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No joke: McNair named State Youth of the Year

Justin K. McNair stands with his mother Mary after being awarded the South Carolina Youth of the Year title.

It was no joke this April Fool’s Day. The Youth of the Year from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area took home the title of State Youth of the Year on Saturday, April 1, in Greenville.

After earning the Pee Dee Area Youth of the Year title, Justin K. McNair of Lake City moved on to the state event. During Saturday’s event, McNair was named the South Carolina Youth of the Year and earned another $2,500 in scholarships. He will travel to the Southeast Regional Youth of the Year Event this summer. The National Event is held in October.

The Lake City Boys & Girls Club allowed this shy teenage boy to go from sad and isolated to outgoing and entertaining. 

Adopted as an infant by a single mother in rural South Carolina, McNair had the odds stacked against him, but at 16 he's graduating high school. McNair says the Club taught him not to give up: "Whatever you put your mind to, you can do it."

The welcoming environment of the Club helped him develop and grow. "Whenever you had a dream, they made sure they did everything in their power to accomplish that," McNair says. "I really love the Boys & Girls Club."

His motto is "Good character is something that you have to build; it doesn't come overnight." Staff at the Boys & Girls Club showed him that character.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area have had state winners before, the last one being Salisha Rigsbee from the Florence Club in the early 2000s. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at Claflin University and her J.D. from Arizona Summit Law School. Since 2018, she has served as assistant attorney general in Phoenix, Ariz., founded her own law firm in 2020. and continues to serve her community.

Other Clubs Youth of the Year

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area recognized Antonio Dix representing the Hartsville Boys & Girls Club, Tiana Hickson representing the Timmonsville Boys & Girls Club, Sydney Morrison representing the Pamplico Boys & Girls Club, Nydia Orange representing the North Florence Boys & Girls Club, and Jose Rodriguez representing The Rick & Susan Goings Boys & Girls Club in Hemingway.

What is Youth of the Year?

For 75 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year program has honored and celebrated the nation’s most inspiring teens – recognizing their commitment to outstanding leadership, service, and excellence. 

Each year, one exceptional Club member is selected to be the National Youth of the Year, serving as an ambassador for Boys & Girls Club youth as well as a voice for all our nation’s young people. These individuals have exemplified the Boys & Girls Club mission and are proof to the impact Clubs make in transforming and saving kids’ lives. National Youth of the Year winners have achieved success in a variety of industries, including entertainment, politics, business, and sports.

Becoming National Youth of the Year is an exciting and inspiring journey. Each year, thousands of Club teens participate in local, state, and regional Youth of the Year events. Six teens, including five regional winners and a national military youth winner, advance to the National Youth of the Year Celebration, where one outstanding young person is named Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s national teen spokesperson.

The National Youth of the Year is a role model, leader and advocate for the millions of youth served by Boys & Girls Clubs each year, and all of America's young people. As the teen spokesperson for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, National Youth of the Year get the opportunity to meet the President of the United States. So far, Youth of the Year have met 13 U.S. Presidents.

Supporting Lake City Boys & Girls Club & Youth Technology Center

Experience a cultural fusion as From Inside the Circle presents Live in Concert main performances by Haley Campbell and Ladylike with featured songwriters, The Dubber, Chris Ryan, Karla Pilgrim, and Will Ness. The Songwriters Circle will be hosted by Amy House as these musicians share their talents and explain the stories behind the songs. A small plates reception featuring chefs from Canada and the United States will follow the performances.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with the show starting at 7 o'clock Saturday, April 22, 2023, at Marshall's Marine, 114 E. Myrtle Beach Highway, Lake City. Cash bar. The entire production, from transformation of the venue into a concert space to the music will be filmed as part of the TV series.

All proceeds will support the Lake City Boys & Girls Club & Youth Technology Center. Our goal is to fund summer programming for 35 youth.

Tickets in advance are $35 individually and $50 for a pair. At the door, tickets will be $45. VIP tickets are $75 each and include an opening reception and drinks brought to you by Marshall's Marine. Purchase online here

Sponsorship packages are available as well. Call Lisa at 843-713-9449 or email for details.

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