Moffat County Locals: Bryson Davis, Maddie Coutts, Reina Steele share the honors of Boys & Girls Club’s Youth of the Year
A butterfly, a football player and a Moffat County High School freshman each have their own stories about what led them to this point, but what they have in common is the biggest honor their workplace can provide.
Boys & Girls Club of Craig’s Maddie Coutts, Bryson Davis and Reina Steele were picked as the 2018 Youth of the Year, a distinction that acknowledges the organization’s junior staff members, also known as red shirts, and how they have excelled in their position working with local kids.
The three of them presented speeches during Dec. 1’s Cowboy Christmas event that detailed their time as employees and what kind of guidance the teenagers have been able to provide the younger patrons who look up to them.
Or, transversely, how working with children has made their lives all the better.
As the youngest of the recipients, Steele said she just started as a staff member earlier in the year while still in middle school. Moving to high school was a difficult transition for her, and she was feeling a bit lost.
But, serving as a role model and playmate for elementary ages worked wonders for her, as she noted in her speech to the crowd that the true meaning of happiness can be found in winning a game of dodgeball.
More so, working with kids brought out her own best traits.
“Today I establish myself as strong, brave, opinionated, ambitious, considerate Reina,” she said.
Coutts and Davis noted they were both inspired to work at BGC after attending it during their younger days.
“I’ve been at the Boys & Girls Club since I was 5 years old, and so to give back and show what the Boys & Girls Club has done for me has been a big honor,” Coutts said.
Coutts, currently in her junior year at MCHS, described herself as a “social butterfly” largely because of her time spent at the club that helped her enhance her communication skills and personality.
“I didn’t really put myself out there when I was younger, so it let me put that side of myself out there,” she said.
She credited a former club worker nicknamed Shaggy with helping her come out of her shell.
“His goofy characteristics clashed with mine, but he was the person that I always looked up to,” she said, adding that this was something she hoped to carry on in her own way.
For Davis, an MCHS senior, working as a staff member at the club helped him find a sense of calm. He noted his junior year of high school was one of extreme anxiety as he put increasing pressure on himself to perform on the football field.
He found a new sense of purpose working with younger children and helping them cope with similar stresses in their lives.
Though Davis returned to the gridiron this fall, his season on the Bulldog line was cut short by an injury during Moffat County’s Homecoming game against Basalt.
Still, he learned not long after that a girl he had mentored at the club had decided to enlist on a youth pigskin team after being worried that she wouldn’t fit in among a team of boys.
“I’m so glad that I could inspire a little girl to be brave and play football,” he said.
This is the first year the Craig club has selected multiple nominees, and Davis, Steele and Coutts will compete for Youth of the Year of Northwest Colorado at a February event in Steamboat Springs. One of them will be picked to move on to a state-level contest in Denver.
The award is intended to honor well-rounded teens, and the three of them are no exception.
Steele participates in choir, Rise Above Teen Council, and Moffat County 4-H. Davis is part of MCHS’s FFA chapter and Moffat County Youth United Way with plans to attend University of Northern Colorado, while Coutts is the FFA chapter president, in addition to a dual enrollment student at Colorado Northwestern Community College.
She aims to become a nurse.
In an organization where learning is always present, the Youth of the Year experience honors their achievement while also serving to grow their public speaking, said Dana Duran, executive director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado.
“We’re able to give kids a microphone and say, ‘What do you think?’ and have some adults stop and listen,” Duran said. “The more people I can get to listen and more kids to speak, the more I feel like I’m serving the Boys & Girls Club.”
Following the round of speeches at Cowboy Christmas, Duran motioned to the honorees as examples of why the club is so successful.
“Thank you so much for believing in the Boys & Girls Club and what we do every day and making futures like this possible,” she said.
So much for the models that predicted a cool, wet summer for us here in western Colorado — at least I think it’s hot this July. Ranchers are probably relieved that it’s been a good haying season, and after the cool spring, it’s nice to have a “normal” summer, but it is indeed hot.