by Senior Airman Olivia Bumpers
23d Wing Public Affairs
2/10/2014 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- One
teen's devotion to mentoring others and willingness to help others in
the local community recently allowed him to receive the highest honor
that can be bestowed upon a military youth here.
In January 2014, Jeffrey Fleming was named Moody Youth of the Year,
which is a part of the Boys and Girls Club of America program. Being
named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a teen can attain in the
association. At the end of February, he will travel to Atlanta to
compete at the state level for the title of 'Military Youth of the
Choosing the Youth of the Year is a yearlong process. Judges recognize
outstanding contributions that each teen does for their family, school
and local community. They also look at how they overcome personal
challenges and obstacles.
"His dedication and commitment to serving others is everything that is
asked for when choosing the Youth of the Year," said Dion Bass, 23d
Force Support Squadron Youth Sports and Fitness director. "He is well
spoken and respectful, and he tends to stand out from the rest."
Fleming's list of achievements and contributions include everything from
volunteering regularly at the Youth Center to involving himself in the
Passport to Manhood self-development group for young male teens. He is
also currently the president of the Moody Liberty Keystone Club, a teen
leadership group, all while working a part-time job.
He is also involved in the Toastmasters club, a communication and leadership group, where he was named best speaker.
"My main goal is to better myself," said Fleming. "While I'm improving myself, I want to help others do the same.
"I love to mentor younger teens because in a way, I see a little bit of
myself in them," he added. "The more I see them succeed, the better it
makes me feel."
Fleming added that growing up with a parent in the military was
extremely stressful and he hopes to use his experience to help other
military children deal with issues that normal children don't go
"My biggest problem was fitting in at school and keeping friends," said
Fleming. "I would meet people everywhere I went but had to leave them
one to two years later."
In addition to fitting in at each school, Fleming also mentioned that he
had identity problems as he grew up. He said that the support he
received from his family and friends helped him get through tough
Though adjusting to life as a military teen was hard for Fleming, he
mentioned moving to Moody was his easiest transition. He added that the
Youth Center is one of his favorite centers he has been involved with
out of all his locations.
"This may sound cheesy but the staff, advisors, and the kids push me to
do better," said Fleming. "I don't think I would have gotten this far
without their support."
Fleming added that his parents, U.S. Air Force retired Master Sgt.
Michael Fleming and Shirley Fleming, were his biggest motivators.
"My parents taught me to never settle for less," said Fleming. "I try to
excel in anything I'm doing whether I'm at work, school or
While continuing to excel in his obligations, Fleming's hard work didn't
go unnoticed. He earned the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally
scholarship that will pay 90 percent of his schooling.
Fleming plans to attend Valdosta State University to pursue a business degree after he graduates high school in May.
Although winning Youth of the Year at the national level would be a
great accomplishment, Fleming said that his main focus is school and
continuing to work with younger youth at the center.