National Youth of the Year inspires USAFE youth

by David Quinn
Headquarters USAFE Services

The Boys and Girls Club 2006-07 National Youth of the Year inspired youth, teens and adults during his recent visit to U. S. Air Forces in Europe Services youth programs in Germany and the United Kingdom.

***image1***Stacey Walker’s visit was in support of the Youth of the Year Ambassador program where annual winners serve as peer leaders, role models and provide motivation to USAFE youth.

“The ambassadorship program has afforded me the opportunity to encourage youth here on base dealing with the challenges of military life, and has taught me a lot about the distinguished culture of the Air Force and its great many humanitarian endeavors,” said Walker.

“I had a wonderful time with all of the children,” said Walker. “One youth from Spangdahlem was from my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and another helped me learn some basic German.”

“My visit with Stacey Walker inspired me to try to become the Youth of the Year and work hard to get that title,” said Nicole Brio, 17, from Vogelweh.
Meeting Gen. Tom Hobbins, USAFE commander, was a once in a lifetime experience, said Walker.

“General Hobbins expressed his appreciation of the partnership of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Air Force Youth Programs,” Walker said. “I remarked to the General that my opportunity to come overseas and visit youth here has been a win-win.”

“Stacey is a remarkable young man who has a positive message for our USAFE families,” said General Hobbins. “We were happy to host him, and all of us deeply appreciated his visit.”

Walker’s story is one of inspiration as he lost his mother at 4 years old and did not know his father. His grandmother and other family members provided guidance and taught him values that carried him through the hardships he faced, shaping him into a stellar young man.

Walker received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award and was selected as a member of the National Council on Youth Leadership. He also started the Student Athlete Mentoring Program, in which athletes mentor at-risk youth.
Walker, 19, is now a sophomore at the University of Iowa where he is studying political science and economics.

“Having Youth of the Year winners participate as leadership assistants at USAFE Youth Programs greatly enhances our programs,” said Louella Anderson, Chief of Community Activities for USAFE Services.

Ms. Anderson approached the BGCA earlier this year with the idea and the BGCA delivered in a big way, she said.

“Dreams really do come true,” Ms. Anderson added.

“Martin Luther King Jr. once challenged a bewildered nation, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?’ said Walker.

“USAFE has truly answered this call, and with the collaboration of Boys and Girls Clubs of America, reached thousands of youth all around the world. I am proud to have been a part of this great process.”