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News from Around JRM

NBG Youth of the Year Competes in Japan

10 April 2023

From Valerie Maigue , U.S. Naval Base Guam

YOKOSUKA, Japan (April 10, 2023) – Cmdr. William C. McCool School eighth-grader Isabel Hyider represented U.S. Naval Base Guam’s Teen Center in the Military Youth of the Year Regional Competition in Yokosuka, Japan March 30 – 31.
YOKOSUKA, Japan (April 10, 2023) – Cmdr. William C. McCool School eighth-grader Isabel Hyider represented U.S. Naval Base Guam’s Teen Center in the Military Youth of the Year Regional Competition in Yokosuka, Japan March 30 – 31.
Military Youth of the Year honors young people for their commitment to community service, academic success, good character and citizenship, and establishing long-term goals.
After being selected as the state-level Youth of the Year in Guam, Isabel traveled to Yokosuka where she participated in a two-day region-level competition, which included an interview and judging. Although Isabel did not win at regionals, she walked away with new experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
“The experience that I had in Yokosuka competing at regionals was full of unexpected surprises, new friendships, and an open platform to express my ideas,” she said. “There were two panels consisting of a three-minute speech followed by an interview. I focused my speech on addressing the importance of equality. I summed up my speech by saying, ‘to emphasize what I just talked about, it isn’t giving people the same outcomes, it is about having the same opportunities.’”
The annual competition falls under the Boys and Girls Club of America, which is affiliated with Navy Child Youth Programs (CYP). Teenagers may apply by participating in the Navy CYP Teen Center and candidates must be an active member of the club.
“She was very well prepared and we’re so proud of her,” said NBG CYP Youth Director Samantha Acosta. “I learned so much about her during the application process and as her advisor. Her life as a military child really inspires me and other staff at our teen center, because she is so resilient and Isabel strives for the very best academically, with her friends, and in her home life.”
As a military child, Isabel has lived overseas for much of her childhood including Hawaii, Japan, and now Guam. According to Acosta, despite having to re-adapt often, Isabel is motivated and carries a “positive, contagious energy.”
“She’s had to adapt to new cultures and environments, but one thing that caught our attention is that she is open to exploring and trying new things, new activities, making new friends, and is welcoming to others she meets through our programs,” Acosta said.
The Hyider family is no stranger to the Military Youth of the Year competition, with Isabel’s brother Zayne also being a state winner during their time in Japan.
“Our children participating in the Military Youth of the Year competitions has been amazing,” said mother, Misty Hyider. “The experience has provided them with confidence, and a means to find their voices. It encouraged them both to do a deep dive into topics that they were passionate about.”
When Zayne competed, he focused on the rising cost of college and how young people could fulfill their dreams without going into debt. Zayne is now a sophomore at the University of Arizona on a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship.
“Isabel, our rising star, focused on equality and encouraging people to have their voice be heard,” Misty Hyider said. “We are incredibly proud of their achievements and are grateful to have been part of an amazing competition. We would like to thank the Boys and Girls Club for sponsoring the event, and the teen centers at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman, Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, and Naval Base Guam. Their dedication and support of military youth is nothing short of spectacular.”
During the trip to Japan, Isabel provided Acosta with a tour of her old stomping grounds including a trip to the sushi-go-round and a Japanese arcade. Isabel and other competitors were also surprised with a trip to Tokyo Disneyland.
Isabel encourages other teens to put their best foot forward in all that they do.
“Youth can do anything they put their minds to,” she said. “Make sure to have a voice and make your opinions known.”
For more information on CYP, contact (671) 339-6130.

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