Past Youth of the Year Winners
2019 BGCMP Youth of the Year
IIyana, a Club member since she was 9 years old, credits the Club for providing her with a safe and caring environment when she needed it most. A victim of bullying at school, she sought out the Club help her cope and find positive influences.
As a young member, Iyana joined many sports and arts clubs, and found a passion for mentoring younger members. Her staff members helped her overcome her tendencies toward procrastination and it helped her become an honors student in high school. They also encouraged her to get involved in Torch Club and Keystone.
Iyana served as student body president at her high school last year. She coached volleyball and soccer at the Club, and she is currently teaching herself Korean. She was very involved in her school’s theater program and enjoys all performing arts, including being an accomplished singer and actress.
Iyana has shown her strength throughout the Youth of the Year journey by sharing her struggles and shining a light on mental health to encourage others to speak up and seek help when they need it.
2018 BGCMP Youth of the Year
Cyrus joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix Sands Branch in Glendale three years ago after his family moved here from California. His high school years were challenging, and Cyrus shared with the judges his struggles with mental health. He was treated for a variety of mental health issues and the Club became a second home for him after he completed a treatment program that helped him. Now he’s an active in sports leagues, he’s mentoring younger members and offering counsel and an ear to others who may share some of his struggles. He was selected to lead his Keystone Club as president and he’s invested more than 700 hours of service into the community.
Leonel Cano Leon
2017 BGCMP Youth of the Year
Being the Youth of Year has changed by life completely. I started at a community college and I appreciate knowing that have the financial aid that I can rely on that pays for classes and books.
After I won State Youth of the Year, I had the opportunity to travel to Georgia. Getting to meet the other Youth of the Year from around the country was really awesome. We had the opportunity to travel and participate in an advanced leadership institute.
Now I’m working at Boys & Girls Club of Metro Phoenix and it’s giving initiative to the kids at my Club who say, ‘I want to be just like you, I want to do something like this!’
My plans are to finish at Paradise Valley Community College and then go to ASU to pursue a degree in computer science. Knowing all of the coding that goes into movies and special effects, I want to be behind the scenes so the audience can see my work.
2016 BGCMP Youth of the Year
When I first walked through the Warner A. Gabel Branch six years ago, I was transported to a place filled with wonder and opportunity. My Club experience has been a culmination of moments, conversations, and activities that altered my perspective on how my success is totally up to me.
The Warner A. Gabel Branch was a second home with an extended family. My Club is the place that helped me recognize I have talent for fusing creativity and self-expression with life skills to foster a true sense of community among my peers.
My Club made sure I knew the power of my presence and the influence of my words, so my gift back to this world will be to make sure as many youth as I can reach will know that greatness, power, and influence truly exists in all of us.
2015 BGCMP Youth of the Year
In 1991, a pregnant woman fled the civil war in Sierra Leone that killed her husband, finding refuge in the neighboring country of Gambia. Adama Kamara was born in a refugee camp; she and her mother were granted settlement in America shortly thereafter.
Adama was a Club kid at the Woodrow C. Scoutten Tolleson Branch since she was five years old. Her time at the Club enabled her mother to work and support the family and, at her mother’s request/demand, Adama didn’t dilly-dally. With a focus on education, Adama became a SMART Girl and a leader in the Keystone and Torch clubs. Thirteen years after joining, Adama was named the Branch’s Youth of the Year. At Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Stars 2015, Adama was named the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix’s Youth of the Year.
Adama attends ASU, majoring in biology with dreams to become an anesthesiologist. She is committed to one day building a hospital in Sierra Leone, and is the living embodiment of BGCMP’s mission.
2014 BGCMP Youth of the Year
Camrae McManaman has been a member of the Jerry & Helen Wisotsky / Peoria Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix since she was in kindergarten. She credits the Club with providing her with opportunities to develop leadership skills, mentor fellow Club Kids and give back to her community.
In 2014, Camrae’s outstanding character, commitment to improving her community, and positive example for others earned her the title of Youth of the Year. Camrae’s commitment to giving back to her community is evident by her career goals. She plans to attend ASU Barrett Honors College and eventually become a dentist.
2013 BGCMP Youth of the Year
Johana Lopez has been a member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix since the Robson Branch opened its doors. She knows first-hand the extraordinary opportunities it offers her and her family, and the difference it has made in her community.
In 2013, Johana was named Arizona Youth of the Year for her dedication to community service, perfect GPA and exceptional leadership. She is now pursuing her dream of becoming an FBI agent while studying
at Grand Canyon University and working at her Club.