NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — Brittany Goudreau of Lajes Field is Europe’s top teen.

Brittany, 17, will compete in New York City for the Northeast Region’s Youth of the Year on July 17. She will vie for the award and $5,000 in scholarship money against 10 other teenagers.

She recently won youth honors for U.S. Air Forces in Europe before winning the top award for all American bases in the European region. She has already received $3,000 in scholarship money. The Youth of the Year award is based on criteria including community involvement and academic achievement.

Brittany spends a lot of time helping children.

“I just like being a role model for younger kids,” she said. “I like the fact that they say ‘… I look up to you.’”

Most children at Lajes probably know Brittany. She volunteers at the base’s youth center, where she serves as a sports coach.

She has led groups on camping trips around several of the islands.

Brittany, who was the high school’s cheerleading squad captain, also leads a community dance troupe for children ages 7 to 12.

In her spare time, she volunteers at the post office and the medical clinic.

“Anywhere I can help out,” she said. “I don’t care where it is.”

Brittany pursued Youth of the Year honors after Robert Nesbitt, youth center manager, suggested that she go for it.

Her family has been stationed at Lajes for three years.

She graduated from high school this year, a year early.

She plans to major in nursing at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn.

To win the award in New York, Brittany will have to impress judges during a series of interviews. If she does come home with the award, it will help pay for her education.

“All I can say is, I’ll do my best and put forth the most effort I can give,” she said.

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