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Youth Academy honored with 'Extra Mile' award


Secretary of State Kim Wyman stands with Youth Academy staff members Michelle Rauback, Clyde Dean, Chris Tiller, Felicia Vierra and Elaine Lacy.

Youth Academy honored with 'Extra Mile' award

Staff at the Washington Youth Academy were honored recently in Olympia with the Extra Mile Award, given to individual state employees and teams who surpass expectations for exemplary public service.

Because not everyone at the Academy could attend a special ceremony during Public Service Recognition Week, five staff members were chosen to represent the Academy. Attending were Michelle Rauback, Clyde Dean, Chris Tiller, Felicia Vierra and Elaine Lacy.

The Extra Mile Award was designed for Washington state residents and employees to nominate state employees, either individual or groups, who surpass expectations for exemplary public service.

The nomination letter for staff members noted that the Youth Academy staff are “a team of people invest mind, body, and spirit into a simple but noble cause – sustainable change.”

The Extra Mile Award is given to employees who demonstrate innovative techniques and methods, outstanding leadership, visionary thinking, personal valor or bravery, outstanding customer service.

Every six months or so, about 150 teens make the commitment to accept the help staff at WYA offer. 

“Together, the youth and these professionals, begin the journey of overcoming learned habits, poverty, past mistakes and other roadblocks life threw at these young adults,” the nomination letter states. “The weight of this mission, to intervene in and reclaim the potential of these youth, demands staff members find innovative ways to affect change given the budget, resources, and time allotted for the program.”

During the last cycle, 2015-2, a record 152 cadets graduated from the program – the biggest class in the history of the Academy, established in Bremerton in 2009.

“Held to a standard well above most public servants, the staff at WYA must model outstanding leadership even beyond their scheduled shifts because past and current cadets are always watching,” the nomination letter adds. “Commitment to the WYA mission means providing outstanding customer service, not only to cadets, but to their families, the community, and other stakeholders as far reaching as the tax payers whose contributions fund the program.  The WYA team is all-in every day for the purpose of being an instrument in positive change for every cadet they serve, and in doing so, an instrument of change for the future of our state and nation.”