MHAFB volunteer named Idaho Youth of the Year

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- One MHAFB volunteer has been recognized as the annual Idaho Youth of the Year for her exemplary contributions to the community and dedicated service to the Boys & Girls Club.

Karla Rogers, a 17-year-old who has been volunteering at the youth center here for almost a decade will receive $4,500 in college scholarships and advance to the Pacific Region competition later this year.

"To me it means a lot more than the scholarship money," said Rogers. "It's really about being able to represent your club and demonstrate what they teach us."

Rogers' hard-work ethic and positive attitude has been apparent to those around her at the youth center for years.

"Karla has been with this club for eight years, and since day one she has been extremely active not only during events but when looking for any leadership opportunities as well," said Bill Heatter, adolescent and teen program director for the youth center. "Through the club, I have witnessed her grow from a new kid to someone who is extremely proactive-teen leader and an ambassador, having gone on many trips representing not only the youth center but MHAFB and the community of Mountain Home very well."

Throughout her journey to Youth of the Year, Karla has volunteer thousands of hours to programs and events that directly impacted the lives of Gunfighter families.

"Equally important was her support to community. Karla has been active in many community service projects, however, one that displayed true care and passion was when she led her KEYSTON (Keeping Every Youth Strongly Tuned on National Excellence) club in painting a 12 by 40 inch mural at the Good Samaritan Home in Boise," explained Heatter. "Words cannot express the sincere appreciation voiced by many staff and elderly residents of the home."

Rogers' commitment to excellence is a milestone in the history of MHAFB youth center volunteers.

"She is a great representative of the teen community in this area and is the fourth state winner in the history of this Boys & Girls Club," explained Heatter.

Coming from a military background, Rogers has faced unique personal challenges which some agree have actually strengthened her character.

"Every place she goes she has to say this is home for now, not knowing how long they're going to be there," said Heatter. "Karla, however, takes this as an advantage because this has given her an opportunity to travel and meet a diverse assortment of peers."

Rogers agrees that her diverse background has molded her into the person she is today.

"I had to deal with making new friends a lot, and one of the hardest changes I made was becoming more outgoing," said Rogers. "I really pushed myself to not be the quiet person in the room, but actually make an effort to be the outgoing person."