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Youth Center awards its highest honor
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. - Tia Mckinney-Burgess was recognized as the base’s 2012 Youth of the Year. From here, she will continue through the state, regional and national levels as part of the Boys and Girls Club of America program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Wyatt)
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Youth Center awards its highest honor

Posted 2/27/2013   Updated 2/27/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Mark Wyatt
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


2/27/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- The cornerstone to a strong recognition program is recognizing the right people for exceptional character, accomplishments and for overcoming enormous odds. The Youth Center recently did that when Tia Mckinney-Burgess was awarded the 2012 Youth of the Year.

"It's a great life achievement," said Mckinney-Burgess, Hanscom Air Force Base youth of the year. "Being a senior in high school, I feel like I have accomplished something significant. I am really proud of myself and glad to make my family, my friends and the Youth Center proud. I'm proud to represent Hanscom."

The Youth Center, a member of the Boys and Girls Club of America, recognizes young people for service to their club and community, academic performance and contributions to their family.

Among the many strong qualities Mckinney-Burgess possesses, her willingness to be a role model to younger members of Youth Center stands out.

"I want younger children at the Youth Center to know hard work and determination and staying positive will take you a long way," she said. "Often, people who are closed minded are more likely to be negative and that can really hold you back, a grudge can hold you back. You just have to remember that you are not doing it for anyone else but yourself and that should keep you on the right path."

While selecting the right club member is difficult, staff members were impressed by this year's selection.

"Tia stands out among her peers because she is very outgoing and gregarious. She has a wonderful personality that accepts everyone for who they are and where they come from and that helps her reach out to her peers and her community better," said Ann-Marie Ely, Youth Center Sports and Fitness director.

Ely believes that the future is bright for this year's youth of the year.

"I see tremendous potential in Tia after high school," said Ely. "She has so much leadership experience from being a member of the peer leader group at Bedford High and has used that to be a leader in her community here at the Youth Center."

For Mckinney-Burgess, the role models in her life have come up big.

"My mom and my family most importantly have been tremendous role models for me. Going to church and praying about it has also been very important to me," she said. "Miss Ann-Marie and Miss Amy have both helped me to become a better person, both have helped me to strive and be more mentally and physically involved."

When asked what her character trait she's most proud of that has assisted in her success, her response was quick.

"I'm most proud of being a social butterfly because you get to experience other people. I don't feel like I'm afraid to put myself in other people's shoes," said Mckinney-Burgess. "I feel if I'm open minded, I'll have an easier time reaching out to my peers, as well as adults. So my ability to be social is something I am most proud of."

Mckinney-Burgess will continue through the state, regional and national levels. Boys and Girls Club youth are honored each year for their efforts in making their clubs and communities more positive places for everyone.



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