PHOTOS: Outstanding Kids, Adults Honored at Emotional Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich Awards Night

The 2017 Francis X. McGinty Youth of the Year winner Nico Venegas. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

On Thursday the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich held its 49th annual awards night.

Highlights of the night included remarks from Ryan Accurso about Nico Venegas, recipient of the the 2017 Francis X McGinty Youth of the Year award. Nico, who was selected from among 8 outstanding finalists, joined the club at the age of 6. His family moved to Stamford from Greenwich after Nico finished 5th grade. “He tried the Club in Stamford, but it wasn’t quite the same,” Accurso said of Nico.

To get back to the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich Nico would walk three blocks to the train station during middle school and, in high school, he walked 26 blocks to get to the train.

According to Accurso, Nico wants to give the younger Club kids the same opportunities that he had. In the fall he will head to Temple University to study computer sciences.

“This organization has helped me overcome all sorts of obstacles including the dreaded college process,” Nico said. “Thank you for molding me into an adult. Thanks to Keystone and Ryan Accurso and my family.”

The event sponsor was NEBCO Insurance Services. In attendance from NEBCO were Maryann Smith a VP for the organization, Glenn Sutton and Jennifer Confalone.

“This is our favorite event,” Smith said. “It doesn’t take any effort to get people at NEBCO to sign up to help at Club events.”

Of NEBCO’s support for the Club, board chair George Fox said it is a classic example of the corporate community coming together for a Club like this.”

Don Palmer and Bobby Walker Jr with Nico Venegas, the 2017 Francis X. McGinty Youth of the Year winner. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Another highlight of the evening was when the CT General Assembly sent a proclamation congratulating Don Palmer, Director of Programs on 25 years of service to the Club. The proclamation acknowledged Palmer’s dedicated and devoted service to the Boys & Girls Club.

“You have been instrumental in helping kids reach their full potential through honesty and sportsmanship. Your selfless acts of kindness and constant support are only out measured by the immeasurable size of your caring and most generous heart,” Bocchino said, reading aloud the proclamation.

Palmer said when he was younger he was involved in the Shelton/Derby Boys & Girls Club.

“I was struggling a little bit. I had flunked out of college. Somebody said, I can help you. You should go play basketball and go back to college, and he helped me,” Palmer recalled. “The whole time I was at Eastern, the Club made sure I had a scholarship. I had a summer job and a job at Christmas when I came home. My junior year of college I knew I’d work at a Club. I applied to all the clubs in the state and only heard back from New Britain. And that was a rejection letter.”

Later, Palmer said he learned of an opportunity for the job of Aquatics Director at the Greenwich Boys & Girls Club. He told his wife who was at the time his girlfriend that he failed the interview, but was elated when he was hired. That was 25 years ago.

In acknowledgement of Don Palmer’s 25 years at the Boys & Girls Club, State Rep Mike Bocchino read a proclamation on behalf of the Greenwich Delegation which includes State Rep Fred Camillo, State Senator Scott Frantz, and State Rep Livvy Floren. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

 

The Boys & Girls Club honor guard led by Leroy Obaanda. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Camryn Ferrara

Boys & Girls club Athletic Coordinator Camryn Ferrara and friends at the 49th annual awards night. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Alba, Ricardo, Diana and Nico Venegas

Alba, Ricardo, Diana and Nico Venegas at the 49th annual awards night at the Boys & Girls Club, April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Brendon Garnett and Kiersten Gennarelli

Brendon Garnett and Kiersten Gennarelli at the 49th annual awards night at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Takeia McAliste and Madeline Leung

Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich’s Takeia McAliste and Madeline Leung. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

 

Fred Camillo

State Rep (R-151) Fred Camillo enjoying the 49th annual awards night at the Boys & Girls Club. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Brendon Garnett, Camryn Ferrara and Mike Gerald

Brendon Garnett, Camryn Ferrara and Mike Gerald at the 49th annual awards night at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

John Toner, Nancy Better

Greenwich Selectman John Toner and Nancy Better. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Deelia Wadsworth

Deelia Wadsworth and daughter Dana. In 1991, Deelia became the club’s first female youth of the year. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

The Clubhouse Camp Award went to Tanner Rooney. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

The Clubhouse Camp Award went to Tanner Rooney. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Tanner Rooney

With Clubhouse Camp Award winner Tanner Rooney were Fred Camillo, Mike Bocchino, Bobby Walker and sponsor Glenn Sutton from NEBCO (New England Brokerage Corporation). April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Ashley Culver presented Sabina Csak with the James R Natale Swimmer of the Year. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

The Junior Swimmer of the Year award went to Gavyn Gennarelli. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Fransheska Rojas

The Junior Girl Athlete of the Year award went to Fransheska Rojas. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Donte Adams

Donte Adams received the Project Learn Award. The award goes to a member who strives for academic success. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Brendon Garnett presented Donte Adams with the Project Learn Award. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Hannah Ross

Hannah Ross received the Camp Simmons award, April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Police Chief Jim Heavey presented Don Palmer with a certificate of appreciation from the Greenwich Police Dept. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

 Elaine LaPolice

The Knuckles for Life Award went to Elaine LaPolice. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

The Jackie Joyner Kersee Award for a volunteer who has improved, expanded or promoted athletics for girls in the Boys & Girls Club went to Kerry Gavin. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Community Award (Stephon Garnett)

The Club’s education/tech coordinator Brendon Garnet presented the Community Award to his brother Stephon Garnett. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Junior Boy Athlete of the Year (Nick Seabra)

With Junior Boy Athlete of the Year Nick Seabra were Fred Camillo, Mike Bocchino, Bobby Walker, Glenn Sutton from NEBCO and Mike Gerald. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

With Sabina Csak, winner of the James R Natale Swimmer of the Year award were Ashley Culver, Fred Camillo, Mike Bocchino, Bobby Walker and NEBCO’s Glenn Sutton. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Midget member of the year Alex Flook. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Kathy Castellanos received the Athlete of the Year award. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Kathy Castellanos

Kathy Castellanos was presented the Athlete of the Year award from Mike Gerald. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Greenwich High School Honors Program

The Lillian Butler Davey Education Volunteer Award was presented to Shannon Presta and Greenwich High School. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Lily Bartels

Rocco Natale presented the Theatre Arts Award to Lily Bartels. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Joanna Schulman with Sophia Daoud

Center: Joanna Schulman with Sophia Daoud who received the Joanna Schulman teen community service award. Pictured with Fred Camillo, Ryan Accurso, Mike Bocchino, Bobby Walker and Glenn Sutton of NEBCO. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager

Stephanie Quadros Carvallo

The Fine Arts award was presented by Michael Manning to Stephanie Quadros Carvallo. April 6, 2017 Photo: Leslie Yager


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Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
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