Story last updated at 7:52 AM on Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Five nominated for Spirit of Youth awards


Sometimes the bad kids get all the press the minor consuming alcohol citations, the stories of out-of-control teen parties with drugs and booze or the youth-caused vandalism marring public buildings.

Angela Edge wants to correct that bad impression of lower Kenai Peninsula youth.

"There's so many young people out there doing good things in the community," she said. "The good outnumber the bad by far."

Edge has reason to be proud: her daughter, Joleen Bannon, 16, is one of five Kachemak Bay area children and young adults nominated for this year's Spirit of Youth awards. Bannon was nominated in the Lifesaver and Prevention and Service to Young Children categories for comforting the victim of a grizzly bear attack and for working to educate others about the neglect and mistreatment of animals. Other nominees are:

* Hooray Cartoon Sun Production Company, Jhnie Triplett, Tracy Handrich and Collin MacArthur, Service to Community, for organizing rock concerts to benefit local charities;

* Emmet Meyer, Science and the Environment and Service to Community, for raising money to support endangered orangutans in Borneo;

* Katie Bauer, Service to Young Children, for starting Ribbons of Life, a support group for children with parents who have cancer; and

* Tim O'Leary, Lifesaver and Prevention, Service to Peers, for his work with the Seldovia Fire and Emergency Medical Service.

Spirit of Youth is a statewide organization creating, promoting and recognizing youth involvement in communities across Alaska. Its annual awards program honors youth in 12 categories. The awards in each category will be announced at Spirit of Youth's annual banquet March 29 at the Egan Center, Anchorage.

Bannon received her Lifesaver and Prevention nomination for her role in helping Tom Patmore of Clam Gulch after she and her mom saved him from a grizzly bear attack. They had come across Patmore last June near his home after driving on the Sterling Highway and seeing a sow and two cubs in the area. Edge pulled down a side street and saw the sow attacking Patmore. She honked her horn and pulled up to the bear, driving it away. Patmore got in their car and they went to his nearby home and got inside.

Patmore had been bitten on his arms and was bleeding from his right wrist. While her mom called 911, Bannon helped treat Patmore by applying pressure to his wounds and keeping him calm.

Hooray Cartoon Sun came about after Triplett, Handrich and MacArthur decided to hold rock concerts. Handrich and MacArthur play in Token Counter Slug.

"I really wanted to start doing concerts for the community," Triplett said. "Everyone complains about how lame Homer is."

With the help of other bands, