Former dancer, community activist, Ridgefield Prevention Council intern, future behavioral neuroscientist. . . the list to describe Ridgefield senior Allie Cauchon goes on and on. Recently awarded Connecticut's Youth of the Year Award by the Boys and Girls Club for leadership and youth advocacy, Cauchon epitomizes a growingly exceptional blend of ambition with compassion.
First joining the Boys and Girls Club in the summer going into her sixth grade, Cauchon said of the experience, "It was very different from staying at home every day, but I really liked it. . . the events like the cardboard boat race and going to town every day, it was special." However, her involvement in the Club didn't really take off until eighth grade when, despite balancing a demanding dance and academic workload, she increased her engagement with the Torch Club at her mother's suggestion.
Soon after, she joined the Boys and Girls Club's Leader In Training (LIT) Program to begin training to be a camp counselor at the same summer camp she had attended years ago. After increasing her involvement with the club, Cauchon said, "After such a good summer, I realized I missed going after school" and transitioned away from dancing to join Keystone Club her sophomore year. Within Keystone, Cauchon sat on the Community Service Committee, getting her first taste of substantive volunteerism. Always striving further, she would become the co-committee chair the following year and Vice President of the Executive Board the year after, organizing events such as the recent community Narcan training.
Still, none of that work guaranteed her selection as Youth of the Year. The rigorous five-month selection process requires applicants to submit multiple essays, a report of their academic grades and involvement in the Boys and Girls Club, take part in interviews conducted by the Board and First Selectman Rudy Marconi, and deliver a speech. Nonetheless, Cauchon's history as a committed role model for Ridgefield's youth allowed her to rise to the top. When I asked her what makes her keep coming back to the Club and giving so much time she responded, "I like the kids. . . it's fun watching the kids grow up, the kids who were five when I started are so much older now and they're becoming part of the Gem Club, [the elementary version of Keystone Club]...it's just really cool"
Next year, Cauchon will attend Northeastern University to study behavioral neuroscience, combining her passion in psychology with her love of working with children.