COY Awards pack the house

Boys and Girls Club of Carbon County Executive Director Jody Ackerman presents the Top Youth of the Year award to Grace Karas as Rotarian.

On Friday, March 14, the Boys and Girls Club of Carbon County (BGCCC) held its Celebration of Youth (COY) awards for the year at the club in Red Lodge. Jody Ackerman, Executive Director of the BGCCC, seemed to echo the enthusiasm of the room when she graciously thanked the efforts of parents, teachers and other mentors that filled the rec room of the club. “We are delighted and honored to have you here,” she said. The Youth of the Year Award went to Grace Karas. There were many touching moments such as the Outstanding Teacher in the Community award for Mary Allen, “who has done so many things for Roberts School,” and served many positions from teacher to librarian to historian. Allen has long been a stalwart supporter of the community. For years, she has creatively encouraged students in diverse areas-broadening their scope in English class to include newspapers and reporting or honoring Montanans’ unique cultural heritages with songs and stories. 

It was a unique evening of honors, and entertainment. There was a flute solo by Makayla Dines; a reprise of their tenth place, state award-winning comedy routine by students Nathan Roller and Logan Mills and a heartwarming mother/son duo by Ackerman and her son, Yasha. Yasha also won the Outstanding Religious Service and Leadership award.

In the best attempt to show appreciation and awareness of the great contributions of many students in the area, the COY awards this year provided in addition to the Most Outstanding awards, many certificates acknowledging their achievements. As Ackerman noted there were so many students who needed to be noticed for their efforts. Nominations were from the community and the awards spanned a range of topics including volunteer efforts, kindness, character, scholastics, helping wildlife, supporting wilderness, civic duties, artistic talents and a combination of skills and dedication to the community.

Many attendees commented that the amount of talent in the area was impressive. Tucker Kane won the Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award and teacher Sabrina Pratt won the Outstanding Adult Volunteer to Youth award to great applause. Rick Hibbs was Outstanding Performing Artist and Kiyamini Hollow Horn Bear was Outstanding Youth Artist. Liam Gildehause received the Outstanding Youth Citizenship. Kryn Dykema was voted Youth Wilderness Enthusiast. Richard Peck, one of the award presenters, said the amount of time donated by the kids and quality of leadership demonstrated was indeed outstanding.

One local and long time supporter of the club seemed to echo the atmosphere of love and support that brought so many acknowledgements to local youth. “The children are outstanding,” said Jo Ann Eder. “Red Lodge is a great community!”