Teen Center member represents JBPHH at regional competition

Hannah Bethard, the Boys and Girls Club of America Military State Youth of the Year, delivers a speech to BGCA members, supporters and benefactors.

“Over the past seven months, this Youth of the Year journey has helped me grow in ways I never thought possible.” — Hannah Bethard

Story and photo by Rosalyn Garcia

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Teen Center

After her big win as Boys and Girls Club of America (BGCA) Military State Youth of the Year this past March, Hannah Bethard, of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, prepared for the next phase of the Youth of the Year competition the Pacific Regionals that took place July 24 in San Diego.

Prior to the regional competition, Bethard was selected to attend BGCA’s Advanced Leadership Conference in Atlanta, which took place July 19-22, just a few days before her big competition.

During her time at the Advanced Leadership institute, Bethard joined more than 100 fellow BGCA members and the 2017 National and Regional Youth of the Year winners and learned how they can better serve their community, speak up about issues facing teens today, and develop their own unique style of leadership.

While in Atlanta, participants got to know each other and talked about their clubs and personal growth during their time competing. They also brainstormed ideas on how to build teen interest in the Youth of the Year competition for next year.

In San Diego, Bethard and six more competitors attended a luncheon with the judges where they got to know each other and share their experiences and love of BGCA.

The competitors each delivered a three-minute speech and underwent a 15-minute interview with five judges. A few hours later, they were ushered in to the formal dining hall for a three-course dinner, the deliverance of their speech a second time and the announcement of the winner in front of hundreds of BGCA members, supporters and sponsors.

Katherine W. of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was awarded the title of Pacific Region Military Youth of the Year.

“Over the past seven months, this Youth of the Year journey has helped me grow in ways I never thought possible,” said Bethard, when asked about her Youth of the Year experience. “This program helped me realize I was doing something not only for myself, but every BGCA member that I represented.

I was able to begin a campaign of mental health awareness that I am still building on today. This experience has been so rewarding and helped me be better than I ever could have imagined. I’ve become a confident public speaker, gained self-confidence I didn’t even know was possible, and gained friends who not only do great things for their club, but their community as well.”

Bethard spent hours each week working on essays, practicing mock interviews, and perfecting her stage presence. She credited much of her growth to Master Sgt. Brian Childers from the Hickam Air Force Base Toastmasters, who volunteered to work with Hannah on speech delivery, developing her stage presence, and connecting with the audience through vocal inflection and emotion.

“Without everyone’s support, I never would have made it this far,” she said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your trust and confidence in me.”

For more information on the Teen Center program, call 448-1068 or check them out at www.facebook.com/jbphhteencenter.

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Category: News