BAGC youth of year says club gave him good direction

Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County Junior Staff member Charlie Agnew (right) fends off an attack in the gaga pit from Holden Moyer. Agnew, who is also a member of the club, was chosen as the 2019 Youth of the Year recently, and also tapped to be on the Boys & Girls Club’s national steering committee.
Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County Junior Staff member Charlie Agnew (right) fends off an attack in the gaga pit from Holden Moyer. Agnew, who is also a member of the club, was chosen as the 2019 Youth of the Year recently, and also tapped to be on the Boys & Girls Club’s national steering committee. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

What would Charlie Agnew be doing right now if it weren’t for the Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County?

Well, by his own admission, he’d probably be in trouble.

The Huntington North High School senior, 17, a standout not only on the school’s football team, but also a state-level wrestler – who landed eighth place in his weight class in the state this year – credits the club for giving him a firm foundation and straight direction in life that is leading him to recognition on a national stage.

Agnew was named the club’s 2019 Youth of the Year – a distinction that will allow him to go on to compete for the Boys & Girls Club state title. But he has also been selected to serve on the National Steering committee for the 2019 Keystone Conference.

Club Program Director Desiree Frederick says Agnew has transformed into someone that other club members look up to.

“It is really finding the shining stars within the club, those kids that have been active for many years,” she explains. “It’s a big honor to be selected as the club’s Youth of the Year. … You have to be involved in the club, and also be involved in outside activities. You’re kind of looking for that member that is a well-rounded member that has been involved in multiple programs.”

Agnew went up against three other teen club members. They went through an interview process and gave a speech about their club experience. They were also rated by a panel of judges on their communication skills. Agnew will go on to represent the club at the state competition in May in Indianapolis.

Agnew grew up – literally – in the shadow of the Boys & Girls Club, longing to come with his older brothers when they would go hang out at the club. When he reached kindergarten age he could finally attend, and has been a dedicated member ever since.

“It’s been like a second home for me; I’ve been here so many times it’s unreal,” he says of the club. “My brothers weren’t the best students or kids growing up, so I would have probably fallen along with them and I would have gotten into a little bit of trouble and I probably wouldn’t be in sports as much as I am, and just not as involved in the community as I have been lately, especially. It definitely led me on the right path.”

Over the years, Agnew has participated in prevention, Junior Staff, Passport to Manhood and Keystone Club programs. But after a dozen years as a member, instead of following the pack, he’s now leading it, thanks to what he’s learned as a mentor in the Keystone Club, a leadership program within the Boys & Girls Club for high school kids.

Last summer he started a program in which his HNHS football team came to the club once a week to hang out with the kids and serve as role models to the younger youth.

“I just remember when I told the kids that I was a football player, and it was like, ‘Oh, you’re a football player? That’s so awesome!’” he recalls “So I’m like, ‘I’m going to get the whole team down here just to hang out with them.’ The kids really enjoyed that.”

At the end of the summer program the kids fed the team a thank you dinner, and got to go down on the field with the players during the high school’s homecoming game.

This year, Agnew will travel to Atlanta, GA, one of 10 club members from across the country on the steering committee who will plan the next national Keystone Conference in July in Orlando, FL.

And if he hasn’t spent enough time at the Boys & Girls Club, Agnew’s after-school job as a junior staff member is at the club as well. It’s a position he’s had the past four years.

“Even on the days he doesn’t have to be here, he’s here,” adds Frederick.

On the odd days that he isn’t at the club, he enjoys hanging out with friends, working out and participating in various sports, including helping with the Huntington County Wrestling Club’s practices and tournaments. He’s also getting ready to head off to college, having been accepted at Ball State University, where he plans to study physical therapy and business. He’ll be helped with the $500 scholarship he received as Youth of the Year.

“I’d like to own my own physical therapy business,” he says. “I’ve always thought about side businesses that help kids and those in need.”
Despite all the things he’s accomplished as a club member, having won the local club’s Youth of the Year Award has left him humbled, and maybe just a little reflective.

“I’m really honored just to be able to represent the Boys & Girls Club like this, because, as Desiree said, it’s a really great accomplishment,” he notes. “And the fact that I was chosen to be Youth of the Year, I feel like it’s a really big honor because being a club member for as long as I have been, it’s awesome to be able to give back and show that the club is amazing and you can do very good things.”