Congratulations to the 2015-2016 Southwest Youth of the Year Winner!

Boys & Girls Clubs of America takes pride in recognizing youth with extraordinary character and leadership qualities. Each year talented and dedicated Boys & Girls Club members are nominated to be recognized through a series of competitions that culminates into the final National Youth of the Year award opportunity.

Exemplary leadership skills, academic excellence, and commitment to healthy lifestyles are only a few of the characteristics that each Youth of the Year candidates embodies. This year’s Southwest Regional Youth of the Year winner, Courtney Patterson, from the Boys & Girls Club of Choctaw County defines these characteristics and goes above and beyond to serve his community in hopes to leave a legacy that will inspire others.

Patterson, who hails from Hugo, OK, has been a member of a Boys & Girls Club for 11 years. Over the past decade, the Club has been an integral part of his life and his accomplishments.

“My biggest success is turning my anger and depression into a constructive path and not allowing it to destroy me,” said Courtney during his Youth of the Year biography, “My Club has helped unlock my true potential, and for that I owe them more than I can ever give.”

Giving back seems to be second nature to Courtney. He has already started giving back to his community in big ways through his involvement in various service projects and advocacy groups. From organizing tutoring for school aged kids to serving as a youth representative on a legislature panel for social media awareness, Courtney has a diverse background of service. He has organized drug and alcohol awareness and prevention events, participated in legislative advocacy efforts, managed physical fitness activities and education classes for various age groups, and presented an annual leadership presentation to fellow high school students from over ten counties in Oklahoma! All of these great activities while excelling in school and balancing positions such as chairman of the Choctaw Nation Youth Advisory Board and President of his high school’s student council. It is clear why he is now a candidate for the National Youth of the Year competition.

In the fall, Courtney will be attending the University of Central Oklahoma to study graphic design. His aspiration is to try his hand as an entrepreneur and start an art magazine. College isn’t the only thing he is preparing for this fall. He will compete with fellow regional and military winners for the title of National Youth of the Year for 2015-2016. The competition will be held in Washington D.C. in September.

Congratulations to Courtney and the Boys & Girls Club of Choctaw County! It is an honor to have such an amazing Club member represent the Southwest Region and Native Boys & Girls Clubs from all over.