La Crosse area teen is Military Child of the Year semifinalist

For the first time ever a student from the La Crosse area could be named ‘Military Child of the Year.

Sixteen year old Elissa Nott’s father is in the Army, and is currently at Fort McCoy.

Like many military kids, Elissa has moved around a lot. But when she gets to a new place, she jumps right in to get involved in her new community.

That’s one reason she was chosen as a semifinalist for the ‘Military Child of the Year’ award from Operation Homefront. It recognizes young people (ages 8 to 18) for their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, and extracurricular involvement.

“It’s a good way for us to acknowledge our military kids,” says Darcy Clardy, and Operation Homefront Regional Director. “Being a kid is tough. But when you’re a kid in a military family, you have to be resilient, you have to be able to transition, deal with things that other kids don’t have to deal with. This is a way of recognizing those that are showing leadership in their communities, still supporting others even though they may need some support themselves.”

Elissa has moved eight times, and been to five different schools over the years. But she sees every move as a new opportunity “to really get a feel for what it means to be flexible, and kind of work your way around different situations that would normally be difficult,” she says. “Now, I think my social skills have really been strengthened, because I’ve always had to be the one to introduce myself because I’m the new person. It definitely gives you an appreciation for all of our servicemembers. Because if I think this is hard, I can’t even imagine what they have to be going through.”

Elissa says she also sees opportunity in being a semifinalist for this award, “not even [for] myself, but all the semi-finalists, [to show them] that even in hard situations like moving constantly — the norm in military lifestyle — you can come out and do positive things, like be an active member in your community.”

There are a total of 90 semifinalist from all over the country in the running for Operation Homefront’s Military Child of the Year award.  One winner will be chosen from each of six military branches — Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard. 

A panel of judges determines winners.  Judges include senior retired service members, senior spouses, members of Operation Homefront’s board of directors, and other leaders in the military support community.

Winners will be announced at an awards gala on April 14th in Washington, D.C.

Elissa says her dad was thrilled to find out about his daughter being a semifinalist.