2014 Youth of the Year Winner Announced

Selected from 18 outstanding local youth from Snohomish, Island, and Kitsap Counties, Erika R. Aguilar of Oak Harbor was named the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County 2014 YOUTH OF THE YEAR at an Awards Dinner on Thursday, January 29 at Rosehill Community Center in Mukilteo. Erika had already been named the Oak Harbor Club Youth of the Year. Although Oak Harbor is in Island County, the Club is one of 19 under the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County (BGCSC) umbrella. Erika was awarded a $1,500 scholarship.

Erika 2x3The Youth of the Year program begins at the Club level as each BGCSC Club selects their Youth of the Month. A finalist from each Club competes to become the BGCSC Youth of the Year. Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can obtain. As Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. Youth of the Year encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities. Youth of the Year honorees are living proof that great futures start at the Boys & Girls Club.

“Erika started off as a Club member in 6th grade. She has grown from someone who was very isolated, to a staff member who works with and interacts with all youth in our Club. She coordinates our kindergarten program, and volunteers countless hours at the Club,” said Nikki Barone, Unit Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Oak Harbor.

Erika expressed that as a youngster she was anti-social and angry at everything and everyone. Getting involved at the Club and having Club staff on her side helped her make friends and overcome her negative attitude. She struggled academically, and entered middle school with a third grade reading level. However, she was able to defeat her academic struggles because of Club staff help and tutoring during the Club’s Power Hour program. Erika indicated that the Club has shown her the importance of staying focused on her education so she could have a better future.

“Erika is a great example to our Club kids as someone who has utilized all of the Club’s resources to point her in the direction she wants to go in life,” shared Nikki. “She is a very motivated young woman, self-driven to succeed in school and life. She believes her education has been very important to her success. Erika attended Oak Harbor High School, graduating ahead of schedule with Honors and a 3.65 GPA. She currently attends Skagit Valley Community College, pursuing a Medical Assistant degree.”

Erika will go on to compete at the Washington State level against Youths of the Year from Boys & Girls Clubs across the state. Winners each receive a $1,000 scholarship and participate in regional competitions. Five regional winners each receive a $10,000 scholarship and compete on the national level. The National Youth of the Year receives up to an additional $50,000 scholarship and the opportunity to meet and be recognized by the President of the United States.


A complete list of the BGCSC 2014 Youth of the Year Candidates are as follows:

Abdalah Badjan (Alderwood Club); Joe Zak (Arlington Club); Samuel Agyei (Cascade Club); Raechel Kundert (Coupeville Club); Jacquelyn Lovelace (Edmonds Club); Rhiann Flores (Everett Club); McKayla Olson (Granite Falls Club); Katelyn Hall (Lake Stevens Club); Madison Brewer (Marysville Club); Kayla Steltz (Monroe Club); Trevor Gray (Mukilteo Club); Ben Pirtle (North Kitsap Club); Erika R. Aguilar (Oak Harbor Club); Meghan Boob (Snohomish Club); Alexis Alamillo (S. Everett/Mukilteo Club); Joseph Schmidt (Sultan Club); Ocean Holscher (Trailside Club); Angelica Trinidad (Tulalip Club)

Judges for the event were Terry Ackley, Tania Halladay, Dominic Ivankovich, Noni LaLone, Bill Rucker, and Preston Simmons.

Congratulations 2013 BGCSC Youth of the Year and to all the Club YOY Nominees


Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County’s Youth of the YearSpencer Graham candid
Spencer,  Alderwood Boys & Girls Club Boys

A senior at Meadowdale High School, Spencer has been a member of the Alderwood Club for nine years. He is a lifeguard at the Lynnwood Pool and a member of his high school swim team.  He has been a Counselor in Training for summer camp at the Club and is currently the president of the Keystone Club. He plans to attend Edmonds Community College next year.

Abigale, Arlington Boys & Girls ClubAbigale Nolan candid

Abby is  a senior at Granite Falls High School and has been a member at the Arlington Club for nine years. She is active in many school activities, her church, and is employed part time at the Club. After high school, Abby plans to attend college to get her degree in nursing, specializing in neonatology.

Ford, Cascade Boys & Girls ClubFord Jensen Candid

Ford is a sophomore at Cascade High School and has been a member of the Cascade Club since 2010.Coming to the Club has allowed him to explore his skills in communication and his academics. Ford would like to go into the computer programming field and is excited to make a difference in his community.

Bree, Coupeville Boys & Girls Club

Bree Daigneault CandidBree is a freshman and has been a member of the Coupeville Club for six years. Bree is active in cheerleading, soccer, tennis, yearbook and is on the Honor Roll. Bree’s favorite thing about the Club is witnessing the kids grow up. She has volunteered many hours to help both the Club and the community she lives in.

