The Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club (B&G) has chosen Nathan Hall as their 2018 Youth of the Year (YOY), to compete against eight other young leaders from Boys & Girls Clubs across the state of Delaware. The winner will compete for the title of 2018 Delaware Youth of the Year on Wednesday, April 18th at the annual Youth of the Year Be Great Gala in Wilmington.
A senior at Milford High School, Hall is known for the persistence and passion he shows in the swimming pool and in the classroom. A member of both the Milford High School and the Club’s Swim team, he spends his time out of the water in academically challenging programs like Delaware College Scholars and afterschool organizations including Future Farmers of America. Starting his journey with the Milford B&G Club in fifth grade, Hall states that leadership at the Club has helped him find a purpose.
“…the Boys & Girls Club helped me to discover my passions, values, and strengths, and qualities that distinguishes who I am. I have found my purpose,” said Hall. “My personal brand is the light of who I am and what defines me.”
Growing up on the Dover Air Force Base, Nathan had challenging early years that included complications with his family. His biological mother left him when he was two and his father was rarely around due to deployment overseas. Nathan was raised by his Stepmother, who became his legal guardian and his Grandfather became his father figure. When his grandfather died of heart cancer, Nathan felt as if his “family was falling apart even more than in times past.” A few months later, his father got into trouble with the law and his Stepmother moved Nathan’s little brother and he to Milford.
“At this point in my life, I was just looking for the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Nathan.
Moving to Milford in Middle School was challenging for the young man. During the summer between fifth and sixth grade, he was introduced to the Greater Milford Club. At first, he was a quiet, shy kid who mostly kept to himself. “I did not trust people. I experienced the pain of having both of my biological parents abandon me. I felt like I was worthless and that I must have done something wrong for them to leave me,” he said. “How can you trust people when you can’t even trust the two most important people who brought you into this world? In my mind, I could no longer trust people, I was afraid to.”
One staff member at the Boys & Girls Club, Mr. Lester, aimed to make a difference in Nathan’s life. He helped Nathan to rebuild his trust in people and become more confident. He taught Nathan how to treat people with kindness and respect so that he may, in return, receive the same respect. These interactions influenced Nathan’s perception of the world around him and changed his interactions with others.
“I care so much about people and I want them to know that they are not alone in this journey. Everyone has the right to enjoy the same opportunities as others in the world, and be treated with dignity,” said Nathan. “I strongly believe everyone deserves a fair chance in life no matter who they are. No one’s life should be judged solely on their past, or on what others did and how they acted.”
Nathan is very passionate about two things in his life; reading and swimming. Throughout his life, reading has always been an escape from reality whereas swimming provided an outlet to escape his fears and worries. “ [Reading] allows me explore new worlds and travel to many exotic places, all in one day. Reading allows me to discover new and wonderful things that I wouldn’t see in my everyday life. I believe if someone wants to take a break from their reality, read a book,” he said. “When I am swimming, I am calm. I feel peaceful, and I don’t have a worry in the world. I love to swim. I would like to one day become a swimming coach for a swim team. Those are my passions and they have been instrumental in strengthening me to overcome my challenges that I had faced for years.”
As a leader in school and at the Club, Nathan has chosen to give back to his community by volunteering to help younger children. He sees one major challenge facing youth today is their belief that noone can understand their challenges or what they have been through. Nathan wants to create a mentorship program that will empower youth to mentor other youth. “Kids need someone to talk to and many don’t feel comfortable going to the adults. Trained youth mentors are able to look from the child’s point of view and give advice that the child can understand and relate to,” Nathan said. “Our mentors would be able to receive the best of both worlds. As youth themselves, they can easily relate to another child and see things from the child’s perspective, while learning valuable skills to become a leader.”
Nathan plans to attend Delaware Technical & Community College next year and purse a degree in Science. He hopes to move on to a four-year college where he can experiment with the fields of engineering and biological sciences.
To see Nathan and the other 8 Youth of the Year Finalists vie for the Delaware Youth of the Year title on April 18th, visit www.bgclubs.org/yoy to reserve your ticket.
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