YERINGTON, Nev. – In front of a sold-out crowd of more than 300, numerous Boys & Girls Clubs of Mason Valley members, supporters, volunteers, staff and more were recognized Saturday night at the annual Youth of the Year banquet.
Yerington sophomore Aurora Brethauer was named the organization’s 2023 Youth of the Year, an honor that goes to the Club’s top teen member each year. As part of the nationwide recognition program, she will now compete at the state level March 7-8 at the governor’s mansion in Carson City, Nev. Jim Chico and his company, Desert Engineering, took home the night’s other prestigious award. This year’s Champion of Youth, Chico and his crew have donated countless hours of manpower to many of the Club’s recent projects, including the construction of the E. L. Wiegand Early Learning Center and earthwork at Night in the Country’s new home for 2024.
“I was so surprised and nervous when they named me Youth of the Year,” Brethauer said. “I’m happy I get to represent the Club. It’s almost like a return for how much the Club has done for me and helped me over the years.”
In her speech to the packed house, Brethauer talked about not knowing herself as a person growing up. She cut her hair short, tried playing football, and spent her days avoiding and shaking off the bullies in her life. Not only did coming to the Club help her find herself, but also multiple opportunities to learn and grow. The staff, programs and supportive peers helped improve her social skills. She learned job readiness and what it meant to give back through Junior Staff and Keystone Club. Most importantly, she found a support system she had been missing and has no intention of ever letting it go.
Brethauer’s fellow candidates, senior Graysen Lincoln from Yerington and Hailey Coolie, a sophomore from Silver Springs, also gave their speeches during the evening. Lincoln, a military child who frequently moved and never attended public schools, found her voice, new friends and an outlet for creativity when she started attending The Club Teen Center. Coolie, a foster child, first began trusting adults when she came to the Club and found the staff there actually cared about her and her siblings. All three ladies were greeted with loud ovations at the end of their speeches.
The night was rounded out with members of the year from the Club’s four service areas and the early learning center, volunteers of the year, multiple supporter awards and staff recognition for years of service.
Brethauer will now prepare for the state-level competition where she will meet Youths of the Year from Nevada’s six other Club locations.
Click on a photo to begin slide show.
Members of the Year
Nhylah Guzman, Yerington
Emma Victorio, Silver Springs
Sydona Wilson, Dayton
Aubrey Gonzalez, Hawthorne
Daxtin Silva, Preschool
Blue Door Award Winner
Leah Wilkinson and Pizen Switch Times
Years of Service Award
Helping Hands Award
Boys & Girls Clubs of Mason Valley : Staff Member of the Year
Junior Youth of the Year
From the Heart Award
Champion of Youth Award
Jim Chico and Desert Engineering
Youth of the Year