Carly Mertz named Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale 2020 Youth of the Year

At its annual Celebrate Youth Gala, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) named Carly Mertz its 2020 Youth of the Year. Carly, age 17, has been a member of the BGCS Thunderbirds Branch for 12 years.

In front of more than 600 guests at the gala presented by Tiffany & Bosco and Meritage Homes, Carly told her story of finding confidence, positive body image, and acceptance at the Club. She says her Club mentors and programs have helped her overcome the anxiety and feelings of inadequacy that one in five teenagers struggle with each year.

Carly will receive a $5,000 scholarship for college which will help her achieve her goal of becoming an event planner for a non-profit.

“Our gala guests are always in awe of our teen leaders, and this year our eight finalists did not disappoint,” said Robyn Julien, BGCS President and CEO. “On full display at the Celebrate Youth Gala was the true impact of the Clubs—confident, compassionate and resilient young leaders on their individual paths to great futures.”

Carly was chosen from a field of 8 finalists that included: Joseph (JP) Cahill, age 15, from the Mary Ellen & Robert McKee Branch; Zaria Gonzales, age 15, from the Lehi Branch; Annay Lopez, age 18, from the Scottsdale Charros Branch; Kennise McGertt, age 16, from the Red Mountain Branch; Kayla McNutt, age 17, from the Virginia G. Piper Branch; Jason Nuñez, age 17, from the Hartley & Ruth Barker Branch; and Isabella Treasure, age 16, from the Vestar Branch.

Youth of the Year is a national Boys & Girls Clubs of America program promoting leadership, exceptional academic performance and community service. The competition began in September with 19 BGCS teens vying for the Clubs’ highest honor and a total of $12,000 in scholarship awards provided by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Foundation. Broadband Dynamics and Gabbie and Bob Rife provided an additional $2,000 for each finalist.

In the months leading up to the final competition, candidates prepare by writing multiple essays and participating in panel interviews with community leaders. The teens also practiced their presentations of Club experiences, personal growth and transformation which they shared on the big stage at the Celebrate Youth Gala.

Proceeds generated from sponsorships, ticket and table sales, auction items and paddle-raiser purchases go directly to fund Club programming.

Carly will go on to compete at the state level on March 30, 2020, with the potential to move onto regional and national competitions.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale (BGCS) serves thousands of youth at nine Clubs located within the communities of Scottsdale, North Phoenix, Fountain Hills, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Hualapai Nation.