A local teen has been named “Youth of the Year” for the Boys & Girls Club of the Portland metro area.
John Grall, 15, is a long-time member and now volunteer at the local Jack, Will and Rob Boys & Girls Club in Camas.
He was selected for Youth of the Year based on several different categories, including service to the local club, community and family, academic success, strong moral character, life goals, and poise and public speaking ability.
Grall, a Camas High School freshman, had to compile a booklet illustrating all of the different categories, as well as secure several letters of recommendation. Between juggling his volunteer work, paper route at the Post-Record, wrestling practice and school, it took him three months to finish the booklet.
As Youth of the Year, Grall will represent all Portland area clubs at the state competition in April. State winners receive a $1,000 scholarship and participate at the regional level. Five regional winners receive a $10,000 scholarship and move on to national level competition. The national winner receives a $50,000 scholarship and is installed by the President.
“I am honored and flattered to be able to go and compete at the state competition,” Grall said. “It is the first time someone from Jack, Will and Rob has won and I’m excited to represent my club.”
Grall has been a member of the club for nine years and now volunteers, coaching two flag football teams and assisting as needed.
“I am a real product of this club and what it can do, so this is a big honor to win,” Grall said.
His mom, Kelly, agrees.
“Kids are a product of their environment,” she said. “His has largely been that. He really puts his heart into volunteering there, and it’s nice to see the local club honored.”
Mandy Cervantes, unit director at Jack, Will and Rob, said that Grall has been a tremendous help to the club.
“What I admire most about John is that he has a number of qualities that I don’t normally see in the average 15-year-old,” she said. “He has shown a great amount of character and leadership in his volunteer work here and we are so proud to call him our Youth of the Year.”