Passionate. Insightful. An emerging leader.
That’s Shay Hiney, and he’s Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Nevada’s Youth of the Year.
BGCWN hosted its annual Youth of the Year celebration on Saturday honoring Shay and other youth who have been incredible, committed members of the Club.
Annually, Clubs around the world recognize one of their outstanding youth. YOY is a distinct honor and is awarded to an individual who shows leadership, participation and volunteerism.
As YOY, Hiney will represent the Club at a state competition at the end of February, and he will be an advocate and representative for the Club throughout 2021.
He was chosen through an application, essay and panel interview process, vying against Carson High students Kaylynn Bloomfield (freshman) and Maria Ruelas (senior). Collectively they’ve given more than 425 hours of volunteer time to the Club. They are all leaders among their peers, and they each embody what the BGC stands for.
In his essay, Hiney writes, “Can you lead if you don’t truly have something to lead for? Passions and interests are very important aspects in a leader and they help leaders understand the wants and interests of the ones they lead.”
For Hiney, he’s interested in many things: psychology, drawing, design, helping others and volunteering at the Club, but it’s through his passion for LGBTQ+ affairs that he’s emerged as a leader and advocate.
Hiney is president of SAGE, a club that is advised by one of the counselors at Carson High that is reserved for LGBTQ+ students. SAGE gives young people a safe and positive place to turn, a safe-haven where they can freely be themselves.
Hiney says, “bullying or striking others down for who they are is a very real issue for youth,” yet he feels empowered to stand in the gap for those individuals to help them overcome obstacles and develop the self-assurance that he has discovered over time.
Hiney credits his involvement in the Boys & Girls Club and SAGE for creating a supportive environment and helping him through his own bouts of self-doubt and lack of confidence, and he is committed to supporting others.
Hiney is energized to have a platform like YOY to show others that they aren’t alone and that they can be proud to express themselves.
“I am sure that I speak on behalf of the over 4.6 million kids who have stepped through the doors of a Club this year, when I say that because of Boys & Girls Clubs, we are given a tool kit like no other. We leave the doors of our local clubs with self-confidence, leadership skills and a hope for the future ... and for these things I will always be grateful,” Hiney said.