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DoDEA Bahrain Student Named Europe Military Youth of the Year

30 April 2024

From MC1 Shayla Hamilton, NSA Bahrain Public Affairs

Capt. Zachariah Aperauch, commanding officer of Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain and Cmdr. Jimmy Harmon, NSA Bahrain’s executive officer, presented Taylor Rhinehart, NSA Bahrain and Europe’s Youth of the Year, with a plaque, April 25.
Rhinehart, 17, represented NSA Bahrain, competing against 14 youth for the title of Europe’s Military Youth of the Year, April 19. This summer, Rhinehart will represent Europe at the Northeast regional Youth of the Year competition in New York.

“Since 1947, Youth of the Year has been a BGCA [Boys and Girls Club of America] premium recognition program, celebrating the extraordinary achievements of club members,” said Renee Riehle, Child and Youth Program Director. “Each year, one exceptional club member is selected to be the National Youth of the Year, who serves both as an exemplary ambassador for Boys and Girls Clubs, and a strong voice for all our nation’s youth. Taylor Rhinehart was selected as the NSA Bahrain 2024 Youth of the Year, and last week, he competed in Naples against 14 youth from military bases across Europe. Taylor had the honor of being named Europe’s Youth of the Year.”

Military Connected Youth, Youth of the Year is Boys & Girls Clubs of America's flagship recognition program. It honors teens ages 14 to 18 for their dedication to community service, academic achievement, good character and citizenship, and setting long-term goals.

Before the start of Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Bahrain’s Purple Up! Fun Run for the Month of the Military Child, Rhinehart delivered his winning speech to attendees before being presented with a plaque.

“Thank you for the opportunity and the privilege to represent the Boys and Girls Club of America as Naval Support Activity Bahrain’s and Europe’s Youth of the Year,” said Rhinehart. “Have you ever heard of a third-culture kid? A third-culture kid is an individual who has been raised in a culture different from their parents’ country of origin. I myself am a third-culture kid and I’ve never lived in the United States. I was born on the Yokosuka naval base in Japan, moved to Misawa, Okinawa, and then Rota, Spain before moving to my current home in Bahrain. I’ve now lived here for almost six years and my experiences in the Middle East have opened my eyes and taught me so many lessons about the world.”

During his remarks, Rhinehart described how living in the Middle East has shaped his worldview. 

“The first lesson that I learned is that in a military youth’s changing world, consistency contributes to our ability to adapt in our new environments,” said Rhinehart. “These constants act as an anchor, and for me, my anchor has been the club. Every time I move, my new host nation is completely different from the last, except for the club. No matter where I was, the club staff were not only focused on my growth as an individual, but also on how I can become a world citizen and an empowered youth. The club is an anchor to all youth that join and our resiliency as military-connected children is built by the steadfastness that the club provides.”
 
Rhinehart went on to say he has learned that commonality fosters comfort, while difference and diversity fosters growth and resilience. 

“The club promotes our commonality, while also promoting the diversity of the region that we live in,” said Taylor. “We must leave our comfort zones to find common ground, seek new experiences, and unlock our full potential as individuals and as a generation.”

NSA Bahrain’s mission is to support U.S. and coalition maritime operations throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations by providing security for ships, aircraft and tenants on board NSA Bahrain and assigned detachments. NSA Bahrain provides efficient and effective shore services to sustain the fleet, enable the fighter and support the family with honor, courage, and commitment.
 

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