This morning in Arlington, Va., Natalia Lynch was named Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2014 Military Youth of the Year. The announcement came during a ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.
Natalia, who attended the Youth Center at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany, was one of six finalists vying to become just the second Military Youth of the Year. The first young woman to claim the title, Natalia will serve as BGCA’s official youth advocate on behalf of military teens. She also receives a $20,000 scholarship, which should come in handy for the rising Vanderbilt University freshman.
Natalia is such an impressive individual. She was just 11 when her family moved to Germany and couldn’t speak a lick of German. Now, she speaks the language like a native, as evidenced by her graduation from the local German high school. Being part of both the military and civilian communities allowed Natalia to bring young people from the U.S. and Germany together for Youth Center activities, such as music, sports and school projects. She also served on the Youth Center teen council and helped recently transferred teens get to know the area by organizing “Newcomer Orientation Tours.”
A talented musician who plays violin, piano and sings, Natalia has performed at Carnegie Hall with Milal Missionary Choir and Orchestra. Her two-piece band, Volition, wowed attendees at BGCA’s National Conference.
Natalia and the five Club members who are our Regional Youth of the Year winners will gather in Washington, D.C., to vie for the National Youth of the Year next month. For now, I’d just like to say congratulations and well done to an inspiring young woman.