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Rutland girl wins local 'Youth of the Year' award

April Haskins is a true example of an extraordinary young woman. At age 16 she was selected to compete against other Boys & Girls Club members for the Vermont Youth of the Year title and a $1,000 scholarship from the Reader's Digest Foundation.

As the Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Club of Rutland, Haskins joined hundreds of youth across the country recognized by Boys & Girls Clubs of America for sound character, leadership skills, and willingness to give back to the community.

Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a local Boys & Girls Club member can receive. The title recognizes outstanding contributions to a member's family, school, community and the club, as well as personal challenges and obstacles overcome. This program was founded over 60 years ago through Reader's Digest magazine.

Haskins is an ideal role model; she treats others with respect and grace. She is the youngest of seven children and has been eager to volunteer and help out around the club. She was hired as junior staffer for the club's Meadow Street Camp last summer.

Haskins is a quiet leader who steps up when she sees a need. She has a natural ability to motivate children, modeling courage, by trying new things. She devotes what free time she can to the club; she also works for McDonalds and babysits for family members.

"April is a dedicated, hard-working, and inspirational member of our community and her enthusiasm and positive outlook on life is a benefit to us all," Nuckles said.

Larry Bayle, executive director of the club, said he is happy to have April represent the Rutland club. "April is a great role model for younger kids, she has a great work ethic. She has gained success the old fashioned way-she earned it," Bayle said.

"Although she did not win Vermont State Youth of the Year," said Teen Center Coordinator Brooke Nuckles, "she was selected as Rutland County Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year in both 2008 and 2009. The club staff and youth members all look forward to her continued successes."

With Haskins out of the running, five regional winners advanced to a planned September event in Washington, D.C.; they will compete for the title of BGCA's National Youth of the Year.

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