Youth of the Year to be honored at Cowboy Christmas | CraigDailyPress.com

Youth of the Year to be honored at Cowboy Christmas

Lauren Blair

Tané Otis takes a break from her volunteer duties outside the Centennial Mall Thursday, where she helped collect donations for the Holiday Drive sponsored by KRAI. Otis will be honored Saturday night at the Boys & Girls Club's Cowboy Christmas as Youth of the Year, where she will deliver the speech that won her the award.





Tané Otis takes a break from her volunteer duties outside the Centennial Mall Thursday, where she helped collect donations for the Holiday Drive sponsored by KRAI. Otis will be honored Saturday night at the Boys & Girls Club’s Cowboy Christmas as Youth of the Year, where she will deliver the speech that won her the award.
Lauren Blair

Cowboy Christmas has been a Craig tradition for nearly a decade now and with the festivities comes the celebration of the Youth of the Year.

The honor is bestowed upon one of the club's teen volunteers and junior staff based on a speech written and delivered by the student to a committee of judges.

This year, Tané Otis received the honor and will deliver her speech to a captive audience Saturday night at Cowboy Christmas.

"I'm pretty excited. I'm kind of nervous," Otis said. "I was proud of myself for accomplishing that, and then the afterthoughts came — I'm going to have to give this speech in front of a whole bunch of people, and I'm going to be nervous, but I think I'll be good."

Otis is a sophomore at Moffat County High School and a long-time Boys & Girls Club member, volunteer and now junior staff. She is also very involved with Bear River Young Life, and on Thursday, could be found volunteering at the Holiday Drive sponsored by KRAI at Centennial Mall.

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In addition to nonperishable food items, cash and Christmas gifts, the drive is collecting toys to distribute to local kids during the holiday season. Otis is especially passionate about helping kids, which brought her out to support the event.

"A lot of my speech was about me being able to change little kids' lives," Otis said. "Me being able to work there (at Boys & Girls Club) every day is just such a blessing, because I know if someone's feeling down. … I can be there and give them somebody to lean up on."

Otis said she hopes to go into law enforcement when she's older, and she also has an unusual passion and talent behind a camera. The enterprising 15-year-old has taken professional-quality senior portraits for several of her peers at MCHS.

Otis was also honored as Student of the Month by Rotary Club of Craig on the same day that she was to give her speech against two other competitors for Youth of the Year.

"I had gone to the Rotary Club meeting that morning to accept the award," Otis said. "Something sparked up inside of me, and I went and read my speech. It was awesome that I won and very surprising."

Otis will go head-to-head against the Steamboat Boys & Girls Club winner, and whoever wins will continue onto the state level.

"It teaches kids about public speaking and about following through on a lot of details," said Executive Director Dana Duran. "It's teaching them about telling their story."

If Otis moves onto the state and national levels, she could win a laptop computer, meet the president and have access to full-ride scholarships.

"She's a very poised, very confident young woman," Boys & Girls Club Program Direction Kari Neuman said. "They were really blown away by her ability to answer the questions, and her future goals is what stood out to the judges. Her drive and dedication to serving the community … she just lights up the room. She'll represent the club very, very well."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.