Miguel Meza, back row center, poses with some of the young members of the Boys & Girls Club of Craig. Meza, one of the red shirt staff, was selected as the Club's Youth of the Year and will be acknowledged during the organization's fundraiser event Cowboy Christmas this Saturday. Cowboy Christmas also includes honoring other People of the Year, as well as dinner, dancing, live music and more.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Miguel Meza, back row center, poses with some of the young members of the Boys & Girls Club of Craig. Meza, one of the red shirt staff, was selected as the Club's Youth of the Year and will be acknowledged during the organization's fundraiser event Cowboy Christmas this Saturday. Cowboy Christmas also includes honoring other People of the Year, as well as dinner, dancing, live music and more.

Holiday fundraiser to benefit Craig Boys & Girls Club

Event to honor noteworthy figures

If you go…

Cowboy Christmas

5:30 p.m., Saturday

Boys & Girls Club of Craig

— The event includes dinner, dancing to live music, silent and live auctions, a Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament, and all proceeds go toward the local Boys & Girls Club. Tickets are $35 for an individual and $800 or $1,000 for a sponsorship table and are available at the Craig Daily Press or the Boys & Girls Club. For more information, call 970-826-0411 or visit bgcnwc.org.

During his earlier childhood, Craig teenager Miguel Meza had a difficult home life. Conflict between his parents left him seeking a place where he could forget about some of these hardships, at least for a little while. He was fortunate enough to find an outlet that would let him grow into a happy and responsible young man, and he has recently spent his time giving back to this place.

And, this weekend, so can you.

Cowboy Christmas, the annual fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, takes place Saturday evening with dinner and dancing, with live music provided by Four 2 Play. Following that are a silent auction, a live auction and a Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament.

All proceeds will go toward the local branch of the Boys & Girls Club.

“I think people enjoy a good community event to kick off the holiday season,” said Dana Duran, Boys & Girls Club executive director. “It supports our club and it makes it possible for us to be open the hours and days that families need us.”

Duran added that this year’s Cowboy Christmas comes at the end of a very positive year for the local branch of the organization.

“We’ve served more kids, we’ve done bigger and better programs, we’re inviting new staff members and we’re trying to figure out how to engage parents better,” she said. “None of that would be possible without this event “

Besides parents getting the chance to see where their kids spend much of their time, they will also see community members acknowledged as the Boys & Girls Club’s selections for noteworthy folks of 2013.

Couple John and Janele Husband will share Person of the Year, while Business of the Year will go to Food Bank of the Rockies for its work in Northwest Colorado with the program Kids Café. The title of Volunteer of the Year will also be given out, though the identity still remains a secret.

Meza will be recognized as Youth of the Year and will get the chance to read the speech that earned him that distinction. Last month, he and several other teen workers with the Boys & Girls Club met with a panel of local judges to give presentations on how the Club has impacted their lives.

Meza, 15 and a sophomore at Moffat County High School, has been part of the organization for nearly a decade, first as a participant in his elementary school years.

His speech credits the Boys & Girls Club as a place that gave him structure and support when he was being bullied at school and abused by an alcoholic father at home.

“I got treated nicely here and treated with respect,” he said. “This place is my home, and I’m so glad to be a part of it. It’s a very positive part of my life.”

Now that he’s older, Meza’s outlook is very bright as a member of the Club’s staff. He’s been able to help younger children facing some of the issues he had earlier in life and he’s also following in the footsteps of his older sister, who won Youth of the Year several years ago.

He’ll also get the chance to compete with the Steamboat Springs branch’s nominee in January to represent the region at a state-level event later in 2014, which could leave him the recipient of some scholarships. As for his future, Meza hopes to attend University of Northern Colorado or Regis University and become a teacher.

“I’d like to teach biology or geometry, my two favorite subjects,” he said.

Duran first met the Youth of the Year winner in 2007 and his since watched him become a strong role model for children.

“He has gained so much self-confidence and turned into such an incredible young man,” she said. “Miguel is the proof in the pudding of what the Boys & Girls Club is all about.”

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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