Positive community service recognition through the Spirit of Youth

photo by Greg Lincoln

by Greg Lincoln

Do you know a teen or youth group doing something positive in your village or community? Nominations are now open for Spirit of Youth recognition for youth 12-19 years of age. Community members like us are needed to make those nominations. Nominations can come from anyone who wishes to recognize a hard-working Alaska teenager. If you have been inspired by a teen’s efforts you can submit a nomination.

All nominees will be publicly recognized in their communities. Research demonstrates that youth who are recognized for their accomplishments by those around them are better able to build confidence in their future. They will also receive a scholarship award.

There are eight categories to consider when making your nomination. We all know youth in our villages that would fit into these categories, which are listed below.

The Spirit of Youth Teen Advisory Council created the 8 categories for nominations and recognition. Council members use these definitions and the following criteria to evaluate each nomination:

Nomination describes a youth-initiated or youth-led project. Nomination highlights individuals or groups who are organizing and leading unique activities or projects that typically don’t get noticed. Nomination describes youth who help others and improve the quality of life in the community.

Youth/youth groups will be selected in early spring to receive Spirit of Youth Awards. The Deadline extended to February 1st, 2021. It only takes 10 minutes to nominate online at the Spirit of Youth website: www.spiritofyouth.org

Nominees are eligible to be selected for the Spirit of Youth Award each year. The eight nominees that are chosen by the Spirit of Youth Teen Advisory Council to receive an award will be featured on our Spirit of Youth radio series, which broadcasts to nearly 100 Alaska communities. Individual award recipients will receive a scholarship from the UA College Savings Plan of at least $2,000 and eight runners-up will each receive a $500 scholarship. Group recipients receive a grant to support their efforts.

Previous youth were awarded for their work in learning traditional values and language, educating others about causes that they are passionate about, their advocacy and service for others who are in need, fundraising, saving other’s lives, and for being role models.

Spirt of Youth Nomination Categories

Humanitarian Award

The Humanitarian Award recognizes youth who have put forth efforts to make their community a better place or are active in local or state government. Previous nominees have managed political campaigns, served on school boards and youth courts, built and hosted campaign websites, or have organized fundraisers, designed play grounds, repaired houses, helped elders and others in need.

Innovator Award

The Innovator Award shines the spotlight on the efforts of youth who have shown excellence in the fields of math and science through research, study, or improvement in their community. Previous nominees include youth who studied humpback whale DNA, created a community planet walk, participated in robotics programs, and conducted earthquake research.

Life-Saver Award

The Live-Saver Award celebrates youth who have gone above and beyond “the call of duty” by preventing injuries and illness and saving lives. Previous nominees have shown courage by pulling hypothermic tourists out of a raging river, taught life-saving skills, conducted seat belt programs and served as volunteer firefighters or first responders.

Phoenix Award

The Phoenix Award celebrates youth who rise with new life like a phoenix and display exceptional determination and stamina as they overcome significant life challenges. Previous nominees have raised funds to help others with an illness, have succeeded despite disability, or helped their families or community address difficult circumstances.

Visionary Award

The Visionary Award recognizes youth who have turned their creativity and knowledge into an economic venture. Previous nominees have built and hosted websites and have even started their own movie theatres, coffee shops and delivery services.

Dreamer Award

The Dreamer Award recognizes teens who are actively engaging in their community through the preservation of cultural practices and arts, those who share personal expression through visual or performing arts, and those who cultivate youth voice through media and digital art forms. Previous nominees include students who have worked on radio programs and local newspapers, organized musical ensembles, and taught native arts and dance.

Role-Model Award

Teens nominated for the Role-Model Award lend a helping hand to peers and younger youth in their community. These teens can be outstanding leaders, peer counselors, or a positive assistant in the classroom. Previous nominees have included tutors, mentors, or instructors in a variety of fields. These teens build assets in themselves and their friends.

Discovery Award

The Discovery Award highlights accomplishments made by youth in environmental advocacy projects and technology ventures. Previous nominees include youth who mapped the Kenai floodplain and worked to restore the Kenai River banks, as well as those who created relevant websites and taught computer skills in their communities.