Club for Boys builds character and self-esteem through Boy of the Year program
RAPID CITY, South Dakota—For 12-year-old Slade Keierleber, the reason to help other people is simple. “So they can further themselves in life,” he said.
It’s one of the reasons he has been selected as this year’s Club for Boys Boy of the Year, an annual program that celebrates an outstanding member who has demonstrated integrity, kindness, good behavior and consistent character. Through the Boy of the Year program, multiple boys are also selected by staff and recognized each month. One boy is selected each year and honored during a banquet ceremony attended by community members, family and friends.
The process to select the Boy of the Year is extensive. Staff talk with parents, coaches, teachers and relatives to learn more about how the boys behave in and outside the Club. The program is at the heart of the Club’s mission, which is to provide positive experiences that develop self-esteem and character in a safe, caring, fun environment for all boys.
Keierleber is a leader among his peers, said Phil Martin, director of the junior boys program. “Slade has always been a good helper, respectful and a boy you can count on to behave responsibly.”
Keierleber is thoughtful and sensitive, and he also has a great sense of humor, Martin added. “He seems to understand what is considered appropriate and inappropriate and consistently chooses what is appropriate in every situation.”
Keierleber is also an active member of Boy Scouts, won a 2016 American Legion School Award and donates his hair to Locks of Love. Friends, teachers and community leaders described him as industrious, enthusiastic, respectful, mature, purposeful and positive.
He is also a tremendous leader, which is one of the strongest reasons the Club continues to do the Boy of the Year program. It is an inspiration for other Club members to see a fellow member, who has demonstrated good character, be honored and celebrated. The boys and staff look forward to the banquet all year long, said Program Director Carri Redmond. “I think the honor boy banquet is a big deal because it recognizes those boys who really encompass what the Club stands for,” she said. “It’s such an honor for them to be recognized in front of other peers, parents and board of directors.”
Keierleber, who is a student at Sturgis Williams Middle School, said he has been a member of the Club since he was 6 and spends much of his time taking part in the Garden Club or playing kickball in the gym. “I make a lot of new friends every summer and lots of my friends from school go there too,” he said.
When he’s not planting vegetables or in the gym, Keierleber said he likes to be in the library, helping others with math and reading. “I like to be able to teach other kids on different things and help them through stuff,” he said. “I always like to help.”