SOY 2014 Lemming Interns taking notes in an open field

It is that time of year when Spirit of Youth wrap up its year long statewide campaign to honor Alaskan youth. Every year Spirit of Youth recognizes about 150 youth from 50 or more communities across the state. Youth ages 12-19 are nominated by community members, youth groups, educators, and other teens. Rolling nominations can be made in one of eleven categories including cultural pursuits, science and environmental activities, the arts, and service to the community.  Every youth or youth group receives a congratulations packet from Spirit of Youth and a certificate, which is presented at a public gathering. Each nominee is also considered for the Spirit of Youth radio series, which broadcasts to nearly 100 Alaska communities. This year, rural Alaskan youth shine brilliantly and more can still be honored by month’s end. Some of the young nominees we want to tell you about come from Hooper Bay, Yakutat, Bethel, Shaktoolik and Barrow. These teens contribute to the wellness, culture and resiliency of their communities.

Al Hale

Home Town: Hooper Bay
School District: Lower Yukon
Award Category: Cultural Pursuits

Al participated in the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Youth Leadership Institute where he developed and practiced skills to maintain a strong youth voice to use in his school and community. He connected with peers from across the state and was part of conversations with board members at the AASB annual conference.

Alford Bankston, Kori Itta-Tomas, Kara Smith, and Esther Taalak
Lemming Monitoring Study InternsSOY 2014 Lemming Interns

Home Town: Barrow
School District: North Slope Borough School District
Award Category: Science & Environment

Alford Bankston, Kori Itta-Tomas, Kara Smith, and Esther Taalak of Barrow interned with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service exploring relationships among lemmings and endangered species. The students got an introduction to field research and were able to provide local environmental and traditional knowledge. After the season is over the interns engage in community outreach presentations about their summer experiences.

Devlin Anderstrom

Home Town: Yakutat
School District: Yakutat School District
Award Category: Cultural Pursuits

Devlin helps keep his Yakutat culture thriving by participating in Native dance and cultural activities such as drawing, carving and language restoration. In 2013 he participated in a three-day historical canoe journey from Juneau to Wrangell to represent the history and culture of Yakutat.

Ethan Evan

Home Town: Shaktoolik
School District: Bering Strait School District
Award Category: Service To Peers

Ethan serves as a youth leader, supporter, and role model for his peers, fellow classmates, and other youth in the small community of Shaktoolik. He provides counseling to his peers in need and is a subsistence provider for his family and elders.

Teens Acting Against ViolenceSOY 2014 TAAV

Home Town: Bethel
School District: Lower Kuskokwim School District
Award Category: Service To Peers

Teens Acting Against Violence created a video for their peers for Green Dot Bethel, a program dedicated to ending violence in their community. The group voluntarily participated in the Green Dot effort and presented their project to Public Health Nursing and other community partners. TAAV is committed to promoting a safer community through domestic violence prevention.

See more nominations made in 2014 here, and make sure to nominate an Alaskan teen or youth group you know from 12/31/14 from the simple online process here.