Fort Drum teenager earns prestigious award


Mike Strasser

Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs


Madison Staples wb.jpgFORT DRUM, N.Y. (Aug. 10, 2020) – Madison Staples, a Fort Drum teen and Indian River High School graduate, was recently named 2020 Military Youth of the Year Runner Up for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Staples was recognized through a virtual award ceremony.

“It feels amazing to have earned such an award from the Boys and Girls Clubs,” she said.

The Military Youth of the Year honor is a distinct component of the national Youth of the Year program. It recognizes club members who serve on military installations and have overcome challenges while demonstrating exceptional character and accomplishments.

Club members advance through local, state and regional competitions to earn this honor. Every year, more than 90 participants from military bases across the country and worldwide are awarded more than $500,000 in scholarships as finalists.

Staples, 18, and her family have lived at Fort Drum since 2013, and she has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club program through the Youth Center for the past seven years.

“What first got me interested in the Youth Center was my mother,” Staples said. “She used to work there, and (she) told me all about it. It sounded like a lot of fun, so I started to attend.”

Staples said that she participated in activities ranging from the Midnight Sports program and the annual haunted house, and she joined many of clubs and outdoor events hosted by the Youth Center.

When COVID-19 hit the North Country, Staples no longer had a school to go to every morning or any Youth Center activities to look forward to. She said that she found it challenging having to adjust to all the changes.

“I was graduating this year, and missing out on most of my senior year wasn’t fun,” she said. “My family helped make it the best they could though with what we had to work with.”

Staples said that she will attend Jefferson Community College and study physical education.

“I struggled with figuring out what I wanted to do in life, but one thing I always enjoyed in school was PE,” she said. “Another passion I have is to coach. With some research I found out that you get your coaching degree when becoming a physical education teacher – it’s a win-win.”

Steven Ferguson, Fort Drum Child and Youth Services' Youth Program manager, said that he has no doubt that Staples has the ambition and drive to be successful.

"We are very proud of Madison's accomplishments, and there's no limit to what she can achieve in the future," he said. "Over the years, her involvement with the Youth Center has had a positive impact on those around her, so it's not surprising that her career goal is to teach and coach."