Club Names 2023 Youth of the Year
Each year, Clubs across the nation select one exceptional teen to serve as an ambassador for their Club and community. Youth of the Year is the signature effort of Boys & Girls Clubs to foster a new generation of leaders, fully prepared to live and lead in a diverse, global and integrated world economy. We’re proud to announce our 2023 Youth of the Year is Owen M.! Owen has been a member at our Club at the Y since 2021. He’s passionate about mental health, friends and family, and the power of kindness.
The judging panel, including Mayor Ryan Sorenson, Jerry Jones, Betsy Froelich, and Mike Langan, said Owen displayed impressive preparedness and vulnerability during his interview. In March, Owen had the opportunity to compete at the state level in Madison with 13 other representatives from Clubs around the Wisconsin. In his first trip to the capitol, Owen said he’d never forget the memories he made competing, meeting with elected officials, giving a speech in Senate Chambers, and spending time with other Youth of the Year winners from across the state.
Owen doesn’t define his life by the challenges he’s faced. Instead, he believes his character is built on how he reacts. “It’s the response that defines you, not the challenge,” he says. And although he’s experienced significant loss, transition, and grief, his response has been to lean into kindness. In fact, he believes a lot of the world’s problems could be solved or prevented with simple acts of kindness.
He knows the power of this type of gesture because it’s what helped lift him back up from some of his darkest moments. After Owen’s mom passed away and he had to move to a new state, he found wasn’t the same person anymore. His mental health suffered greatly. It was his family and the kindness of new friends, both at school and the Club, that helped revive him. He’s passionate about advocating for mental health and making each moment count – a promise he made to himself after losing his mom.
“Owen has inspired us all to embrace vulnerability, and the power of kindness. He owns his narrative and uses his voice to speak out for others going through hard times. We are so proud to celebrate him as our 2023 Youth of the Year.” — Christina Singh, CEO