ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton and Carter County named Gracie Yoder as this year’s Youth of the Year. Sen. Rusty Crowe presented her with an award during a special ceremony on Wednesday.

Gracie is a Senior at Elizabethton High School and she’s the president of the Youth Advisory Council. In the Spring of 2022, Gracie completed the BGCA workforce readiness program, which led to her employment at the Boys and Girls Club as a junior staff member.

“I’m very proud of myself,” Yoder told News Channel 11. “I worked extremely hard. I can’t tell you how many nights I stayed up just going over speeches, rewriting, writing, I just going through everything, you know, getting references.”

The club’s Youth of the Year award aims to recognize a young person for their excellence in leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle. Sen. Crowe presented a resolution to Gracie during the ceremony, announcing her as the Youth of the Year.

Gracie said she’s appreciative of her local Boys and Girls Club for sharpening her social skills and helping her come out of her shell as a young woman.

“I came here, I was very shy, very, you know, I would say very little. I was very little. You know, as I grew, I got bigger and bigger and, you know, I started reaching out to more people and talking, and I found out that I really like volunteering. So I would help staff get something for a kid or I would pick up trash.”