Dedicated to a better future
A swarm of young kids follows Gavin Begay, an engaging and friendly teenager, as he walks the hallway at the Warm Springs Boys & Girls Club. It’s a hot, summer day. The kids look up to Gavin, and he works hard to earn the respect of his young protégés and elders alike.
Gavin, a recent graduate of Madras High School, has an inner drive and commitment to the tribal members and family of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation that’s hard to hide.
Winner of the Pamplin Media Amazing Kid and Nike/Providence Health and Services Play It Forward awards, Gavin has his eye on a better future for himself and his community. When he’s not riding a bull at regional rodeos or attending Pow Wows on the weekends, he’s hitting the books to become a teacher or volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club.
“Everything I do I think about the future. I want this place to be a better place. If I raise a family here I don’t want them to go through the struggles I had to go through,” Gavin says of his home community in Warm Springs, Oregon.
“My friends tease me saying I’ll be our next Chief. It could happen I guess, but that’s not what I’m shooting for… I just want a better community,” he says.
Having the kind of influence that comes from being Chief or a tribal elder seems like a long way off, but Gavin knows there’s important work to do now while he’s young.
“I need to start here, as a youth, giving back. You have to start when you’re young, when you have that extra influence with the younger kids,” he adds.
Gavin admits that having influence isn’t without its pressure. “I have so many eyes on me. Co-President of the Junior Council, the Tribal Council, elders… They’re all looking at me. I don’t want to let down my community.”
The pressure may be high, but Gavin leans on a little advice from his dad when he’s feeling the nerves.
“I was going to speak to a group of people and was feeling nervous. My dad said to just go in there because you might touch someone’s life. You never know. You may not touch all of them, but you might touch one of them and that’s enough.”
Gavin’s dedication to making this world a better place is admirable. At Coastal, we salute him. Please join us in celebrating the work Gavin is doing in his community and in the region. His influence is touching lives and making a difference. Keep up the good work, Gavin!
About the “Amazing Kids” program
In 2014 Pamplin Media Group created an event that would honor young people who are doing admirable acts in each of their respective communities. These young people were committed to making a difference in the world, proving that there is hope for future generations.
As a result, the Pamplin Media Group has committed each year to host an event to honor young people who are committed to improving their local communities – and the world at large. We call these young people our Amazing Kids.
Suggestions for nominees for Amazing Kids come from parents, educators and a variety of other sources throughout the 25 communities the Pamplin Media Group serves.
The Amazing Kids range in age from elementary school to high school and they come from all types of family backgrounds. What sets them apart, more than anything else, is their consideration for others.
Our Amazing Kids work to ease the suffering in their communities – even though they may be suffering themselves.
Coastal is a proud corporate sponsor of the Amazing Kids event at OMSI in Portland, Oregon. We believe in the power of our youth to bring a positive change to the world and work to support the efforts of those who take time to spotlight these young men and women.