McIntyre is Boys & Girls Club Youth of Year

Brianna McIntyre, 16, is pictured inside the Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County, where she is not only a member but also works part time as a junior staffer. McIntyre not only won the club’s 2020 Youth of the Year Award, she went on to earn distinction at the Boys & Girls Club state level, finishing in the top five of that competition.
Brianna McIntyre, 16, is pictured inside the Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County, where she is not only a member but also works part time as a junior staffer. McIntyre not only won the club’s 2020 Youth of the Year Award, she went on to earn distinction at the Boys & Girls Club state level, finishing in the top five of that competition. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

A sophomore at Huntington North High School and only 16 years old, Brianna McIntyre’s future looks as bright as the awards she recently received; all she has to do is decide what she wants to do with them.

McIntyre is the 2020 Parkview Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County’s Youth of the Year, an honor she received after she wrote a speech and three essays on how to make the world a better place, in a competition with the other members of her club.

For her win, the seven-year club member received a $500 scholarship from local sponsor Lake City Bank.

She went on to the state Boys & Girls Club contest, where she placed in the top five finishers. She was awarded another $500 scholarship from the Indiana Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs.

She also received a one-semester scholarship to Ivy Tech Community College – plus – a four-year scholarship to St. Mary-of-the-Woods College.

With the distinction of being named Youth of the Year, McIntyre’s entire college tuition is all but covered. And she still has two more years of high school left to complete.

For her “World Problem” topic, a global issue that means a lot to her, McIntyre chose the issue of mental health and minorities, a subject with which she has had some familiarity.

“I feel like it’s a huge thing, especially like with teenagers,” she says. “I really want to be able to help youth, rather than like older people because I am a youth, so I can understand what they’re going through.

“Also with minorities – I feel like minorities aren’t treated the way they should be, and I want to just bring awareness and hope to those kids who aren’t in the ‘social construct’ that we all build into everybody.”

McIntyre says she was severely bullied when she was younger, and she desires to turn that experience around to help others, especially kids who are in the LGBT spectrum, to stand up for themselves and overcome derogatory stereotypes. Describing herself as an LGBT advocate, she says her goal is to interact with the younger Boys & Girls Club members and gain their trust.

“I have a lot of friends who are in minorities,” she says. “I have a lot of diverse friends, and all of them have their own life and their own struggles. So I have, like, bits and pieces of so many different things. … Gaining and losing friends along the way, I’ve learned so many different lifestyles. I have like a super awareness – I understand everything going on around me, and if I see something happening then I’m analyzing it in my mind and how I could change that, or things I could do.”

McIntyre, who currently works part time as a junior staff member at the club, has been heavily involved in its activities since the age of 9, including competing in the Boys & Girls Club’s Drug Bowl drug awareness competition, serving as the Torch Club president and Teen Advisory president. She has now moved on to the Key Club, a leadership club for high school youth. She also sees that experience as preparation for the opportunity to make a difference and help solve the World Problem.

“So if any person, especially a club kid – that’s why I like working here – if any club kid would come up to me and say, ‘Hey, this is going on,’ I would have some knowledge, and I would know who to reach out to.”

The rising junior at Huntington North High School is a member of the school’s Diversity Club, and is also involved in concert choir, as singing is another of McIntyre’s passions. She also enjoys drawing as another avenue in which to express her talent and has been studying American Sign Language.

At home, when she isn’t studying she binge-watches “The Office” and plays “Animal Crossing” on Nintendo.

When it comes to future plans, she is still up in the air about what college to attend and what to major in. She had initially thought about studying at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. But now she has the delightful dilemma of choices – some of which will fund her education.

“I’m like really grateful that I got that, but I don’t know if I’m going to go to that college,” she muses. “I don’t want to throw away the chance, but I also have a second plan where if I decide, I can do a semester at that college and get core classes, and then go study my major at the college that’s paid for – why not?”

McIntyre’s not in any hurry – she’s got two more years to decide how to use her scholarships and what major she’ll declare.

“I want to like focus on the whole World Problem thing, and study somewhere in that,” she adds. “So this next year in my junior year I’m taking a forensics class. I always thought that was really cool, so if I enjoy that class I could major in that, too.”