BOISE, Idaho — It was a big day Thursday in downtown Boise as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Idaho crowned their state 2019 Youth Of The Year.
Twice in this decade, Idaho’s state Youth of the Year has gone on to win the regionals and represent Idaho at the National Youth of the Year in Washington, D.C.
Both Darnisha Victorian and Cassidy Littleton were at the annual presentation at the Zions Bank Tower to cheer on the next Idaho stars.
State lawmakers, business and community leaders and staff members from Boys and Girls clubs around the state were also on hand as five teens made their presentations.
Among the judges: Boise’s three-time Olympic gold medalist, Kristin Armstrong. And they had a tough job trying to come up with one winner out of a strong group of dynamic teens with incredible stories of perseverance and leadership.
Some of the stories these young adults tell range from experiencing homelessness to abuse and more. And all of them tell of how they managed to find a way out of darkness with help of their local Boys and Girls Club and into a bright, shining light - which is what they all have become.
In the end it was Selina Gonzalez from Buhl who ended up with the traditional club title and Destiny Campbell from the Mountain Home Air Force base club winning military Youth of the Year. Both will collect $8,000 in scholarship money from the Micron Foundation, Disney and Toyota.
"It’s such an honor because military youth don’t normally have a voice in society, and the Boys and Girls club gives us a platform to do so," Destiny said. "And they help us shape our lives because we have all these experiences that we can help mold.”
"It took a lot of work but I think what helped me the most is it took me a lot of passion, because what I stand for takes a lot of passion," Selina said.
What she stands for is mental health awareness and suicide prevention. And her passionate speech brought many in the audience to tears.
Now, they both head to the Youth of the Year regionals in two months - with sights set on nationals this summer in Washington.