NAF Atsugi celebrates Youth of the Year
On March 20, 2014 Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi sent our representative, Jordan McLaurin, who goes by Corynn, to Sasebo to compete in the annual Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA) Youth of the Year competition. Having already done an exceptional job at securing the title as Atsugi's Youth of the Year for 2013, Corynn earned the chance to face off against four other youth for the title of Military Asia Region Youth of the Year.
Upon arrival Corynn was treated to a party in the Nominee's honor at Sasebo's Teen Center. Nominees from Sasebo, Yokota, Zama, and Iwakuni, plus the Boys and Girls Club President all got a chance to relax, mingle, and have fun before the big competition in the morning. The kids quickly became friends as they bonded over food, games, and companionship.
The tasks for the day were breakfast followed by speeches prepared by each candidate. Corynn's speech came naturally, telling the crowd about the struggles of military life, the hardships of coming to Japan immediately after the Fukushima disaster, and how her local Teen Center helped her stay busy, get involved, and make friends despite the obstacles she faced.
Lunch time brought all of the kids back out into the open air to re-unite with their advisors and families. Corynn's mother looked on proudly as her daughter emerged from the judging hall confident in her performance. The tension of the judging behind them, the youth all had a chance to reconvene and gossip while lunch was served.
Sasebo's ballroom filled with base luminaries and officials from CNIC and BGCA. All in attendance took the time to let each youth know how proud they were of their accomplishments. The adults were moved by the stories of accomplishment and struggle. Speeches were given throughout lunch praising the efforts and importance of the Youth of the Year.
After praising all of the youth, the Military Youth of the Year Asia Region was announced. The winner for the event was Camp Zama's Sophia Walker. The kids congratulated one another on their hard work.
Corynn was approached by all of the judges one by one. Each congratulated her on her entry, and took the time to express how impressed with her they were. Her mother and I looked on with pride as community leaders, base commanders, and corporate presidents all sought out Corynn to praise her.
Congratulations Corynn. You have made the NAF Atsugi community, your family, and your Teen Center proud. We look forward to seeing you compete again next year, wherever your travels take you.