Presidio of Monterey, Calif. (Jan. 25, 2024) – Presidio of Monterey leadership, family and friends gathered for the Military Youth of the Year and Junior Military Youth of the Year competition at the Porter Youth Center on Jan. 19. Contestants included Yarah Ahmed, Nicholas Morgan and Annemarie Worner.
The event, which recognizes and celebrates the achievements of military youth, included public speaking presentations by candidates and interview evaluations by a panel of judges from PoM’s Family and Morale Welfare Recreation.
After some deliberation, Yarah Ahmed was awarded the title of Military Youth of the Year and Annemarie Worner was awarded the title of Junior Military Youth of the Year. Both recipients earned well-deserved recognition for their presentations and also received small scholarships towards their higher education.
Col. Sam Kline, PoM garrison commander, expressed gratitude to the Porter Youth Center leadership and families. "Initiatives like these encourage resilience and the cultivation of relationships within military families and places a high value on community, family and investing in each other,” said Kline.
Kline continued by thanking all of the Military Youth of the Year candidates for their compelling presentations. “I learned something from each one of you tonight. I was inspired by the many different opportunities you use to find happiness and to challenge yourself through sports, teamwork and a love for learning,” Kline said. “I want to encourage you to keep going—don't let negativity deter you. Keep seizing opportunities, practice gratitude, and embrace a mindset of continuous learning.”
The Porter Youth Center's Military Youth of the Year event follows the framework of the Boys and Girls Club of America's Military Youth of the Year program. Introduced in 2013, the program aims to recognize outstanding teens at BGCA-affiliated youth centers on U.S. military installations. It provides consistent programming, safe environments, and highly engaged staff to support military youth facing unique challenges.
The Military Youth of the Year program is highly regarded by the Armed Forces as a transformative leadership development opportunity. It unfolds through local, state, and regional events, ultimately leading to the National Youth of the Year event. Participants are evaluated based on their embodiment of values such as leadership and service, academic excellence and healthy lifestyles.
The Military Youth of the Year event at the Porter Youth Center serves as a shining example of the unwavering spirit and accomplishments of military youth in the Monterey community.