Shawn Fuller CandidShawn, Granite Falls Boys & Girls Club

Shawn is a freshman at Granite Falls High School and although he is new to Granite Falls, he has been a Club member since first grade. He enjoys coming to the Club and helping younger club members with daily activities. He also loves video games, riding scooters and meeting new people.

Courtney, Lake Stevens Boys & Girls Club Courtney Ellis Candid

Currently a senior at Lake Stevens HS, Courtney will be attending Everett Community College in the fall. A Club member since 2006, she has done over 700 hours of community service by volunteering both at the hospital and the Club. Currently serving as staff, she has been an amazing mentor to the kids and always tries to make homework time fun and educational.

Makayla Belew CandidMakayla, Marysville Boys & Girls Club  

Makayla is an eighth grader at Marysville Middle School. She loves to play volleyball and be a part of her leadership class. One day, Makayla wants to go to the University of Washington where she can study to become a pediatrician and work for Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Amanda, Monroe Boys & Girls Club Amanda Lee Candid  

Amanda Lee has been an integral part of the Monroe Club for over 5 years. She is very involved in Club sports, the teen program, and volunteers with the younger members. She is also active in school sports and still manages to maintain an “A” and participate in National Honor Society.

Robert Reinata CandidRobert, Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club

Bobby has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club since he was six years old. He is a senior at Everett High School. After graduation in June, Bobby would like to start working in the grocery business. Bobby’s dream is to one day be a business owner.

Erika, Oak Harbor Boys & Girls ClubErica Aguilar Candid

Erika is a senior at Oak Harbor High School and has been a member of the Oak Harbor Club for six years.  Upon graduation, Erika has the option of joining the military or attending Skagit Valley Community College.  Her career choice is Forensic Psychology, and she plans on one day becoming a Criminal Investigator.

Morgan David CandidMorgan, Snohomish Boys & Girls Club 

Morgan is a senior at AIM High School and has been a Club member for 5 years. During that time, she has participated in SMART Girls, Torch Club, Fine Arts Fair, Cool Girls in Aerospace, Day in Olympia, and is now a staff member. Morgan’s kindness, sense of responsibility, and gentle personality make her a great example to others.

Malia, S Everett/Mukilteo Boys & Girls Club Malia Jones Candid

Malia has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club for seven years. She has been an active participant in the after school and summer drop-in program, teen program, Torch Club, and SMART Girls. Malia enjoys playing basketball, dancing, and singing. In the future she hopes to become a professional hair stylist.

Ruby Zamora CandidRuby, Sultan Boys & Girls Club

Ruby is a junior at Sultan High School. Her kind heart and positive attitude have made her a valued member at the Club since the 5th grade. She is a part of the National Honor Society and referred to as the “peppiest” cheerleader on her squad. Ruby’s desire to help others has influenced her life goal of becoming a Kindergarten teacher or working in the field of orthodontia.

Arely, Trailside Boys & Girls Club Arely Diaz-Cuevas Candid

Arely enjoys making people smile because it shows her she’s having a positive effect on them. Her goals are to finish school, get a good job, make people proud, and have them look up to her. Arely likes the Trailside Club because she gets to collaborate with kids, who she thinks are fun to be around and she likes helping them.

Samantha Marteney CandidSamantha, Tulalip Boys & Girls Club

Samantha is a sophomore at Heritage High School in Tulalip and has been a Club member for nine years. She plays volleyball and is a cheerleader for football and basketball.  She plans on attending Northwest Indian College after graduation.  Samantha loves helping youth at the Club and wants to work with special needs children.

Thank you to the Medina Foundation for their grant of $20,000 to BGCSC

LEGO Robotics“The Medina Foundation is a family foundation that works to foster positive change in the Greater Puget Sound area,” and through a $20,000 grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County, they are helping to create positive change in the lives of our members.

This grant will help BGCSC achieve the three organizational outcomes:  Academic Success; Good Character & Citizenship; and Healthy Lifestyles. The goal with the Academic Success outcome is for youth to graduate from high school ready for college, trade school, military, or other employment. In support of this outcome, Clubs implement community-specific and organization-wide programs including Project Learn, a mentoring and tutoring program, and Power Hour, a homework help program.

The Good Character & Citizenship outcome focuses on encouraging youth to become engaged citizens involved in the community, register to vote, and model strong character. For this outcome Clubs implement a Youth of the Year program as a leadership and character-building opportunity; Torch Club, a leadership and service program for youth age 11-13; and other volunteer and civic-engagement opportunities.

The third priority outcome, Healthy Lifestyles, focuses on adopting a healthy diet, practicing healthy lifestyle choices, and making a lifelong commitment to fitness. To achieve this outcome, Clubs offer a variety of fitness and recreational programs and implement the SMART Moves Series, a drug and premature sexual activity prevention program, and Triple Play, a comprehensive wellness program that encourages daily physical activity, nutritious food consumption, and healthy choices. Thank you, Medina, for helping youth in Snohomish County reach their potential!

