Selected among several local outstanding youth, Shelton teen Freddy Dapp will compete against other Boys & Girls Club across the state for the Connecticut Youth of the Year title and a $1,000 college scholarship from Tupperware Brands Corp.
As the new Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, Freddy is being recognized for his character, leadership skills and willingness to give back to the community.
Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) member can receive. Awardees are selected based on contributions to family, school, community and local Boys & Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles.
“My life was forever changed the moment I walked into the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley,” said Freddy. “I went in timid and self-conscious. I had no motivation to better myself and grow.”
A positive attitude
According to Boys & Girls Club officials, Freddy exudes a positive attitude that many adults in the same situation would be hard pressed to show.
He possesses a work ethic that has taken him past all obstacles in reach of his goals. “Freddy is full of energy, life, and ideas that he consistently sees to fruition,” local Boys & Girls Club officials said.
School service project
Freddy came to the Shelton clubhouse through a high school community service requirement and gave back far more than what was required of him.
“I was a scared kid that did not have any guidance,” he said. “My journey began with community service that was a mandatory requirement for my high school.
“But I realized,” he continued, “that I could look at the hours as an opportunity to change the lives of kids that were in similar situation as I once was. Mentoring the members at club also helped me learn more about myself. I liked who I was becoming and gained the motivation I was lacking before.”
Served on club’s nationwide council
After completing his volunteer hours, he continued on at the club. In 2012 he was selected as one of a dozen teenagers nationwide to be part of BGCA’s Teen Advisory Council, serving as the liaison between BGCA and youth in the community.
Freddy played a large part in the start up of the local Interact Club and now serves as event coordinator in the group. “I discovered that we all have the power to choose the path to our future,” he said.
If Freddy wins at the state competition, he will compete at the regional and then national level. The national winner receives a $50,000 scholarship and the chance to meet the U.S. president in the White House.
The local Boys & Girls Club had two others competing for the Youth of the Year honor — Jessica Cipriano and Jevonne Lashley.