Youth of the Year (YOY)

The Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year program honors and celebrates our nation's most inspiring teens and their incredible journeys. Stories of outstanding leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle have made Youth of the Year America's premier leadership and recognition program for teens.

Congratulations to Kuper Banghartour 2021 Youth of the Year! 
A junior at Salida High School and Club member for over eight years, Kuper has served as captain of our Club’s Europa Rover Robotics team, lead STEM classes each of the past two summers, and helped our summer learning-project kids at Longfellow Elementary who were struggling with math.

Kuper delivered a three-minute speech, without notes, at the Colorado Youth of the Year competition on April 26. Read his inspiring speech here.

Other YOY honorees include our BV Club's High School Youth of the Year Olivia Martzke; Middle School Youths of the Year Aberlyn Leon and Danielle Morgan; and Elementary School Youth of the Year Reyna Phelps.

All of these young people demonstrate leadership inside and outside our Clubs, and especially in our community! 

Special thanks to our 2021 YOY sponsors!


2020 Chaffee County Youth of the Year, CARLOS BARRIENTOS! 

"From my perspective, the Club is a place where people see the best in you. We always heard it: Be Great. The Club instilled a great work ethic in me." ~ Carlos Barrientos

When Carlos learned his father and five uncles had been deported to Guatemala, the perspective he developed at the Boys & Girls Club helped him confront his new reality. Carlos recounted his family's successful fight to bring his father back to the U.S. in his Youth of the Year acceptance speech

Now a graduate of Salida High School (where he ranked third in his class), Carlos will begin his undergraduate experience at Columbia College in Chicago in the fall of 2021. He plans to be an architect. 

ATHENA KINTGEN, 2019 Chaffee County, State & Southwest Regional YOY!

"I feel like I’m making a difference, and there is nothing I take more pride in than that.”  ~Athena Kintgen

The difference Athena Kintgen made in the lives of young people at the Salida Boys & Girls Club propelled her to being named the 2019 Chaffee County YOY, Colorado YOY and Southwest YOY!

Athena has suffered hearing loss for years, first diagnosed when she was in elementary school. Developing proficiency in sign language has allowed Athena to connect to others in a special way, especially the young members of her Boys & Girls Club. 

“My advocacy and teaching sign language isn’t solely for the language – it’s for the discussions. When you speak with sign language it’s personal, it incorporates your entire body and demands eye contact. Since I’ve been teaching (sign language) at the club, I’ve noticed that more of our kids want to help others. It may be the quietest activity the club provides, but our kids know how to listen more now than they ever did before.”

Kintgen is the first ever Boys & Girls Club state winner from Chaffee County. Her Colorado state win earned her a $5,000 academic scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

In June 2019 at the Boys & Girls Clubs Southwest Regional Competition in Dallas she won again against the state winners from Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Wyoming and Montana. Read about Athena's Southwest competition win in The Dallas Morning News

Athena went on to compete at the national event in Washington, D.C., where she impressed many. Watch her impressive speech at the 2019 Casino Night fundraiser. We are so proud of her!

Branch Director: Jennifer Wood
P: 719.395.7014
Branch Director: Kiki Lathrop
P: 719.539.9500
Executive Director: Brian Beaulieu
P.O. Box 1430, Salida, Colorado 81201
P: 719.539.9500 / Email:

Photos by Phreckles Photography