Governor will honor outstanding youth volunteers at April 25 ceremony

April 11, 2013

Nineteen young and dedicated individuals and groups will be honored by Gov. Jack Markell at the Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards Thursday, April 25, at Dover Downs Hotel.

More than 300 people are expected to join the governor in honoring the young volunteers for their outstanding service to Delaware’s communities.

The event will begin with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and the ceremony starting at 7. Tickets are $25 per person and are available at or by emailing

“Each day, I see the dedication, commitment and passion that young people have for giving back in our state,” Markell said. “The Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards is an opportunity to recognize a few of those young people for their inspiring service."

Individual honorees from Sussex County are Samanth Cotten and Samantha Franklin. Cotten, a junior member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 28, has volunteered for dinners and flu shot clinics, visited veterans and donated many hours to her favorite cause, the Poppy Program. Cotton was named Little Miss Poppy and presented at the national convention.

Franklin will be recognized for her volunteerism through Sussex County Habitat for Humanity.   Starting as a summer intern,  Franklin worked as front office volunteer, represented Habitat in its outreach events, and provided office and build site support. She plans to return to Habitat this summer.

Boy Scout Pack 182 and Junior Volunteer Corps of Camp Colwell will be honored as Sussex County youth volunteer groups. Pack 182 logged more than 10,500 hours in 2012 in food drives, park cleaning and restoration, and made handprints for Sandy Hook victims, among many other activities.

The Junior Volunteer Corps is the youth component of Camp Colwell, a weeklong camp for Delaware National Guard family members age 9 to 16. All JVC members have a military connection. They volunteer their time working with current campers, helping younger buddies prepare for deployment and other issues that go with having a parent in the Guard.

The Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, the Division of State Service Centers, the State Office of Volunteerism, Serve Delaware and the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.

DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf, whose department oversees the State Office of Volunteerism, said the honorees are indicative of a growing ethic among young people to give back.

“These outstanding young people understand and embrace the value of service and community,” Landgraf said. “They are a powerful example to other young people - and to adults as well - that helping others binds us together and enhances our very sense of community."

In a nationwide survey, the Corporation for National and Community Service ranked Delaware No. 1 for the greatest percentage increase in volunteering from 2010 to 2011 - up 5.3 percentage points - to 26.6 percent. Delaware’s volunteer rate for teens is almost 20 percent.

Nominees 18 and younger who were enrolled in an elementary, middle, high school or home school at the time of their service were eligible for the Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Awards. Volunteer efforts must have been performed during 2012.