Kadi Scott, a Moffat County High School senior, pauses for a photo Wednesday at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, where she works as a junior staff member. Scott took third place at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year state competition in late March and was awarded a full-ride scholarship to Adams State College, where she plans to study elementary special education.

Photo by Bridget Manley

Kadi Scott, a Moffat County High School senior, pauses for a photo Wednesday at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, where she works as a junior staff member. Scott took third place at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year state competition in late March and was awarded a full-ride scholarship to Adams State College, where she plans to study elementary special education.

Club opened doors, provided healing for Craig teen

photo

Courtesy photo

Kadi Scott makes a speech at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year state competition in late March at the Denver Art Museum. The Moffat County High School senior competed against 14 other teenagers from across Colorado and took third place in the event.

At a glance ...

• Kadi Scott won third place in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Colorado Youth of the Year competition March 26 and 27.

• Scott, a Boys & Girls Club of Craig junior staff member, was offered a full-ride scholarship to Adams State College for her performance at the event.

• She plans to study elementary special education when she begins attending the college in August.

Kadi Scott stepped out of the whirlwind of noise and laughter Wednesday afternoon, seeking a calm corner in the Boys & Girls Club of Craig.

Calm being a relative term.

As the junior staff member spoke about her past and future, both now intricately connected to the club, a boy peeked into the room to show her a small vehicle he created from a toy construction set, his face alight with pride.

It’s not unusual for children to be drawn to Scott. “She’s kind of like a magnet here,” said Kim Maneotis, Boys & Girls Club of Craig unit director.

“Kids come to her. They like her. She listens.”

Scott didn’t mind the brief interruption Wednesday.

She’s here for the children, to “be a friend to them (and) be there to listen,” she said.

Scott, a Moffat County High School senior, has worked at the Boys & Girls Club for four years.

But now, her days with the agency are numbered. She’s bound for a new stage in life, thanks largely to an honor she won at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Colorado Youth of the Year competition March 26 and 27.

Scott took third place in the event, which was hosted at the Denver Art Museum and recognizes “outstanding contributions” on the part of club members, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado reported in a news release.

“I was so proud of her for the job that she did representing herself and for representing Northwest Colorado,” said Maneotis, who accompanied Scott to the event. “She just did a fantastic job.”

Dana Duran, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado executive director, echoed that sentiment.

“We are extremely proud of Kadi,” Duran said in the release. “Her determination is inspiriting, and her tenacity will take her far in life.”

As a result of her performance, Scott was offered a four-year renewable scholarship to Adams State College that will cover her full tuition, room and board.

“Being able to get a full-ride scholarship is absolutely astonishing,” she said. Scott begins in August at Adams State, where she plans to study elementary special education.

Her last day at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig is May 24.

Leaving the children and staff behind won’t be easy, she said.

The club was more than a high school job to the 17-year-old.

It was a place of refuge after what Scott described as “a really hard time in my life.”

When she was in middle school, her youth pastor John Graler, of Craig Christian Church, committed suicide, she said.

Her faith in adult role models shattered in the aftermath of his death. Graler was found dead at his home in January 2007, a day after he was arrested on charges of sexual assault, sexual assault on a child and sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust.

“I lost complete trust in people,” Scott said. “I thought I could never have a mentor again.”

Yet, her faith in adults gradually revived as she found confidants in the staff members at the Boys & Girls Club.

The staff members “were there to listen to me and just really learn about my life ... and to teach me how to trust again,” she said.

The club remained Scott’s source of support in the years that followed.

“You might be having a bad day and you walk through the doors and they’re sitting there smiling, yelling at you, and you’re like, ‘How can I be mad?’” she said.

“‘I have 150 kids to go to and smile at every day.’”

Leaving the club permanently isn’t in her plans.

Instead, she intends to return to Craig after she graduates from college to give back to the club, she said.

But the thought of bidding goodbye — even temporarily — brings tears to her eyes.

“You just can’t leave a place that’s given so much to you,” she said.

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