Boys and Girls Club serves an early breakfast


Emma Johns

Staff, supporters, parents, and many companies sit in front of the long table to witness the Youth of the Year Award be given out. Jinnie Ponder wins the award, and gives an inspiring speech that garners the crowds attention.

Emma Johns, Reporter

October 25, 2020, the Boys and Girls Club hosted an early breakfast starting from 6:30am and going to about 8:00am. It was held at the event center. The event began with invitees ordered to come in with the proper face coverings and stand by the doors as security waved a metal detector around their person. Then, everyone was brought down large stairways where they were sorted to their tables – which were sectioned off by red ropes. Many people had attended the event, almost the entire football-field-sized floor covered with guests. Companies such as Foss Motors and Toyota were also met with Natrona County High School’s  football team. Breakfast is the first thing served (breakfast burritos, yogurt with graham pieces, fruit, and a croissant sandwich), included with the option of coffee, tea, orange juice, and water. 

A few minutes after the guests ate and settled down, the NC JROTC marched on to start the uniformed pledge of allegiance. Julie Dysart, one of the many club members that arrived at the event, led the pledge in a solo. Along with the members of Boys and Girls Club, many more impressive guests had shown to give a speech for the event. For example, Andre Reed had attended the event with merchandise such as a kids’ book, a framed jersey, and a trip behind the scene. Others such as Bob Price, Dr. Gail Zimmerman, Trace Blajszczak, Steve Freel, Mick and Suse McMurry, and Rhonda Zimmerman also attend this event. The most prominent guests, however, were Wyoming’s town mayor and the governor Mark Gordon with the First Lady as well. Almost all of these members arrived at the event prepared to give a speech to everyone in the room – only leaving out very few. 

Due to Covid, this process was a longer task than normal. After every speech person went up, where they temporarily removed their mask to talk clearly, a worker would scurry towards the podium. They were adorned in medical gloves and a mask, wiping down the microphone after every change in spokesperson. The event centered around Boys and Girls Club’s annual Youth of the Year Awards. Therefore, former members of the club who had received this award had either attended or had their faces pictured on two big screens – each facing an opposite side of the stadium. Quite a few, new and old members of the club had shown up. About seven of these teens were candidates for the reward – including Jinnie Ponder, Julie Dysart, and her brother. 

In the end, Jinnie Ponder won the award. When she went onto the stage, the teen admitted to believing Julie Dysart would have won the award, being a “club member a lot longer than I have”. From there, the small teen told her story. Being a kid who lost her best friend, her mother, at a very young age, Jinnie struggled to connect. She expressed trying to connect with her father, who was just as awkward and slow with the movement as she was. Jinnie told the entire crowd of her fight to stay strong and to simply go out and say hi to someone. She expressed the need for friends and family and the importance of that love for every child and adult alike. She ended her speech with a mantra she learned from her mother; “…no matter what happens, stay confident”.