Thomas “Tommy” Sutton attends the Boys and Girls Club of Troy.

Thomas “Tommy” Sutton attends the Boys and Girls Club of Troy.

Photo by Sarah Wright

Athens teen named Boys and Girls Club of Troy Youth of the Year

By: Sarah Wright | Troy Times | Published April 24, 2024


TROY — A 17-year-old Athens High School senior, Thomas “Tommy” Sutton, has been selected as the 2024 Boys and Girls Club of Troy Youth of the Year.

“It’s been an amazing honor,” Sutton said. “I didn’t expect this, and I was shocked and surprised to be able to receive this huge honor.”

The Boys and Girls Club of Troy, located at 3670 John R Road, is a nonprofit youth development organization that provides educational and recreational activities, in addition to mentoring programs, to more than 1,200 children ages 6 to 18 in metro Detroit.

For the award, Sutton submitted essays that gave insight into his daily life, his life within the club, and what he stands for.

As the 2024 Youth of the Year honoree for the Boys and Girls Club of Troy, Sutton is among hundreds of teens across the country being recognized by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for their character, leadership skills and willingness to contribute to their community. BGCA’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year, is the highest honor a club member can receive and encourages club members to build their own potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and serving their communities, according to the organization.

“Over Tommy’s time at the Boys and Girls Club of Troy, he has been a shining example of hard work, discipline, and dedication to BGCT for all of our members,” Boys and Girls Club of Troy CEO Jeff Evans said in a press release. “From being a leader among our Leaders In Training and as a Junior Staff, Tommy has become an outstanding young leader. We have witnessed him grow over his five years at the Club and has become a positive role model for all of our youth here. I’m amazed by not only by how far Tommy has come both academically and personally, but that he continues to give back to the club that has given him so much. His talent, personality and work ethic make him a well-deserved representative of the Boys and Girls Club of Troy and the local community.”

Sutton has been a member of the Boys and Girls Club for five years. He has volunteered in a number of roles throughout the club, most notably in leadership roles through the Leaders In Training and Junior Staff programs. He is also a member of the National Honor Society at Troy Athens High School and plans to follow his interests in business at Central Michigan University.

“His growth as an individual has set him apart from his peers here at the Club,” BGCT Club Director Jim Adams said. “He started here as a rather quiet and shy kid. He has pushed himself to try new things and find his voice. He has become a leader among our teens and junior staff last summer.”

Sutton said that some of favorite memories with the club include working with other members to help them get through tough times and watching them thrive in the club’s programs.

“I thank the Boys & Girls Club of Troy for helping to grow me into the person that I am today,” Sutton said in a press release. He thanked the club for providing him with a platform to share his story, and his pride and respect for the club.

“I will also make sure that everyone knows how amazing it is to be a part of a great environment, the Boys and Girls Club of Troy,” he said in a press release.

Sutton, along with Youth of the Year recipients from other Michigan communities, was further celebrated during the Michigan Youth of the Year Celebration in Lansing. During this event, Sutton gave a speech, participated in an interview and was able to meet Michigan representatives and senators.

“I’m planning to pursue a career in political science, and one of the representatives at the event said if I wanted an internship during my junior or senior year, I should reach out to them,” Sutton said.

Sutton’s family, friends and others who have come to know the teen have also expressed their pride and congratulations for his achievement, directly to him as well as on social media.

“We always thought he deserved recognition,” Sutton’s sister Emily said. “We’ve seen family, old teachers and counselors posting about his award on social media. Everyone’s super excited. We had a luncheon with our parents and grandfather to celebrate, though maybe we’ll let him pick dinner to further celebrate this.”

He will now be able to compete against other members of Boys and Girls Clubs within the state for the Michigan Youth of the Year title and a $5,000 college scholarship, courtesy of program sponsors, which include Toyota, Kohl’s and Mondelez International.

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 Washington, D.C., for the National Youth of the Year Gala and Celebration Dinner, where one outstanding young person is named Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s national teen spokesperson.

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