Supervisory Program Specialist
A high school senior from Fort Drum has become the first person to earn the title of New York State’s Military Youth of the Year in a competition hosted by the Boys and Girls Club of America.
The Boys and Girls Club of America offers programs and services to promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.
To help achieve the mission of serving youths, the Fort Drum Youth Center hosts a Boys and Girls Clubs of America chapter, offering programs and services to develop these characteristics in young military Family Members.
Each year, BGCA hosts a competition to choose the Youth of the Year, a premier recognition program for club members, promoting service to club, community and family, academic success, strong moral character, life goals, poise and public speaking ability.
This year, Military Youth of the Year was added to the Boys and Girls Clubs recognition program line-up. Teens from clubs across the country are invited to compete for these titles.
Elizabeth Kolodgy, 17, daughter of Master Sgt. John Kolodgy, serving with 10th Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Drum, traveled to Albany on May 19 to compete with other New York youths for the title.
Her community involvement and exemplary service made her a perfect nominee for the BGCA recognition event, where she won the title of New York State’s Military Youth of the Year for 2013.
Kolodgy is an active member of the Fort Drum Youth Center, where she has participates in Youth Leadership Forums and the Keystone Club. She is a founding member of the Garrison Teen Council, which helps bring teen issues to the Fort Drum garrison commander’s attention.
A senior at Indian River High School, Kolodgy is active as captain of the track team and president of Student Council. She also is a member of Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Student to Student, and Science Club.
While in Albany for the competition, Kolodgy was able to meet with other Boys and Girls Clubs members from across the state. Although the purpose of the trip was to name BGCA Youth of the Year, participating teens also were invited to enjoy a boat cruise on the Hudson River, go-carting and mini-golf.
Participants finished their visit to Albany with a trip to the State House to meet members of the New York State Assembly.
Kolodgy will face her next challenge as she travels to New York City to compete for the title of the Northeast Region’s Military Youth of the Year at the New York Athletic Club on June 25. Winners at the regional level will then travel to Washington, D.C., for the National Youth of the Year competition.
Participants who advance to the national level will be invited to meet and discuss youth issues with executives from the Boys and Girls Club, members of Congress, and the president of the United States.
Kolodgy has been awarded a scholarship for winning the state title. The farther she goes in the competition, the more scholarships she will receive.
The Youth of the Year competition is held annually. If you know of a Fort Drum youth who stands out in your community and would like to earn a chance for scholarships and recognition, visit the Fort Drum Youth Center at 10788 Chapel Drive or call 772-6719.