The Employee’s Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound Helps Kids Get Around

ECF6 Thank YouEVERETT, February 25, 2014. The Employee’s Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound recently awarded BGCSC a grant of $40,000 to provide vans for the South Everett/ Mukilteo and Everett Clubs. The Everett and South Everett/Mukilteo Clubs each have one van that is used to pick up kids after school and bring them to the Clubs. Both Clubs must make multiple trips per afternoon, and some kids had to wait at school for extended amounts of time until the van was able to pick them up. During the school year, having an additional van will ensure all kids are picked up in a timely manner and are able to spend more time at the Club, not waiting for transportation. The South Everett/Mukilteo Club will utilize the additional van for their growing teen initiative, providing more space to transport teens in need of a fun safe space to be in the evenings.

Additionally, both Clubs provide affordable summer day camps, which rely heavily on transportation for outings. The Clubs have seen increases in their camp numbers over the past couple of years, and have had to borrow vans from other Clubs or rent from other local non-profits in order to meet the demand. The new vans will allow the Clubs to increase the number of kids who can enroll in their summer camp program. With vans the Clubs will be able to take field trips to fun locations including the Woodland Park Zoo, Jetty Island, and various museums. These activities provide a rich summer experience for kids, many of whom are from low income families, and would not otherwise be able to have such a range of opportunities. A heartfelt thank you to The Employee’s Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound.

Congratulations to Spencer Graham, Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County’s Youth of the Year

Spencer Graham Selected from several local outstanding youth, Spencer Graham will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members for the Washington State Youth of the Year title and a the opportunity to receive a $1,000 college scholarship from Tupperware Brands Corporation. As the new Youth of the Year, 18 year old Spencer is an extraordinary young man recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for his sound character, leadership skills and willingness to give back to the community.

Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. As BGCA’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. Youth of the Year encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities. Youth of the Year honorees are terrific  examples and living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.

 “Spencer Graham has overcome several challenges in his life and is a leader who strives to help others. At the Alderwood Boys & Girls Club he is the Keystone Club president (teenage leadership service group) and positively impacts both kids and adults lives.” said Mike Neumeister, Area Director and Unit Director Alderwood Boys & Girls Club.

Spencer has a great character and a lot of potential. He has the confidence of someone who makes positive choices. Spencer lives with his mother while balancing school work, swimming for the Meadowdale High School Swim Team, a job and Club activities. He has gained a confidence from knowing that even though life can offer challenges, he can overcome struggles.

When Spencer began attending the Alderwood Boys & Girls Club in the fifth grade he quickly became involved in Club activities, including playing on several basketball teams over the years. He volunteers as a Counselor in Training during summer camp and is currently the president of Keystone Club. Spencer is a positive role model for younger Club members.

Ultimately, Spencer’s goal is to work with children, teens and adults going through the pain of living with those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. After graduation he plans on attending Edmonds Community College to study Drug/Alcohol Counseling. “Post high school education is my opportunity to start my future and give it my all,” he said in his Youth of the Year application when writing about his goal of becoming a counselor. He understands struggling with challenges should never make someone feel happiness and success are out of reach and he hopes to help others learn that their past does not define them.

If Spencer wins at the state competition, he will compete for the title of the Pacific Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 scholarship from Tupperware Brands, the recognition program’s national sponsor. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2014, to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of up to $50,000 from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation and will have the opportunity to meet with the President in the White House.

We would like to offer special thanks to our Youth of the Year judges, who generously gave their time to interview all the Youth of the Year candidates and thoughtfully select Spencer out of an outstanding group of candidates. Thank you to:

Rick Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of The Everett Clinic
Jennifer Gregerson, Mayor City of Mukilteo
Jean Hernandez, President of Edmonds Community College
Larry Jubie, Jubie Construction
Rory Klein, Marketing Director at Auto Concepts Northwest and Marketing Director/ IT at Klein Honda
Brenda Olson, Olson Franchise Group Advertising

Thank you to our Masters of Ceremony and National Youths of the Year: Dr. Tony Agtarap (1983), Adam Cornell (1991) and Dr Liberty Franklin Mataia (1998)

We would like to recognize and thank all the candidates:
Abigale Nolen, Arlington
Ford Jensen, Cascade
Bree Daigneault, Coupeville
Shawn Fuller, Granite Falls
Courtney Ellis, Lake Stevens
Makayla Belew, Marysville
Amanda Lee, Monroe
Robert Renteria, Mulilteo
Erica Aguilar, Oak Harbor
Morgan David, Snohomish
Malia Jones, South Everett/Mulilteo
Ruby Zamora, Sultan
Arely Diaz-Cuevas, Trailside
Samantha Marteney, Tulalip