Selected among five regional finalists from Boys & Girls Clubs of America-affiliated military Youth Centers worldwide, Xavier B. of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Campbell Children and Youth Services took home Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2023 National Military Youth of the Year title, along with an additional scholarship to support his future plans.
Emceed by ESPN sports broadcaster, Lewis Johnson for the fifth year in a row, Xavier was honored during the annual National Military Youth of the Year program in Washington, D.C. Marking the 10th anniversary of the Military Youth of the Year honor, the evening also boasted a powerful speech by longtime supporter, Judge Glenda Hatchett, who served as the chief presiding judge of Fulton County before becoming a TV personality.
“Our National Military Youth of the Year title is reserved for a young person who demonstrates outstanding commitment to character, leadership and service in and around their installations and Youth Center,” said Jim Clark, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Xavier is a shining example of the impact of our mission and the opportunities it ignites for young people in military communities, and we are so proud to recognize him with this honor.”
“As a child growing up within the military-connected community, I have experienced things many other kids have not been afforded the opportunity to experience,” Xavier said. “While I moved often and changed schools mid-year, leaving behind friendships, I also got to form new friendships and learn about new cultures and build new communities.”
“When my mom insisted that I visit the Youth Center, I was so nervous. I remember her telling me that this is where other military-connected teens go, so I decided to give it a chance,” he said. “Immediately upon walking into the building, I was confronted with so much positive energy and excitement around me. The atmosphere was unlike any place I’ve ever been to.”
His journey embodies the essence of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's commitment to fostering the potential of youth across military communities. Through participation in various programs, Xavier found his voice and his purpose.
Prior to receiving this honor, Xavier earned $22,500 in college scholarships awarded through the state and regional levels of the Military Youth of the Year program. Being named the National Military Youth of the Year comes with an additional $20,000 for college, bringing his total scholarship amount to $42,500.
National Military Youth of the Year is a component of Boys & Girls Clubs of America's National Youth of the Year recognition program for Club and Youth Center members. On October 5, 2023, Xavier will join five finalists in New York to contend for the National Youth of the Year title. If he wins, Xavier will receive an additional $50,000 in scholarships, a brand-new Toyota Corolla, and the opportunity to serve as a spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America representing 3.3 million Club and Youth Center kids and teens.
Toyota and Kohl’s are the Signature Sponsors of Youth of the Year, sharing a dedication to America’s youth. Toyota is committed to partnering to ensure local Boys & Girls Clubs and affiliated Military Youth Centers provide life-enhancing opportunities for kids and teens to explore, develop, and apply the essential skills they need to be successful in life and work. Kohl’s is committed to partnering to ensure local Clubs and Youth Centers provide staff training and curriculum updates focused on trauma-informed care, building practices kids and teens will need to build great futures.
As the Lead Sponsor of Youth of the Year, Mondelēz International, will engage with local Clubs and Youth Centers year-round to help foster a new generation of leaders prepared to live in and lead a diverse global economy.
For more information about Youth of the Year, visit www.youthoftheyear.org.