful event!