- 2013 Tennessee Youth of the Year, Meeri Shin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland
Nashville, Tennessee was packed full of outstanding Boys & Girls Club youth last week, March 25-27, as it was home to the 2013 Tennessee Youth of the Year Celebration. Among the crowd was 18 Youth of the Year finalist from across the Big Orange state vying for the title of Tennessee Youth of the Year. When all was said and done, 18 year old Meeri Shin from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland was holding a $1,000 scholarship from the Tupperware Brands Corporation, a $5,000 scholarship from the Tennessee Titans Foundation, and a Dell laptop.
Youth of the Year kicked off Monday, as Youth of the Year competitors, chaperones and Club staff headed from registration down to Bridgestone Arena to see the Nashville Predators defeat the Edmonton Oilers.
Tuesday got off to a bright and early start as Youth of the Year and chaperones traveled to CMT. While at CMT, they enjoyed breakfast and toured the facility. The group then walked to Bridgestone Arena to visit the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is a state of the art, 7,200 square foot, interactive facility that is both entertaining and educational. The Hall of Fame teaches students Tennessee history using sports as the catalyst. It honors athletes, coaches, sportswriters, and sports administrators who have made an impact on the history of sports in Tennessee.
- Chet Nichols, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, welcomes everyone to the Youth of the Year Competition at LP Field
Youth of the Year, chaperones and Club staff made their way, by bus, to LP Field, home of the Tennessee Titans, for lunch and to hear 18 Youth of the Year speeches. The next several hours at LP Field were filled with uplifting stories of how Boys & Girls Clubs played a major role in the lives of these young people. Some spoke about their leadership roles in their Club as Keystone President or Jr. Staff. Other Youth of the Year reflected on difficult situations they dealt with as young children such as abuse, death of parents and no sense of belonging. The pattern of each speech rang true with Boys & Girls Clubs being the place each Youth of the Year felt safe, encouraged and confident.
Following the speeches, Youth of the Year were individually interviewed, in two rounds, by a panel of 8 judges. Judges for the Youth of the Year Competition were Yvonna Brown, Assistant Commissioner Adult & Family Services; Bill Emendorfer, Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame; Sarah Gaffney, CMT; Mike London, Check Into Cash; Bob Mifflin, The Christy Houston Foundation Scott Perry, Memorial Foundation; Teresa Whitaker, Stars Nashville and Rob Wilson, Nissan USA.
- Tennessee Youth of the Year Judges with Top 6 Finalists
The field was then narrowed to the “Top 6” who went through a third round of interviews with the judges. The “Top 6” were Gabriella Madison, Boys & Girls Club of Morristown; Derelle Roshell, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chattanooga; Tyler Harrison, Boys & Girls Club of Maury County; Meeri Shin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland; Shannon Wiggins, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee and Ashley Heatherly, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Smoky Mountains. The entire group donned 80’s themed apparel for a fun supper at Dick’s Last Resort followed by laser tag.
- House Speaker, Beth Harwell, visits with Boys & Girls Clubs Tennessee Alliance President, Lynn Johnson, and Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County CPO, Robin Crumley
Tuesday evening was also host to the Legislative Reception held in the Pinnacle Room of the Sheraton Nashville Downtown. Club staff met with their local legislators and legislators from across Tennessee to speak about important legislation affecting youth and Boys & Girls Clubs. Around 34 legislators attended the reception, including Speaker of the House, Beth Harwell.
The final day of the Youth of the Year Celebration started with an early morning visit to the Capitol. The group viewed a session of the Senate. The Youth of the Year Celebration was recognized on the floor of the House of Representatives. Quentin Scott, member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, opened the House session with an a cappella version of the National Anthem. From the gallery, the group was fortunate to watch the daily functions of the House and see Governor Bill Haslam address a joint session of the House and Senate on healthcare.
- Quentin Scott, Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, sings the National Anthem
To wrap up the festivities, the Youth of the Year Legislative Luncheon was held in the Ballroom of the Sheraton Nashville Downtown. Sally Crimmins, Vice President of the Tennessee Alliance, welcomed everyone. Quentin Scott entertained the crowd with performances of “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts and “Go Get It” by Mary Mary. The Luncheon was attended by 27 legislators.
Chet Nichols, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, recognized all 18 Youth of the Year who competed. He stated, “This is by far my favorite week of the year. Seeing these young people and getting to know them better is one of the best parts of my job.” Nichols then announced the “Top 6” to those in attendance. All six finalists received a Dell laptop.
Tyler Harrison, Boys & Girls Club of Maury County was announced first as 5th Runner-Up. Derelle Roshell, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chattanooga, received 4th Runner-Up and Shannon Wiggins, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee, received 3rd Runner-Up. Winner of a $2,000 from the Tennessee Titans Scholarship was 2nd Runner-Up Ashley Heatherly, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Smoky Mountains. Gabriella Madison, Boys & Girls Club of Morristown, was announced as 1st Runner-Up and received a $3,000 scholarship from the Tennessee Titans Foundation.
- Tennessee Youth of the Year, Meeri Shin, with Governor Bill Haslam and Rep. Brooks
The final name called on Wednesday was 18 year old senior at Walker Valley High School, Meeri Shin. Shin took home the title of 2013 Tennessee Youth of the Year along with a $1,000 scholarship from Tupperware Brands Corporation and a $5,000 scholarship from the Tennessee Titans Foundation. Shin addressed the crowed by thanking her Club staff and Board Members who supported her. Shin also thanked the judges and event sponsors.
The Youth of the Year Legislative Luncheon was sponsored by Tennessee Titans Foundation, Check Into Cash, Dell, TIS Insurance, Food City, CMT One Country, Nashville Predators Foundation and Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
Shin’s short term goal is to win the national title. Her long term plans are to attend the University of California in Los Angeles where she will double major in Micro Biology and Political Science. Shin has aspirations to end Cerebral Palsy and put an end as well to Human Trafficking.
This summer, Shin will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members within the Southeast Region. If named regional winner, she will be awarded an additional $10,000 college scholarship from Tupperware Brands, the program’s national sponsor. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2013, 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 of the United States in the White House.
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. The recognition program encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities. These extraordinary young leaders are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.
For more information on the Boys & Girls Clubs in Tennessee or the Youth of the Year contact Ernie Brooks (865) 232-1104 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Kelly Drummond (865) 232-1111.