FRESNO — A member of the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst was the runner up in the area-wide Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County’s annual “Youth of the Year” competition.
For the third year in a row, a representative of the Oakhurst Boys and Girls Club was a top finisher in the prestigious competition, whose winner moves on to compete for Northern California Youth of the Year.
Saige Jackson, 18, a member of the Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club, placed second in the Boys & Girls Club of Fresno County’s Youth of the Year competition, which was held last week (January 23) in Fresno.
Fifteen-year-old Erica Gonzales of the West Fresno Boys & Girls Club was named this year’s Youth of the Year winner, receiving a $3,000 college scholarship from the Me-N-Ed’s Founders Scholarship program as well as a $500 VISA gift card and Me-N-Ed’s pizza for one year.
More than a dozen area youths, ages 14 to 18, were nominated to participate in the competition.
Carina Stephens, general manager of Oakhurst’s Chateau De Sureau, served as one of the judges.
The Youth of the Year competition is designed to promote and recognize teens for their service to their local Club, community, academics, and contributions to their family and spiritual life.
Each year a Boys & Girls Club Unit Director nominates a teen member to represent their club as the Youth of the Year. At the event, teens share their club experience, personal story and future aspirations.
The competition also includes state, regional and national championships.The National Youth of the Year receives an additional $10,000 scholarship and is installed by the President of the United States.
The Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club, located adjacent to Fresno Flats, has been in operation since 1999. The club actually operates under the umbrella of Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County, which runs 16 clubs in the Central Valley. All of those facilities are located in Fresno County except for the Oakhurst club, whose finances are actually administered by its own separate board — the Mountain Area Youth Organization (MAYO).
Doug Macaulay is president of the Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club board. His father, Archie Macaulay, founded MAYO, partnering with the Fresno County Boys & Girls Clubs to start the Oakhurst club. Local residents Angie Pizelo and Todd Miller were also instrumental in getting the club off the ground.
The Oakhurst Boys & Girls Club serves a many as 80 kids a day, with more than 400 mountain area children ages 6 to 18 taking part in club activities throughout the year. Nearly 100 percent of the club’s annual operating budget comes from community support from area service clubs and businesses as well as donations from private individuals.