December 18, 2018

Developing the next generation of leaders is central to our mission at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco. Towards that end, our annual Youth of the Year program invites Club youth to participate in a comprehensive leadership education course, assisting them as they develop tools to make a difference in their lives and their communities moving forward. In speaking about the program with Tavi Baker, Citywide Director of Youth Leadership Programs at BGCSF, she noted the important role that strong curriculum plays in helping youth develop their voice as leaders. “We place emphasis on ensuring our program is very structured and comprehensive,” Tavi said. “We want to give the youth who participate every tool they need to succeed in the next phase of their life.”

Representing Camp Mendocino, Youth of the Year Taluai “T” Tulau agrees that the program provides great opportunities for youth to grow their voice in leadership. "The Youth of the Year program lets me share with others how the Club and Camp positively influenced my life. It allows me to show my true character and the leadership skills I've learned over the years."


Each year, from October to January, Youth of the Year take on a curriculum that involves public speaking, one-on-one mentorship, essay writing, and team building. Through participation in the program, youth develop skills in leadership, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, and are provided an outlet for their creativity.


Our 2019 Youth of the Year are already well on their way to finding their voice amongst their peers. Beginning with an introductory scavenger hunt in September, these youth have grown as leaders and friends. Making their way through the program, youth are assisted by their Club and academic coaches, both of whom help each youth build their voice as leaders. Many Club and academic mentors are former Youth of the Year themselves, and can offer unique perspective on the rigorous work required for success in the program.

To become the leaders of tomorrow, Youth of the Year have to convey their vision for what that future will look like. Helping them in this process are three essays the youth write for the program, placing their unique perspective on the page. This year’s essays were on “My Club Experience”, “My Personal Brand”, and “My Vision for America’s Youth”. To assist in the essay-writing process, youth participated in a workshop hosted by 826 Valencia that helped them develop writing skills that will be useful not only in the program, but also on college and scholarship applications.

As the 2019 Youth of the Year move towards the culmination of our citywide program, they’re working with their mentors to finalize speeches which they will deliver before a panel of judges. Currently, the youth are going through mock interviews to prepare for questions they may face during this process.

The BGCSF Youth of the Year program concludes with the Charles Schwab Youth of the Year Luncheon, taking place on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco. Though only one youth will be named Citywide Youth of the Year, each of the six who participated in our 2019 program will be stronger leaders and voices in their community moving forward. For more information on the Luncheon and to purchase tickets, click here. For additional information on the Youth of the Year program, click here.




More Stories

Learn more about the happenings at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco.
MLK Day of Service Empowers Youth to Create Change

More than 300 BGCSF staff, youth, family members, and friends joined together for a day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Participants took part in one of three activities planned by staff and youth leaders...

What It Takes to Build A New Generation of Leaders

At Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF), we firmly believe that opportunities for lifelong success should be within easy reach of every child. Our programs focus on academic success, job readiness with earning potential, healthy lifestyles, and good character and community engagement.

Teaching Teens to Speak Their Truth

In the past year, we’ve seen teens take the lead on important issues like climate change, gun control, and the dangers of vaping. Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco (BGCSF) recognizes the importance of encouraging “youth voice” as a tool to shape and drive change at the Clubs and in the community.