COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - When I sat watching the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year celebration, I was like everyone else in the room: beaming with pride.
None of them was my child, but I was as impressed as I could be for their accomplishments in leadership and service at such a young age.
Four of them were nominated for Youth of the Year. Only one would win. But I'm confident all will succeed in life.
When LaKayla Carter was announced as the Youth of the Year winner, she took the stage at the National Infantry Museum and spoke eloquently about taking charge of her life and thanking the Boys and Girls Clubs for the gift of confidence they instilled in her.
LaKayla is a shining example of how important it is to mentor our young people so they see a clear pathway to a life filled with possibilities and opportunities, not obstacles and closed doors.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Chattahoochee Valley is an exceptional organization run by some of the best and brightest, starting with the President and CEO Rodney Close.
His leadership provides the inspiration for these young men and women to reach high and believe their aspirations have no limits.
The Boys and Girls Clubs across America award the Youth of the Year, who then competes statewide, then regionally for a chance to be the National Youth of the Year Award winner.
It all started in 1947 and it remains the club's highest honor. We were proud to produce feature stories on the four finalists and showcase these wonderful young women on WTVM's newscasts.
It's just our small contribution to making sure as many people as possible hear the good news about these inspiring young people.
They each spoke of their causes: reducing teen pregnancy, increasing literacy rates, doing what's right even when no one is looking.
These are all realistic, achievable and necessary goals for all young people who want a successful and prosperous life.
The Boys and Girls Clubs is smart to place a premium on these qualities and to recognize outstanding teenagers for making good choices.
We applaud LaKayla Carter, the Youth of the Year Award winner and the other finalists for standing up, taking charge and showing us how strong, beautiful and successful they are.
Well done, ladies.
We look forward to featuring your successful lives and careers in the future.
General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
WTVM Editorial Committee
1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, GA 31906