Youth of the Year is the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley’s premier recognition program that celebrates the extraordinary achievements of our Club teens. Candidates embody the Youth of the Year values of leadership, service, academic excellence, and healthy lifestyle. Six area youth competed with an application, interview with our Youth of the Year judges, and formal speech.
Local Clubs recognize members ages 14 to 18 as Youth of the Month Winners and select a Youth of the Year, who then participates in state competitions. Winners of state and then regional Youth of the Year competitions advance to the National Youth of the Year competition. The National Youth of the Year represents all Boys & Girls Club youth.
Congratulations to this Year’s Candidates
- Miles Beach, Menasha High School, Junior
- Corey Kuse, Appleton West High School, Junior
- Joseph Menifield, Appleton East High School, Sophomore
- Gakiya Rollins, Appleton West High School, Sophomore
- Travis Thor, Renaissance School for the Arts at Appleton West High School, Senior
- Jaylee Walker, Appleton West High School, Freshman
We would like to express our appreciation to our Youth of the Year hosts, John and Deb Carew; Dave Lambert, Board of Directors; and judges Dawn Christensen, Greg Kippenhan and Teri Winter.
This year’s special event took place on November 14, 2018 at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. The community was invited to learn more about the Boys & Girls Club of the Fox Valley, enjoy exciting vocal and dance performances and meet these incredible young people. The candidates shared their stories of resiliency, determination, and commitment to the Youth of the Year values. Their stories reflect the impact that the Club has on our members. Lastly, we announced the 2018-19 Youth of the Year, Travis Thor.
Other Evening Highlights
- Junior Youth of the Year participants interviewed by Greg Lemke-Rochon, CEO
- The Shooting Stars Cheer Team featuring Olivia Weyenberg
- “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alissia Cara performed by Kala Lones, Appleton North High School STAR Program
- “Try” by Colbie Caillat performed by Jada Guidry, Club Alumni
Meet Travis Thor, 2018-19 Youth of the Year
Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor bestowed upon a Club member and we couldn’t be more proud of Travis Thor. Travis will receive a $4,000 scholarship for post-secondary education and will represent the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley at the Wisconsin Youth of the Year competition in the Spring of 2019.
Travis is a senior at the Renaissance School for the Arts at Appleton West High School. He has been a Boys & Girls Club member for 10+ years and has volunteered over 250 hours at Boys & Girls Club of Wilson. After graduation he hopes to attend New York University or UW-Madison to double major in Performing Arts and Human/Social Services. Travis shared his struggles with depression, bullying and lack of acceptance from others related to his sexuality. He credits the Boys & Girls Club with helping him. Travis is an inspiring and motivating role model throughout the Fox Valley community and we are excited for what is ahead for him!
“My name is Travis Thor and the voice that I get from the Boys & Girls Club WILL echo across the world and let other youth of the world know that the Boys & Girls Club will always help you. The Boys & Girls Club will guide you. But most importantly the Boys & Girls Club will always let us, the youth, know we matter and can change the world for the better.”
Travis Thor’s Youth of the Year Speech
Thanks to our Sponsors
Special thank you to our 2018-19 Youth of the Year sponsors. Their gifts supported our evening program and our Youth of the Year educational scholarships.
- Kimberly-Clark Corporation
- Jeff & Beth Werner