Commentary: MEFIYI to highlight youth at awards

It almost goes without saying that Carson Valley has been blessed with an extraordinary crop of young athletes.

Douglas High School benefits from one of the strongest and deepest battery of feeder systems in the region, and it shows every season when the playoffs roll around.

But for all the on-field team recognition athletes receive around here, it is refreshing to step back and take a look at the quality of our athletes off the field.

The second annual Community Choice Youth Awards presented by the MEFIYI foundation is scheduled for May 31 at the St. Gall Pastoral Center, with dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Carson Valley.

Last year's inagural event honored 28 athletes between the ages of 9 and 18 and was met with much positive response.

"I think everyone really enjoyed themselves," JoJo Townsell, president of both the MEFIYI Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Nevada, said. "People really appreciated that we were able to recognize some of the strong student-athletes in this area.

"The only thing we're really hoping to do differently this year is spend more time highlighting the acheivements of these athletes. We want to be able to spend more time recognizing each individual child."

The Community Choice awards highlight the student in student-athlete, doling out awards based on scholastic and community service merits coupled with the athletic acheivements.

Nominees, must be residents of Douglas County, must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and must have volunteered their time to make Douglas County a better place.

It is with no sense of irony that the banquet meant to honor the quality of youth in the Valley will literally be funding the future enrichment of Valley youth through the Boys and Girls Club.

"We're looking to open in a satellite location by July of this year," Townsell said. "We need to raise about $250,000 before we can open. The banquet will obviously be a large part of our fundraising effort. We're on track right now to open this summer, but we're looking down the road toward building the permanent facility."

Townsell said one of middle schools in the area may be the most-likely starting point for a satellite location for the Boys and Girls Club.

Tickets for the event are $30 each. Sponsorships are being accepted at the Touchdown level ($2,000 includes a table of 10 for the banquet and a full-page ad in the event program), Home Run level ($1,500 includes a table of 10 and a half-page ad in the event program) and the Service Ace level ($1,000 includes a table of 10 and a quarter-page ad in the event program). Contributions of any amount are also being accepted.

Sponsors already on board with the banquet include the Robert Z. Hawkins Foundation, NFL Charities, the Robert R. Banks Foundation and The Record-Courier.

"All of those organizations have been instrumental in putting this thing together," Townsell said.

Last year's honorees included Austin Ball, Marisa Bertolone-Smith, Bailee Buck, Tayler Christopher, Brennen Collins, Sam Ensminger, Jennifer Gorton, Heather Henderson, BJ Hubbard, Jaqueline Kvasnicka, Bridget Maestretti, Steven Mathews, Alysa Matus, Christina McLaughlin, James McLaughlin, John McLaughlin, Matthew McLaughlin, Megan McLaughlin, Mickey Murphy, Melissa Oglesby, Mason Rhoads, Jeremy Ritter, Robert Shawhan, Troy Shields, Chloe Trudell, Amanda Wartgow, Kaleb Wartgow and Luke Wartgow.

To nominate an individual for the awards, visit the foundation's Web site at and look for the downloadable nomination forms, or call 783-9598 for more information. Forms can be mailed to the MEFIYI Foundation, 1857 Borda Way, Gardnerville, NV, 89410 or dropped off at The Record-Courier, 1503 Highway 395, Suite G, Gardnerville.

Townsell said anyone unable to attend the banquet, but still wanting to make a contribution can send donations to The Boys and Girls Club, P.O. Box 370, Gardnerville, NV, 89410.

-- Joey Crandall can be reached at or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.


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