Lynch named Wiesbaden's Youth of the Year
February 14, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany - Winning is nothing new for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Youth of the Year Natalia Lynch.
The recipient of a slew of honors, including the Young Georgia Author Award in 2006, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America Talent Search (for her involvement with the Wiesbaden band Volition) in 2012 and now Runner-Up in the Installation Management Command-Europe BGCA Military Youth of the Year competition, takes it all in stride.
"It feels pretty amazing -- the fact that people look at what you've done and then to be held in such high regard is an amazing feeling," said Lynch who is in her penultimate year at the German Gutenberg Gymnasium (high school).
"Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys and Girls Club member can receive," said Joseph Marton, with IMCOM-Europe's Child, Youth and School Services. "As BGCA's premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member's family, school, community and Boys and Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles."
Lynch, who came to Germany with her mother, Lucia, to join her U.S. military pilot father, Keith, as an 11-year-old, decided to attend German school at that time to learn the language. Although a major hurdle, the young student who already spoke Portuguese (thanks to her mother's Brazilian heritage) and English quickly adapted to the new learning environment and has continued to excel academically.
"The move to Germany (from Savannah, Ga.) and my switch to German school did not deter me; I wrote a poem in German which was published in the summer 2008 edition of my school's newspaper, Theo," said Lynch, adding that she has enjoyed a range of unique experiences including serving an internship with the European Space Operations Center and being recognized by the city of Wiesbaden for having developed an online business model for her Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship class.
"I was excited about coming to Germany -- I had never been there before," she said, explaining that while learning about German history in school in Georgia was one thing, getting a chance to experience the culture firsthand was another all together. "I wanted to see what experiences I could have, that I didn't have the opportunity to experience before."
At the same time, Lynch said she always appreciated the connection to her American community that Youth Services provides.
"The YS is like my lifeline to the American community. They are the platform for my contact with American kids," Lynch said, adding that she would like to help establish more contacts between German and American teens.
"She's an accomplished young lady," said Aaron Chapuis of Wiesbaden's CYSS, who accompanied Volition when the band was invited to perform for a BGCA convention in San Diego, Ca., in 2012 after winning the Talent Search competition. "I was impressed with how she juggles so many different things."
As an accomplished musician and violin teacher, Lynch has enjoyed a range of unique experiences performing with her school orchestra, church choir, American band mates in Volition both overseas and in the United States, and joining Fabian Witmer and Friends for a concert at the Wiesbaden Christmas Market in December 2012.
"I have been teaching private violin lessons for beginners since September 2009. During this time, I have seen countless examples of the positive effects music has on children's development," she said.
Volition, which has performed at various community events, is gearing up to enter this year's BGCA Talent Search again, Lynch added. "Whether we are fortunate enough to be selected again or not, I hope I can continue to serve my military community and make my club proud."
The former volunteer for the Herald Union said she was very thankful for all of the support and guidance she has received from the staff at Wiesbaden Youth Services. "They do a really good job of promoting teens in a good way," Lynch said.