Good morning! I’m so glad to be here today to help celebrate the 10th annual Youth Leadership Day in Arizona. And there really is a lot to celebrate on this milestone anniversary. The turnout alone is impressive – 600 students, from over 50 youth groups and high schools all across Arizona – rallying together to make their communities, our state and this country a better place to live.
As governor, and also as a father to three sons, I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to see this many young people getting involved – donating their weekends, free time, talent and energy to helping others. My wife Angela and I have always instilled in our kids the value of hard work, leadership and “service before self.”
But I was a teenager once – believe it or not – so I know, at that age, people are much more apt to listen to their friends than their parents. It’s a relief to know that there are so many excellent young role models – in this auditorium and across Arizona – setting a good example for your peers, and our future leaders.
I ran for office to make a difference – and contribute to a stronger, safer and moreprosperous state for all. But we couldn’t do our job as elected officials without the support, help and constant inspiration we see every day in our communities from the outstanding young public servants here today.
And I want to take a moment to specifically recognize the Governor’s Youth Commission, hosting this event today, for another year of incredible service. Each of these 51 members – led by President Samantha Corrales and Vice President Brylan Grimm, and spanning all 15 counties – epitomizes good citizenship and represents the very best of Arizona.
I’m not exaggerating when I say, they’re the best in the world. Because for the second year in a row, Arizona was ranked NUMBER ONE in the WORLD for youth-led service projects. With more than 46 thousand service hours logged and 107 projects completed for Youth Service Day this year, Arizona’s young leaders shined. You should all be extremely proud of yourselves – being first in the world is a badge of honor in itself.
But more importantly, you’re setting the bar for your fellow Arizonans to reach next year – and you’re motivating kids across the nation to keep up the pace and work harder in their communities. And the issues you’re out there tackling – are so important, so prevalent, and often, so urgent. Substance abuse; bullying; distracted driving; teen dating violence; and one of my top policy issues – civics education.
These are issues we’re working on at a state level, as well. You may already know that the very first bill we passed in this administration was the American Civics Act – making Arizona the first state in the country to adopt such a law. Substance abuse and domestic violence are among our most pressing priorities. And I must commend our Office of Youth, Faith and Family – especially Debbie Moak – for their passionate work in these areas.
Because as we all know, these are difficult issues – and not everyone wants to talk about them. But that’s why we must. If not now, when? And if not us, who? So, thank you. I am constantly impressed by the work of our Youth Commission – and of the awesome Arizonans in this room and throughout our state – taking time to make it a better place. Just know that with every service hour you log, and with every project you lead – you’ve made someone’s life just a little bit brighter. And you’ve made Arizona just a little bit stronger.
So keep up the excellent work. Keep outdoing yourselves, keep raising the bar and keep motivating others to do the same. You guys are the future leaders of this place – and based on what I’ve seen, I think we’re going to be in good hands.
Congratulations on all your accomplishments, and on the many yet to come. Thank you!