The Anchorage-based nonprofit organization Spirit of Youth is seeking nominations for youth who have worked hard or excelled in a variety of achievement categories. The purpose of these awards is to acknowledge a young person in an Alaska community who is on the right track and deserves a pat on the back.
Spirit of Youth presents two awards in each of 11 categories:
- Business and government
- Cultural pursuits
- Faith-based service
- Fine arts
- Lifesaver and prevention
- Overcoming challenges
- Science and the environment
- Service to community
- Service to peers
- Service to young children
- Technology and media
The awards are sponsored by a wide range of Alaska businesses. CIRI sponsored the 2009 Cultural Pursuits Awards.
All nominations are submitted by members of the public and a number of nominees are interviewed and highlighted on public radio stations across Alaska. The application is simple and can be completed on Spirit of Youth’s website, www.spiritofyouth.org. Nominations can be submitted in each category for teens (or teen groups) ages 12 to 19.
Every teen who is nominated gets recognized in front of his or her peers and receives commemorative gifts and a certificate. Twenty-two finalists travel to Anchorage in the spring to be honored at Spirit of Youth’s annual awards banquet.
- Youth who are recognized for their accomplishments by those around them are more able to build confidence in their future.
- Community programs, which focus on frequently recognizing youth achievements and good deeds, help youth to advance their aspirations and hinder negative behavior.
- Settings that allow for adolescents to be recognized and valued decrease the likelihood that they will become involved in high-risk behaviors and improve their self-confidence, school attitude and performance.
Spirit of Youth began in 1997 with the purpose of promoting and recognizing youth involvement in Alaska communities. In addition to the youth recognition and awards banquet, Spirit of Youth runs the Positive Youth Media Campaign, which promotes a positive image of teenagers in the media; Alaska Teen Media Institute, which provides journalism training and experience for youth; Youth Civic Engagement, which sponsors the Teen Action Council and Youth Vote project; and Youth Friendly Business program, which recognizes businesses that support youth and treat youth with respect.