Payton Bowdry Wins 2016 Minnesota Youth of the Year Competition

Payton Bowdry, an 18-year-old member of Southside Village Club has been named Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s (BGCA) Minnesota State Youth of the Year (YOY). Payton will compete in the BGCA Midwest competition in July 2016 against other State YOY winners from Clubs across the Midwest Region.

Since 1947, YOY has been BGCA’s premier recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of members. Each year, one exceptional young person from a Boys & Girls Club rises to the role of National Youth of the Year, becoming an exemplary ambassador who not only speaks as the voice of Club youth everywhere, but also stands up to represent all of our nation’s young people.

The YOY recognition is the highest honor a Club member can achieve. The program celebrates youth who have overcome enormous odds and demonstrated exceptional character and accomplishments. These deserving young people are recognized for service to their Club and community and embody the values of academic excellence, leadership, and healthy lifestyles.

Payton was the first student in South High School’s history to ever make both the varsity football and basketball teams as a freshman. He has also been an All-Conference and an All-City athlete in both football and basketball for four years. Payton maintains a B average in school, and has been involved in Building Lives According to Cultural Knowledge (BLACK) and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) in addition to his involvement in sports.

Payton has been a member of the Southside Village Boys & Girls Club for 12 years, and has been involved in numerous activities throughout his time at the Club. When he was younger, Payton participated in Power Hour and Torch Club; as a teen, he joined the Keystone Club; regularly volunteered at the Club; and began performing with a Doo-Wop group at organizational fundraisers. In 2013, Payton was hired by the Southside Village Club as a program assistant, and has now completed three summers as a Boys & Girls Club employee.

As the Minnesota Youth of the Year, Payton hopes to inspire America’s youth to do better and work harder to achieve their goals; encourage all young people to never stop striving for excellence and to never settle for anything less; and to motivate youth to understand the significant influence they can have on their government and community.

Payton Bowdry is currently a senior at South High School in Minneapolis, Minn., and has recently received a full scholarship to attend the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minn. after graduation.