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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 7, 2004 - Issue 106


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2004's Outstanding Youth

WINDOW ROCK — Boys & Girls Clubs across America select their Youth of the Year based on qualities of sturdy character, leadership and the willingness to serve.

Vice President presents awardOn Jan. 16, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Navajo Nation (BGCNN) held their first Youth of the Year celebration at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock.

Craig L. Hoskie, a senior at Window Rock High School and a member of Fort Defiance Club, garnered senior division honors. Malcolm Duncan, a fourth grader at the Atsa' Biyaazh Community School and a member of the Shiprock Club, nailed the title for the junior division.

Both will move on to compete at the state level. As a winner of the Senior Youth of the Year, Hoskie received a $1,500 scholarship from Gloria Bowman, Staff Assistant to the President, and Duncan received $500.

"This is our first Youth of the Year contest event this year and I saw much success," said Ray Begaye, President/CEO for the Boys & Girls Club of the Navajo Nation. "It is evident that the clubs are working out well for club members and the community-at-large.

Craig L. Hoske and Malcolm Duncan"There was a sense of togetherness and a family-like atmosphere, a very positive place, full of energy, and everything felt into place."

Nine out of 14 club sites on the Navajo Nation sent winners in the senior and junior divisions from their respective clubs. The Senior Division participants (ages 14 and up) were: Leander Troy Bitsui, Chinle; Kara N. Begaye, Dilkon; Craig L. Hoske, Ft. Defiance; Audrey Cody, Kayenta; JoVanna Miller, Crownpoint, N.M.; Lisa Begaye, Shiprock, N.M.; Arland Francisco, Tohajiilee, N.M.; Chanda Duncan, Tohatchi, N.M.; and Tara Eileen Hueston, Navajo Mountain, Utah.

For the Junior Division (ages 13 and younger), the participants were: Kody Ayze, Chinle; Kraig Shirley, Dilkon; Candice Beltran, Ft. Defiance; Jeraline Russell, Kayenta; Malcolm Duncan, Shiprock; Arlene Tom, Tohajiilee; Misa Ben, Tohatchi; and Jeffshawn Luther from Navajo Mountain.

All senior candidates received $200 for their efforts, and Jr. candidates received various donated gifts.

According to the club mission statement, sturdy character, leadership and the willingness to serve are essential for young people to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. The Youth of the Year Program is part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America five core area of youth development strategy, and sponsored by Readers Digest.

Boys and Girls waiting for dinnerAll clubs select a club member for Youth of the Month, and the monthly winners compete against one another at the end of the year. The winners in the junior and senior division are selected to complete at the Navajo Nation Youth of the Year contest.

The day began with the contestants arriving by 10 a.m. to visit Navajo Nation offices followed by a luncheon with the Vice-President and the Second Lady, the Inter-Governmental Relations Committee members, Miss Navajo Nation, and Chief of Staff. The luncheon brought 150 guests to the Navajo Nation Inn.

The afternoon activity consisted of individual interview with the Youth of the Year Judges.

Some of the questions asked were:

  • Which activity at Boys & Girls Clubs do you enjoy the most?
  • How has the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Navajo Nation influenced you... how has it made a difference in your life?
  • Why do you think you should be selected as the Youth of the Year?

The students presented a speech in the museum's auditorium and judges tallied the scores. During a guest appearance, Miss Indian New Mexico, Paulene Shebala, gave a pep talk to the audience and the contestants.

Festive decorations of balloons and flowers transformed Green Room at the museum into banquet hall for the evening.

Ft. Defiance's Club Pow-Wow Dance Group provided entertainment along with four teen singers from Tohajiilee, Ivy, Pavielle and Natasha Sandaval and Alicia Robertson, who gave a touching rendition of "Hero." Ryan Hueston from Navajo Mountain who wowed the crowd with "One Voice" and "Down to the River to Pray" from Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. M.C. for the evening's event was comedian and former Chinle Unit Director, Pax Harvey who kept the audience alive with his Navajo humor.

"Much deserved congratulations go to the 2003-04 Youth of the Year Malcolm Duncan son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Duncan of Shiprock, N.M., and Craig L. Hoskie son of Alberta Wauneka of Ft. Defiance, Ariz.," said Fran Rowden, BGCNN Executive Director. "Their next journey will be to Alamagardo, N.M. for the state competition on March 12 and 13.

"Best wishes to our team at the next level of state competition and on to national competition."

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