Exceptional teens named Alaska Youth of the Year



Mason Hoppe and Gage Dabin set to receive college scholarships and vie for regional titles this summer

Anchorage, Alaska, February 18, 2014 – Selected among six outstanding youth, Mason Hoppe (Traditional Clubs winner) and Gage Dabin (Military Clubs winner) have been named Alaska Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for their sound character, leadership skills and willingness to give back to their communities. Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. As the new teen representatives for all Boys & Girls Clubs in Alaska, each of them will receive a $1,000 college scholarship from Tupperware Brands Corporation.   

The UA College Savings Plan awarded additional scholarship accounts to the traditional club winner Mason Hoppe of Klawock and runner-up Sharhan Sylva of the Northeast Community Center Boys & Girls Club - $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. The boys can use the scholarship accounts at the University of Alaska or at eligible schools across the U.S.

“We are happy to sponsor this amazing program that supports youth across the state,” said the plan’s marketing manager, Bonnie Carroll, who presented the scholarships at the event.  “All of the Youth of the Year contestants have a bright future ahead of them.”

As BGCA’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. The recognition program encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities. These extraordinary young leaders are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.

Mason Hoppe is a 14 year-old freshman at Klawock High School in Klawock, AK. He is the oldest of four children. Mason is actively involved in traditional T’lingit activities in his community. He plays the role of a symbolic warrior wherein he holds the staff paddle to lead the women in and at times speaks in T’lingit to introduce the next song for his tribal dance team, Heenya Kwaan. This past summer he learned how to fish using the traditional method of beach seining by working alongside his uncle. He was able to help provide fish for his immediate family as well as his grandparents. He is also a member of the Klawock Tribal Youth Canoe Team. The team paddles over 100 miles without the aid of modern navigation systems, as they use only the sun and stars. Mason maintains a 4.0 GPA while still participating in school sports – wrestling, basketball, and cross-country running. He plays trumpet in the school band and represented his school for the Prince of Whales Island Wide Spelling Bee.  Mason is a Freshman Class representative on the Student Government, and this year, Mason was elected as President of the Klawock Boys & Girls Club Youth Council.  Mason’s Community service projects through the Club include; flowers for elders on Mothers’ Day, and community cleanup & litter patrol.

Gage Dabin is 17 years old and a senior at Bartlett High School in Anchorage.  Gage has been a member of the Youth and Teen community at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson since 2010.  From the start Gage has greatly impressed his peers, staff and community members with his level of commitment to the program and to the service learning opportunities at which he excels.  He is a motivator, encouraging his peers to challenge their own abilities. He sets a superior example of physical health and encourages others.

Gage’s exemplary commitment to his Club, Community, School and Family is significant and meaningful.  He strives to make the world a better place in his every deed and action.

He has demonstrated leadership through his involvement with planning and implementing community activities including serving food to the homeless at Bean’s Café, sharing fellowship and time with veterans and senior members of the community at Covenant House and the Veteran Health Clinic, just to name a few.  It was through Gage’s leadership as President of the Keystone Club that led to earning Gold Charter recognition.  Gage has displayed an exemplary academic career with a 3.8 GPA and is a member of National Honor Society.  Gage is a member of the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps where he has demonstrated the ability to be a leader on numerous occasions; serving as 1st Sergeant and senior enlisted member with the responsibility of 60 fellow Cadets.  He is a member of the Anchorage Youth Advisory Board and serves as the President of the Kennecott Youth Center's Keystone Club.  Gage once responded when asked his goal in life, simply “to change the world” and make no mistake; this young man will indeed change the world.

Mason and Gage, along with all Youth of the Year nominees are “living proof that Boys & Girls Clubs across the country are fulfilling their mission of inspiring and enabling young people to Be GREAT,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO, BGCA.  “We are most appreciative to Tupperware Brands for its long-time support of Boys & Girls Clubs and providing scholarships to help our members attain their goals.”

This summer, Mason and Gage will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members within the Pacific Region. If named regional winner, one of them will be awarded an additional $10,000 college scholarship from Tupperware Brands, the recognition program’s national sponsor. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2014 to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of up to $50,000 from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House. 

“As a long time supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, I am proud of Tupperware’s involvement in the Youth of the Year program,” said Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands Corporation. “We strongly believe in these future leaders of tomorrow and are proud to support their continuing education.” 

For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit www.bgca.org/yoy.

About Boys & Girls Clubs - Alaska

Boys & Girls Clubs - Alaska provides program opportunities for 10,000 boys and girls each year. Clubs are open Monday-Friday after school and during school breaks. Parents and caregivers interested in having their children join the Club and learning more about Youth of the Year or other youth programs can contact Lisa Mahan, Senior Director of Clubhouse Operations, at (907) 770-7328, lmahan@bgcalaska.org or visit http://www.bgcalaska.org.



Boys & Girls-Alaska press releaase