Letter to the editor: Youth of the Year grateful for support

It is an honor to write about my Youth of the Year experience with Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley. Being Youth of the Year has made me feel so much better about myself. Writing the essays for the competition, I never thought I’d make it so far. Not only is it a title, it is like a brief chapter of my life being written. Thankfully it’s something positive.

Having the opportunity to go to the Boys & Girls Clubs state-level competition was kind of scary. Being the youngest one there, I was very intimidated by everyone because they were older and had more experience talking in front of larger crowds. That’s why being Youth of the Year of the San Luis Valley was so surprising. Two years ago I wouldn’t have been able to do a presentation in front of people I’ve known for most of my life, let alone in front of three judges who were strangers making notes as I presented a story about my life. I think I will always be scared to talk in front of people, but my trip to Denver taught me that someone else in the room knows exactly how I feel. It also taught me that even though I’m a shy person who prefers to read and listen to music than go to the movies with a group of friends, people actually hear me when I say something and that someone is listening and, hopefully, understanding what I’m trying to say.

I also loved how everyone was so supportive and nice to each other. I will always remember how I cried, and how three people who were competing against me hugged me and said it was OK and that they were proud of me. It may seem like nothing to most people, but hearing those words from them didn’t make me feel so scared anymore. It felt like, “Yeah, I can do this … I can do this.” Before this experience I have never told myself that.

I will never forget the friendships and bonds that I have made. I will always carry the events of these past few weeks and the feeling of so much love from perfect strangers. And I will forever be thankful for those who supported me through the process and those who listened to my story at the Youth of the Year breakfast.  I am also so grateful to Adams State University and President Beverlee McClure for the scholarship that has been presented to me. I don’t think I could have asked for such an amazing opportunity.


Joy Mejia

Boys & Girls Clubs of San Luis Valley Youth of the Year 2017