Fort McCoy News April 14, 2017

Fort McCoy teen named

Wisconsin Military Youth of the Year

Hailing from the Boys & Girls Club of Fort McCoy, Kaylee Rowley has been named the Wisconsin Military Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The Youth of the Year title is bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence, and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle. Now in its 70th year, the program honors the nation's most awe-inspiring young people on their paths to great futures and encourages all children to lead, succeed, and inspire. Rowley will represent all members of Boys & Girls Clubs of America-affiliated military youth centers in Wisconsin and will receive a $5,000 college scholarship.

Like many military youth, Rowley moved with her Family early in her life. She said making friends was definitely the hardest part about moving. When her family moved to Fort McCoy, her parents signed her up at the Child & Youth Services (CYS) School Age Center. There, she met other military youths who knew what it was like to move and have to start over.

Fort McCoy youth Kaylee Rowley is shown after receiving the Wisconsin Military Youth of the Year award March 14.
Fort McCoy youth Kaylee Rowley is shown after receiving the Wisconsin
Military Youth of the Year award March 14.
Contributed photo

They made her feel welcome, and she said this started her positive club experience. When Rowley experienced some challenges early in high school, the club was a place she could turn to for support, guidance, and a place of belonging.

At the Club, Rowley enjoys participating in the STEM Career Club and the Keystone Club. In STEM Career Club, teens are able to explore various careers through interactive and fun activities based on a different career each month. Favorites among the teens have been engineering, cooking, and enlisted Soldier. Rowley is looking forward to the next career focus, veterinary science, since that is her current career goal.

In Keystone Club, Rowley volunteers with younger club members. Rowley and the other teens have taught literacy skills and sports development skills to the preschool and kindergarten youth at the School Age Center. Rowley is always a positive role member to other club members, CYS employees said.

When asked what she would say to encourage other young people to attend the Youth Center, Rowley said, "My club experience has taught me that even if you aren't perfect, there are people who believe in you and there is a place you can go to help you be the best that you can be. That place is the Boys & Girls Club."

"Kaylee and all Youth of the Year nominees are living proof that Boys & Girls Clubs across the country are inspiring and enabling young people to achieve great futures," said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Being named Youth of the Year is a lifelong honor. As the Wisconsin Military Youth of the Year, Kaylee will serve as a spokesperson for our young people, sharing her inspiring story and leading the way to transform communities for the better."

This summer, Rowley will join other state military winners to vie for the Midwest military regional title. If named the regional winner, she will be awarded an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000.

Six youth will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2017 to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America's National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable for four years up to $100,000 and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America's National Youth of the Year recognition program is sponsored by Disney, Toyota, the University of Phoenix, and the Taco Bell Foundation. (No federal endorsement implied.)

For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.youthoftheyear.org.

   (Article prepared by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Fort McCoy Child and Youth Services.)