2017 Youth of the Year: Zach Wilhemli

Zach Wilhelmi has been named the Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Club of Watertown. The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle. The Youth of the Year program honors our nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures and encourages all kids to lead, succeed and inspire. Wilhelmi has been awarded a college scholarship for this honor through a partnership with First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard. He will now go on to vie for the South Dakota Youth of the Year title in February in Pierre.

“Zach is passionate about his community and creating a better experience for everyone.,” said Liz Christianson, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club. Wilhelmi has been an active member of the Boys & Girls Club for the last 8 years.

Wilhelmi has been very involved in the Keystone Leadership group where he has helped with projects such as Basketball Tournaments, visiting the Senior Center, and Tobacco Audits at local businesses. In addition to Keystone, Wilhelmi has been a vital addition to the Teen Court program, where he sits as the Jury Foreperson. Teen Court is a diversion program sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club, where youth defendants between the ages of 10 and 18 are given a second chance. Wilhelmi has grown in this position as well. Because of the sensitivity and confidently of these juvenile court cases, our youth volunteers need to remain fair, confidential, and just.

Wilhelmi is not only active within Boys & Girls Club programs, but he is also very dedicated to his athletic teams, being involved in both Track and Football for the Watertown Arrows. Wilhelmi has become a role model for our younger members at the Club. He promotes a strong moral character; poise, personal growth, and leadership qualities.

“I have seen Zach grow into a responsible and caring adolescent. He is consistently the first to volunteer his time and talents.,” said Christianson. This past year, Wilhelmi received the Celebrate! Youth Volunteer Award through the Watertown Area Community Foundation.

If Zach wins at the state competition, he will compete for the title of Midwest Region Youth of the Year. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C. in September 2017, to compete for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year.

Youth of the Year

Youth of the Year National Program Information
Youth of the Year is Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier recognition program for Club members. Established in 1947, the program promotes service to Club, community and family, academic success, strong moral character, life goals, and poise and public speaking ability.

The Boys & Girls Club of Watertown utilizes the Youth of the Year program as a year-round tool for fostering young people’s character, personal growth, and leadership qualities. Teens ages 14 to 18 may be a candidate to compete for The Boys & Girls Club of Watertown Youth of the Year. The young person selected as the Youth of the Year represents the Club at the State competition. The individual selected as the State Youth of the Year receives a $1,000 scholarship and is eligible to participate in the regional competition. Five regional winners receive a $10,000 scholarship and are eligible to compete on the national level. The young person selected as the National Youth of the Year receives up to additional $50,000 scholarship and is installed by the President of the United States.