During the past 11 years, the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale has transformed Colleen Campbell from a follower into a leader.
After standing up to a bully on behalf of another student many years ago, she realized she could influence others in a positive way. Campbell, now a Fountain Hills High School senior, served as a leader in training, participated in community service group Torch Club, and joined Keystone, a leadership and service club for youth ages 14-18.
Nominated by her peers to attend the Keystone Pacific Regional Conference, Campbell strove for a stronger presence in the organization and in her community. She now is the president of Keystone.
Because of her leadership skills, Colleen has been honored as a Youth of the Year, a distinction giving to only one member per branch per year. She will represent her branch – and possibly be named the Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale — at the Celebrate Youth Gala & Auction on Saturday, March 31, at Talking Stick Resort.
More than 30 kids compete for the honor of being named Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. Nine finalists are selected.
The gala is the Club’s premier fundraising event. Individual tickets are $125. The black tie event begins with a hosted bar at 5:30pm, followed by dinner, a live auction and the Youth of the Year Ceremony.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale provide youth development services that instill strong core values and life-enhancing skills in a safe environment. The programs help promote healthy lifestyles, good character and academic success. For more information, visit bgcs.org.
From the Disney movie “The Lion King,” the well-known song “The Circle of Life” talks about knowing where you stand. When it comes to leadership, the understanding of your identity as a person and the role you have in life is crucial. Throughout the years, finding out who I really was, or I who I was meant to be, was solely developed by the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale’s Mary Ellen and Robert McKee Branch. Without the experiences I have had over the past 11 years, I would never be the person I am today.
In the beginning of my journey, I always tended to follow the crowd, and constantly hesitated to speak up. I laughed along with all the unfunny jokes and agreed with all the obviously wrong things. I was never able to be my own person. Until the day finally came when my friends were picking on another member at the club who had muscular dystrophy. That’s when I just couldn’t take it anymore. I stood up to them and told them to stop, for what they were doing was wrong. Though I lost some friends that day, I gained the respect of others and found my own voice in return. From that moment on I knew I wanted to be a role model.
Through this experience, my path unwinding to leadership led me to become a leader in training, a position where I could influence others and hone in on my leadership skills. After being a leader in training for a couple of years, and helping the community through Torch Club, a community service group for middle school students, I found my desire to be more of a leader to the pack, than a follower, which led me to Keystone.
Though I was only another member of the Keystone crowd, I was elected to go to the Keystone Pacific Regional Conference my sophomore year. This really inspired me to become a stronger presence in our Keystone club, so that I could help influence policy and others who joined. Being a strong Keystone influence drove me to becoming secretary, where I learned that I really enjoyed the leadership role, and realized that I could be so much more — putting me where I am today, as the ultimate queen of the jungle, the president of Keystone. I know that I am no longer another face in the crowd, but the leader that I’ve strived to be. Throughout my experiences with the Boys and Girls Club, my leadership skills have led me to inspire the pack, lead the crowd and help others find their place, as I did, in the circle of life. Thank you.
Tomorrow: Youth of the Year nominee Kristofferson Walker.