The title of Youth of the Year is a prestigious honor awarded every year to a Boys & Girls Club member.
The award recognizes these members based on their contributions to the club and community, their leadership initiative, as well as personal challenges they have overcome.
Ramstein, along with other bases located in Europe, has students take part in this yearly program. This year, Amaya Hamilton, a Ramstein High School junior, took the place of runner-up for U.S. Air Forces in Europe level.
“I was amazed to find out that I had been selected as a finalist,” Amaya said. “It was very exciting to get so far in the process and I am really grateful that I was given the opportunity to represent Ramstein. It always means a lot to be recognized for the things I have accomplished.”
Amaya, 17, truly has accomplished a great deal for her age. She has participated in several special events and programs, service projects and instructional classes.
Amaya was previously a member of torch club, but since then has become an active member in Ramstein’s Keystone Club. Amaya has also volunteered as junior staff for local teen centers and she has attended several USAFE camps. All of these accomplishments are only a few on the long list of things Amaya has achieved these past few years.
“The most important thing is always having an adult who believes me and pushes me to try new things,” she said about what helped her most throughout the process. “My mom, dad, coaches, teachers and youth center leaders have all challenged me to think of ways to make a difference and get involved and that has been very important.”
Amaya spent a great deal of her time applying for YOY. She had to write essays, obtain letters of recommendations, certificates, articles and photos of herself to include in the application package. When selected as a finalist, Amaya participated in a phone interview and was required to give a speech at a YOY recognition luncheon. Applying for YOY is a tedious and hard process, but for Amaya it was worth all of the work, she said.
In 1947, Daryl Koch was named the first YOY. Since then, the award is remembered as “a legacy of hope and opportunity.” Amaya has become a part of that legacy.
“Becoming YOY is not a single event, it is program that builds on everything you have done,” she said. “Being involved is the most important thing that I can think of for the program. It is really important to find projects and activities that are genuinely important to you so that you can have fun while you are doing things to really make a difference for your community.”