By Kierra Pixler, Managing Editor
“She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” Upon opening their congratulations packet, this is what nominees will read to find out that they have been nominated as a Belle of Belton.
Since 1977, the Belles of Belton have been a tremendous asset to BCYC. In 1995, a building campaign began to move the program to its current location. Karen Reddell, a newcomer from Arlington brought the concept of the Belle of Belton from a similar program that was modeled in her town to support the local Boys & Girls Club. Currently, school representatives, ministers, community leaders and previous Belles nominate the Belles.
“This experience provides the girls with many assets,” said Seleese Thompson, who is on the BCYC Board of Directors and owner of Precious Memories Florist. “It provides them with life experience, communication skills, networking opportunities and teaches them financial responsibility.”
The girls spend the summer between their junior and senior year of high school raising money for the youth center. The first groups of Belles consisted of 14 young women who set a precedent for the years to come. The girls will be volunteering at the Center and giving back to the community, all while gaining a sense of what it means to truly help others.
The young ladies that have been involved in this program have not only raised more than $400,000 since their time in the program, but they’ve also volunteered numerous hours to BCYC and given back to the children of the Bell County area.
As a Belle of Belton, there are several events and deadlines that the girls will be asked to complete. They will received “votes” towards their goal of obtaining a scholarship by participation. The candidate that receives the highest number of votes is the top scholarship winner. Awards are as follows:
Top scholarship winner: $1,000 scholarship to the school of her choice.
First Runner-up: $750.00 scholarship to the school of her choice.
Second Runner-up: $500.00 to the school of her choice
Volunteer Award: $100.00 scholarship to the school of her choice.
In addition, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor will give a $1,000 scholarship to each Belle who completes the program and enrolls at UMHB the fall semester after they graduate.
The contest officially begins on June 7 and will run for approximately nine weeks. A committee of the Auxiliary of the Belton Christian Youth Center will review all applications and select this year’s Belle of Belton candidates.
Applications are due by Friday, April 6th to BCYC located at 505 East Ave. C in Belton. You may either hand deliver or mail the application, but it must be received by the deadline.
For more information, please call 254-939-5759.