Boys and Girls Club celebrates Minnesota's 'Youth of the Year' winner
(FOX 9) - The Boys and Girls Club is a community resource that thousands of Minnesota youth turn to every day. Every year, the organization honors and celebrates one of the state's most inspiring teens.
In an essay competition, 16-year-old Baylie Chappuis shares her story.
"Club has a very special place in my heart," said Chappuis.
She's a high school junior out of Rochester, and this year's Minnesota Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year.
"We have some videos that I was just standing there, and was like wait, me? I think it was that realization that all of my hard work and this story that was so hard for me to be vulnerable and share and so hard for me to go through has really helped me become the person I am today," said Chappuis in an interview with FOX 9.
Chappuis lost her father nearly two years ago. She says that it was through pain that she found purpose.
"I won’t lie, it’s scary. It’s very nerve-wracking to put everything on a paper and I think writing it was just as hard as going through it. It’s like you relive, and I was just thinking to myself, you’re doing this for others," said Chappuis.
This spring, the longtime club member was among six young leaders vying for the Youth of the Year title. It's a position that puts a spotlight on the state's most inspiring teens.
"I just want to help and be a voice for people," said Chappuis.
The recipient of a $20,000 college scholarship, she credits the "club" for her success. "The people are incredible, and I think giving kids a second family and place to go is incredible, so I give everything that I have and have worked for, to them," said Chappuis.
She believes that the sky's the limit. "If you put your mind to it, and you believe in yourself. You can do it. It doesn’t matter what you’ve gone through, you let it define you as a person. You choose whether you’re going to fall down and stay down or if you’re going to get back up and come back stronger," said Chappuis.
The Youth of the Year Award is designed to promote club and community service, academic performance, and contributions to family. Chappuis' next stop is Chicago where she'll compete for the regional youth of the year title. Chappuis says that she one day hopes to be a pediatric nurse.