BGCOP Youth of the Year Excels in Coastal Area Council Youth Competition

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme Youth of the Year Valeria Virgen recently took top honors in the Boys & Girls Club of America competition. The ten-year BGCOP member was named the 2018 Coastal Area Youth of the Year and received a $2,500 scholarship from the Coastal Area Council to help her with her college expenses. Virgen, 18, was among nine Club members from Kern, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties vying for the title at the competition held March 1 at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

She will travel to Sacramento, Calif., the week of April 9th for the California Youth of the Year Competition. Virgen will be one of nine members competing for the state title and a $10,000 college scholarship.

“Valeria shows great determination and focus on getting things done. She is a competent leader and mentor for the Boys & Girls Club,” said Erin Antrim, CEO BGCOP. “We are very proud of her and her accomplishments.”

BGCA’s Youth of the Year program uses five weighted categories criteria for the judging process on the local, state, regional and national level. Each candidate is required to write three essays on (1) their club experience; (2) their vision for America’s youth; and (3) their personal brand. Candidates prepare for a personal interview with a panel of judges and prepare to deliver a speech based on their three application essays including contributions to the member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles. Each candidate provides three letters of recommendation from individuals who can personally attest to the candidate’s achievement and potential in terms of (1) leadership, character and service; (2) academic excellence; and (3) healthy lifestyles. Letters and supporting documentation should be informative, highlight the candidate’s accomplishments and corroborate the candidate’s qualifications.

Virgen, is a hard-working senior at Rio Mesa High School and hopes to major in business administration or law. She has applied to the University of Southern California, the University of California Los Angeles, Cal Poly and Berkley. Known for her skills in the boxing ring, Virgen has a 4-1 record. She has learned that hard work and determination can be rewarding. At Rio Mesa, Virgen has taken AP classes and International Baccalaureate classes. She is also enrolled at Oxnard College as part of their dual enrollment program, taking two afternoon classes and maintaining a 4.0 GPA in those courses, all while balancing a part-time job and being active in the Club’s programs.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme is a nonprofit 501© (3) youth service organization. BGCOP’s mission is “to inspire and enable all youth, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential, as productive, responsible and caring citizens.” Services are provided in three freestanding clubhouses in Oxnard and Port Hueneme which include a dedicated Teen Center, 11 public school program sites, one Club site in Nyeland Acres, one site at a Squires Public Housing, and the first Boys & Girls Club in a juvenile hall in the State of California. The purpose of BGCOP is to provide social, educational and recreational programs to all youth ages 6-18 years old, with an emphasis on those in underserved areas. Annual member dues is $20.00 however, no one is turned away regardless of ability to pay. Over 10,400 youth and teens are served annually. For more information, to get involved or to donate, please visit