Dubois senior named Central Wyoming Youth of the Year runner-up at Boys and Girls Club recognition breakfast

(Casper, WY) – The Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming held the 23rd Annual Awards and Recognition Breakfast in Casper on September 8, 2021, where Dubois High School Senior Lakota Smith was named runner-up for the 2021-22 Central Wyoming Youth of the Year Award.

Smith received a $3,500 Ruth R. Ellbogen Education Award at the breakfast ceremony, which is a culmination of the Club’s annual giving campaign.

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Lakota Smith shows off her award. h/t Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming photo.

Julie Dysart was named as the official Youth of the Year, winning a $7,500.00 Ruth R. Ellbogen Education Award, and she will go on to represent the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming at the state competition in February.

Julie Dysart speaks after receiving her award. h/t Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming photo.

The organization serves nearly 8,000 kids at 11 sites in four counties, with its newest Club site now open in Riverton.

The Breakfast also honored Rocky and Lisa Eades for their commitment to the state of Wyoming and caring for families faced with the challenge of a child with cancer. The couple founded the Jason’s Friends Foundation in 1996 named for their 9-year old son who died after a courageous battle with cancer. In its 25 years in operation, this non-profit has provided more than $6 million in assistance to Wyoming families.

Rocky and Lisa Eades. h/t Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming photo.

Casper couple, Brad and Jan Cundy were presented with the Mick & Susie McMurry Cowboy Try Award for their grit and tenacity in creating a flourishing company, all the while giving back to the community. After losing their son to suicide in 2011, the Cundy’s channeled their grief into advocacy and improving access to mental health care for Wyoming’s citizens.

Brad and Jan Cundy. h/t Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming photo.

The morning was capped off with featured speaker, Amy Van Dyken, six-time Olympic Gold Medal swimmer. Van Dyken captivated the audience with her wit and humor to tell her story of becoming the first woman to win all gold medals at one Olympics (Atlanta, 1996). 

She shared how her life took an unimaginable turn in 2014 when she was paralyzed from the waist down following an ATV accident. With a message of perseverance, Van Dyken explained that she found success throughout her life because of a simple mind-set – “who are you to tell me what I can and can’t do?”

Gold medalist Amy Van Dyken. Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming photo.

Preliminary dollars raised for the “Forward Together for our Kids” campaign total just over $510,200.00.

The funds will support Academic Success, Good Character & Citizenship, and Healthy Lifestyles, in addition to, financial literacy, Cowboy Ethics, and the Club’s overall $3.9 million annual budget.

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