Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa's 2022 Youth of the Year - Sierra Pilate
Congratulations to Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa’s 2022 Youth of the Year, Sierra Pilate.
The Youth of the Year (YOY) 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. In its 75th year, the YOY 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.
The 2022 Youth of the Year Scholarship Competition was held Friday, March 25 at the Holiday Inn Des Moines Downtown. The candidates gave their prepared speeches in front of a panel of five judges:
Jay Byers – President & CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership
- Miriam Lewis – Chief Inclusion Officer at Principal Financial Group®
- Chelsea McCracken – Vice President of Safety, Training and Development at MidAmerican Energy Company and BGCCI Board Member
- Vince Ward – Business Development Director at The Weitz Company
- Troy Vincent – Chief Executive Officer of Navigate Wellbeing Solutions
Following the speech giving, the candidates, their families and BGCCI’s community members attended a dinner where this year’s Youth of the Year winner was announced.
About Sierra Pilate
This year’s YOY is Sierra Pilate, a senior high school student at East High School, in Greater Des Moines (DSM). After joining Club in middle school, Sierra has grown into a compassionate, outgoing leader. BGCCI has been a place where Sierra can learn, grow and feel comfortable in her own skin with continued love and support from her peers, mentors and staff.
“Sierra’s ability to impact the community is admirable,” said Laurie Jeffries, club site coordinator at our E.T. Meredith Jr. Club. “Her participation in BGCCI and service as a peer mentor for YLI are just a few of the ways in which she has grown into an effective leader and inspired others around her. Sierra will be an incredible ambassador for over 2,000 BGCCI Club members and a strong voice for all of our community’s young people.”
I started with Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa with just a few friends but have ended up with a family. This family has reminded me that I am always loved, and I can do anything that I put my mind towards — like music, singing and dancing. Not only have I found a new confidence through Club, but I have learned to love myself more than I ever have before.
As I continue to move forward into graduation and the next steps of my education and career path, I hope to continue to empower youth — especially through music — to feel safe and supported on their personal growth journey, just as all of the amazing Boys & Girls Club staff did for me.
Club has made me who I am today, and I will always be grateful for these amazing people. They really are my second family. – Sierra Pilate, 2022 Youth of the Year
Pictured: 2022 Youth of the Year, Sierra
Sierra will go on to compete for the Iowa Youth of the Year title and a $2,500 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of BGCCI! If Sierra is named the Iowa Youth of the Year, she will contend for the title of Midwest Regional Youth of the Year who will receive an additional $20,000 college scholarship.
Six finalists will advance to the National Youth of the Year event in Los Angeles in September 2022, to vie for the title of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of $50,000 and a brand-new Toyota Corolla.
For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit youthoftheyear.org.
Job opportunities and career resources are abundant in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Whether you're looking to find an internship, a job, develop professionally or grow as a student, we have the resources to help you thrive.
Pictured: 2022 Youth of the Year, Sierra. The Junior Youth of the Year program cultivates younger Club member’s leadership potential, providing the foundation they need for advanced leadership development, academic excellence and postsecondary success.