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    Fort McCoy teen named 2023 Wisconsin Military Youth of the Year

    Fort McCoy teen named 2023 Wisconsin Military Youth of the Year

    Courtesy Photo | Fort McCoy family member Isabella Hilt has been named the 2023 Wisconsin Military...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office           

    Fort McCoy family member Isabella Hilt has been named the 2023 Wisconsin Military Youth of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America for her leadership, service, academic excellence, and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle.

    The Youth of the Year title is a prestigious honor bestowed upon an exemplary young person in recognition of leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to live a healthy lifestyle. Now in its 76th year, the program honors the nation’s most awe-inspiring young people on their path to great futures.

    As the Wisconsin Military Youth of the Year, Hilt will serve as an ambassador for all teens in the state, receive a $2,500 college scholarship from Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and go on to contend for the regional Youth of the Year and ultimately the national title.

    Bonnie Hilt, Fort McCoy’s resource management officer and Isabella’s mother, described how proud she is of her daughter’s hard work to earn the title.

    “I am so proud of Isabella,” Bonnie said. “She definitely earned this. She had to write essays, a resume, a cover letter, and a speech, and she had to receive letters of recommendation. She did this all while maintaining straight As, being in Show Choir, competing in forensics, being a leader in the school WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) program, being in the school musical, helping with the elementary school musical, participating in a solo and ensemble competition, taking voice lessons, and the list goes on and on. She was interviewed and gave her speech to a panel of judges, and she left a positive impression on all of them. I am in awe of this girl … so proud to be her mom!”

    According to the Fort McCoy Child and Youth Services program, Isabella developed a strong passion for musical performances as well as peer mentoring. Her journey led her to overcome self-confidence issues. Hilt credits the Fort McCoy School Age Center/Youth Center with continuously challenging her to push outside her comfort zone and complete her journey to overcoming self-confidence issues.

    The issues first began with her strong passion for musical performances and the required auditions accompanying them. She said she is thankful for guidance, support, and encouragement she received to take the leap into her first musical audition where she was awarded one of the lead roles. Through her participation in musicals, she was able to practice and improve her persistence and determination. These new strengths opened the door to another passion — peer mentoring, where she can take her strengths combined with a compassion for anyone struggling and attempt to the light to help them through the darkness.

    Hilt was the Fort McCoy Youth Center’s top volunteer in 2022 and was also the Keystone vice president, officials said. Keystone Club is The Boys & Girls Club Movement’s “ultimate teen program.” Keystone Clubs provide leadership development opportunities for young people ages 14 to 18. Youth participate in activities in three focus areas: academic success, career preparation and community service.

    Isabella said that being a part of the Fort McCoy Youth Center taught her many other valuable life skills, such as leadership, communication, teamwork, money management, and the importance of volunteering. Through different activities at the Youth Center, Hilt said she learned how to be a leader and take charge of situations.

    While being a leader is very important, Hilt also said you absolutely need to be able to have teamwork. She said that the Youth Center taught her “you can’t be a good leader without teamwork and communication.” Hilt places emphasis on being able to support others when they are given leadership roles for different activities.

    Fort McCoy Youth Center officials state Hilt is an outstanding role model and leader and is talented, hard-working, aggressive, full of sportsmanship, and humble. Her work ethic and dedication to her craft resulted in her earning a spot on the Advanced Show Choir Team two years in a row and, this year, the title of dance captain.

    In three of the last four school musicals, Hilt has been the lead and earned a primary role in the fourth. Hilt has been on the honor roll her entire middle school career and is one grade ahead in math and art. As a member of Fort McCoy Youth Center, she helped creatively design and develop ideas for camp weeks. In addition, Hilt is a Where Everybody Belongs leader. By teacher nomination, she is part of the eighth-grade team with a mission this year to assist sixth graders academically, personally, and emotionally. Isabella was one of three students to then educate the Tomah School Board on their activities. She hopes to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison for teaching.

    Being named Youth of the Year is a lifelong honor, Boys & Girls Clubs of America leaders state. As the Wisconsin Military Youth of the Year, Hilt will serve as a spokesperson for kids and teens across the state who face the many unique challenges associated with military life.

    Founded in 1947 as Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community, and Boys & Girls Club.

    “We are incredibly proud of Isabella and all the Youth of the Year nominees,” said Jim Clark, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

    Youth of the Year representatives are the workforce leaders, innovators, and problem-solvers of tomorrow, Boys & Girls Clubs of America officials said.

    Later this year, Hilt will compete for the title of Midwest Region Military Youth of the Year and an additional $20,000 college scholarship. Five regional winners will advance to the National Youth of the Year event for the title of National Military Youth of the Year. The final stage of the journey, National Youth of the Year, presents the opportunity to receive an additional scholarship of $50,000 and a new car.

    For more information about the Youth of the Year program, visit

    (Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office and Tammie Noe with the Fort McCoy Child & Youth Services Program of the Fort McCoy Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.)



    Date Taken: 03.16.2023
    Date Posted: 03.16.2023 17:18
    Story ID: 440607
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US 

    Web Views: 327
    Downloads: 0