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Youth of the Year

Danny Villalobos

It’s All in the Journey

On his latest flight home from a long June weekend in Atlanta, Danny Villalobos says “I wish I could do this all over again.”

Danny Villalobos was one of 100 Youth of the Year candidates from around the country to attend the first ever Advanced Leaders Institute in Atlanta, GA. ©BGCCW2015

Danny Villalobos was one of 100 Youth of the Year candidates from around the country to attend the first ever Advanced Leaders Institute in Atlanta, GA. ©BGCCW2015

As the Wyoming State Youth of the Year, Danny was one of nearly a hundred other Youth of the Year (YOY) candidates from Boys & Girls Clubs from across the nation at the first ever Advanced Leaders Institute. On the beautiful campus of Emory University, this event offered a pre-collegiate experience focused on fostering leadership skills and networking.

Just a few weeks prior to that, Danny was in Dallas, TX, competing in the Southwest Region Youth of the Year Competition. It was at the Regional Competition that Danny was able to meet young leaders like Joselin, the YOY from Arkansas and the YOY from New Mexico Anjanet, and Courtney, the YOY of Oklahoma who went on to win the Regional title. He was also able to network with business leaders from around the world, snagging a short meeting and business card from an executive vice president of Toyota.

And it was in Atlanta at the Advanced Leaders Institute that he excitedly was able to reconnect with his new friends, plus meet many other young leaders from places like Alaska and Puerto Rico, small towns and large cities, along with military installations.

“I am so inspired by my fellow Youth of the Year candidates. Where they’ve been and where they’re going,” said Danny. And of course, being a lover of languages, he was intrigued by the many accents and dialects each youth offered from their respective areas of the country.

Danny, a 16 year old junior, was part of the inaugural group that was able to experience this life-changing weekend . The YOYs participated in leadership development workshops with Disney and Toyota, networked, and just had fun.

“Disney taught us about our personal brand and that to become a leader, you have to know who you are. With Disney’s personal branding activity, I’ve been able to discover more about myself.”

The team from Toyota used a hands-on, interactive activity to encourage the kids to think beyond their own walls, to work together as a team, and to respect each other’s role. Danny says it taught the participants that even through a challenge, that everyone has a specific role and everyone has ideas and both need to be valued to be successful when working as a team.

Danny and his YOY peers brought back to their home Clubs a wealth of knowledge and a whole new set of friends. And a whole lot of inspiration to pass along to the youth that look up to him as a leader at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming.

“As State Youth of the Year, I want to use my platform to tell other Club kids and the community what the Club has done for me and what it can do for other kids. I want kids to think that this is possible for them, too.”


Click here to browse photos from Danny’s YOY Journey


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