The Rotary Club of Sedona Village held its first Youth Salute Awards Ceremony, Wednesday evening September 22, 2021, at the Sedona Performing Arts Center.

Four local high schools were asked to nominate candidates: Verde Valley, Mingus, Camp Verde & Sedona. The students from the junior class were nominated for their exemplary leadership skills and needed at least a B average.

Forty Students were nominated among the schools. Nominees completed an application and submitted an essay to participate. Rotary Club members and volunteers interviewed each candidate, who were asked to treat the process as a professional interview. The top nine candidates were selected to compete for the Award.

At the Awards evening, moderated by Sara Crosby, the nine candidates were sequestered and one by one called back to answer an impromptu question for two minutes in front of the audience and a panel of judges.

The judges included: Heather Hermen, President of the Rotary Club of Sedona Village (RCSV), Jennette Bill, Past President RCSV, Dr. Tina Redd, Dean of the Verde Valley District, Yavapai College, & Eric Young from Rotary Club of the Verde Valley. The judges then chose four winners after comparing notes and deliberating.

While the judges were deciding the winners, Patrick Schweiss, Artistic Director of the Sedona International Film Festival & Mary D. Fisher Theatre addressed the audience for 15 minutes about leadership and shared his experience.

The four winners are usually awarded an all-expense paid trip to the annual National Council Youth Leadership Conference, “Town Meeting on Tomorrow” at the University of Washington, St. Louis. Because of COVID this year the in-person conference has been cancelled. Instead, the winners are invited to a four-hour Zoom leadership meeting October 21, 2021.

In addition, The Rotary Club of Sedona Village awarded $500 to each finalist. The official name of the program sanctioned by the National Council of Youth Leadership is Rotary Club of Sedona Village Youth Salute. Youth Salute has been implemented in communities across the country.

See for complete details about the program.

(Photo: Three of the four winners with President Heather Hermen. (One of the winners competed remotely)