Youth Center teen wins back-to-back ‘Youth of the Year’ honors

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A member of the 66th Force Support Squadron Youth Center has earned the title of Massachusetts Military Youth of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Ben Skorik, a recent graduate of Shawsheen Valley Technical High School in Billerica, was recognized during a ceremony at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., last month.

“Winning this award for the second year in a row is an incredible honor,” he said. “It reflects the support and encouragement I receive.”

The Military Youth of the Year honor is a part of the Boys and Girls Club of America National Youth of the Year program, recognizing youth who have overcome adversity and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments.

Skorik will attend Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, in the fall to study business intelligence and data analytics.

He attributes his back-to-back wins to a more proactive approach in his second year.

“Over the past year, I learned a lot from my first go around in youth of the year,” he said. “This time around, I took a different route; I built my own program with the help of Justin [Oliver] and other staff, focusing on mental health issues and anxiety.”

Justin Oliver, Youth Programs teen coordinator, highlighted Skorik’s development as a leader.

“After last year, some people might have taken a loss and given up, but Ben used it as a growth moment,” he said. “He stepped up to the plate again, listened to feedback, and continued to learn. That’s what makes a great leader.”

Oliver also highlighted Skorik’s role as Keystone Club president, praising his leadership and commitment.

“Ben has been instrumental in the Keystone Club, taking pressure off me by leading meetings and activities,” he said. “He’s active almost every day, even on his high school graduation day, and he encourages others to participate in Youth of the Year and other programs.”

Among his other accomplishments include integrating new military kids into the Hanscom AFB community.

“Growing up, I was constantly moving and didn't have lifelong friends. So, I try to be there for new kids, listening to them and helping them adjust,” he said. “It's really tough growing up as a military kid, but I want to be that supportive figure for them.”

In addition to the accolades, Skorik will receive scholarships to support his college education. He will now move on to compete for Regional Youth of the Year honors in New York City, this month.