Gala honors cream of the crop

“Youths of the Year” ritz it up
By T Martin

Some of the best dressed and best behaved people were the youths of the year attending the Annual Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia Black-tie Gala on Saturday, March 13th. This is because they weren’t allowed to sip the cocktails… and because they happen to represent six of the most fascinating groups of teens across the City.

The teens at the Gala were chosen as “Youths of the Year” by one of the six Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia – Bridesburg, Frankfort, Germantown, Nicetown, West Kensington and Wissahickon. Truly the pride of the pack, the youths displayed their leadership values from the reception through the evening’s main event – the gala – in their mannerism, appearance and participation.

If they barely fit in any other way, the young Keystone Club members made it clear that they belonged in the way they carried themselves during the reception. From their ritzy attire to their respectful and well spoken words, they emulated what every young leader should learn in preparing to leave a positive impression on others. Behavior was top notch, the most playful youths curbing their exuberance to display a business-like sense of what they needed to do for the night.

Moreover, the kids were just plain courteous to everyone. They didn’t duck or hide from any of the several cameras floating about the room; they remained polite as they smiled for photographers and guests alike.

And no one could have been more helpful than the Keystoners behind the tables of the silent auction; each one offered information when asked questions and interacted very well with prospective bidders.

In fact, their participation went far beyond just standing around looking cute for their guests. They were active in the planning and implementation of the evening’s entertainment. Performing a classical piece was Christina Stewart on the flute, accompanied by Leonard McCants on piano. West Kensington Boys and Girls Club Vice-President Lali Suarez turned pages for Leonard.

Possibly the most electrifying element of the reception preceding the gala was the cheerleading performance by members of the Clubs. No half jobs here; each girl performed at her best, drawing cheers and applause from those that gathered near the ballroom’s doorway to catch their act.

Corey Stewart rocked the house, her compelling rendition of “I Am a Woman” demanding a standing ovation. Last to perform before the reception came to a close, her recital was an outstanding way to kick off the gala event of the evening, for which teens and their guests adjourned to a downstairs ballroom.

Most impressive, though? The clean, neat appearance and very becoming attire each Keystoner wore. All this was complemented by their glowing faces that sang out, “I’m just so proud to be a part of.” Throughout the reception the teens expressed that pride through their outer appearance and the inner drive that helped them concentrate on their tasks for the evening and give 200% to ensure that guests had the best possible evening for the money they paid per ticket.

True, the Boys and Girls Club members attending the gala are the “cream of the crop,” having been selected as “Youths of the Year” over the last 12 months. Even so, it’s fair to say that they are representative of the general attitudes and behaviors displayed in both the Keystone and Torch Clubs, chartered small-group leadership and service clubs under the Boys and Girls Club umbrella.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier youth recognition program promotes and celebrates Club members’ service to Club, community and family; academic performance; spiritual values; life goals; and poise and public speaking ability. Local Clubs recognize Youths of the Month and select a Youth of the Year, who then participates in state competition. State winners participate in regional competition. Five regional winners compete on the national level.