Youth of the year |

Youth of the year

John Vandelinder

— Stewart Muldoon looks like a stero-typical high school student.

His hair is unkempt, hanging in his face as a grin erupts from underneath.

He talks in the lingo of a younger generation, but his voice is hard to hear among the masses of children surrounding him.

Stewart is a junior staff member at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, where he spends his afternoons keeping an eye on those younger than him in ongoing effort to, as he says, “still be a kid.”

Stewart will be honored as the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year at tonight’s Cowboy Christmas because of his willingness to take on new challenges and his unwavering sense of service and giving to others.

“Stewart is remarkable,” Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Dana Duran said. “He sees a greater need for the youth in Craig. He sees stuff on his own that he can do to always make a contribution. He’s very deserving.”

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He was humble, but happy to hear he was being recognized.

“Why me?” he said at first. Then after some thought, “I feel like I’m actually doing something good for the community. If I can help kids, it makes life worth it.”

Stewart said he recognizes the need for an after-school program, and he works to ensure the children have fun, are well behaved and learn something along the way.

“I really do want to have an influence on them,” he said. “: A lot of these kids have too much responsibility at such a young age. It’s my job to help relieve them of that.”

He said he understands children maybe a little bit more because, deep inside, he believes he still is one.

“I don’t worry about the typical high school kid stuff,” he said, discarding any notion that he misses out on any of the teenager social scene. “I’ve learned a lot of patience and tolerance at this job. A lot of other kids my age don’t realize what they are missing out on by helping out in the community. I’m still learning here at work.”

Duran said Stewart has become a favorite of staff and members alike, and they have become favorites of his.

“It doesn’t feel like a job when I get here,” he smiled and said. “It’s fun here. It feels like being a kid all over again, but it feels better because I get to help others as I go.”

John Vandelinder can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or