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Mahnomen teen wins youth of the year honor


Local Winner Press Release



Josh Zornes to Now Vie for State Title and Scholarship

Mahnomen, MN 2/4/16 – Selected among several local outstanding youth, Zornes will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members for the Minnesota  Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Capturing the local Youth of the Year award, presents Zornes with a $1,000 scholarship from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the White Earth Reservation to be used for his future educational endeavors. 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. As the new Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Clubs of the White Earth Reservation 17 year old Zornes is a true example of an extraordinary young adult recognized by BGCA for his leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle.

“Josh is a smart, motivated, and passionate young individual, who will do great things with his future. Listening to all the Club participants who presented their essays this evening is a pleasing reminder of how important youth programs are and the impact they have. Josh told his club story with poise, compassion, simplicity, and purpose. We are proud of all of the participants for the confidence and bravery it takes to stand up in front of an audience and describe something so personal. Each participant offered wonderful compositions and I know all of us look forward to great futures, “said Aimee Smith, Chief Professional Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the White Earth Reservation.

Zornes has been a Club member for 10+ years, is an active youth council representative, and is currently employed by the Club as a junior staff member.  He contributes many of his accomplishes to his family, friends, and mentor Brenda Weaver, Unit Lead of the Mahnomen unit.  Zornes is an active member of his school district and in his community where he has generated a passion for service work; his future plans include attending a post-secondary institution to major in social work.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year recognition program is presented by Disney, who has supported BGCA for more than 50 years, empowering young people to reach their full potential and providing youth with access to the tools they need to build the great futures they imagine. Toyota, the Signature Sponsor of Youth of the Year, is committed to helping improve the quality of life in our communities, and has demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring youth have access to a quality education. Additional support is provided by University of Phoenix, a national education partner that has joined with BGCA to impact academic success among youth across the country, and the Taco Bell Foundation, BGCA’s premier partner for teen empowerment.

If Zornes wins at the state competition,  he will compete for the title of Midwest Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 college scholarship, renewable for four years up to $40,000. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2016, to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $25,000, renewable each year up to $100,000 and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House.

For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit

About Boys & Girls Clubs of the White Earth Reservation

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the White Earth Reservation is a multi-unit non-profit organization with Club’s located in the communities of Naytahwaush, Pine Point, Mahnomen, Rice Lake, White Earth, Callaway and Elbow Lake. Our mission is to inspire and enable all youth, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The BGCWER is dedicated to ensuring youth have access to quality programs and services that will enhance their lives and shape their futures. The BGCWER offers diverse programs in five core areas;  Education & Technology, Art & Cultural Enrichment, Leadership & Service, Health & Lifeskills and Sports & Recreation.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America

For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America ( has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at and




Local youth of the year competition participants from L to R: Jolie Bunker, Destiny Zornes, Josh Zornes, Taytum Weaver, and James Hvezda Jr.



Aimee Smith, CPO, Boys & Girls Clubs of the White Earth Reservation,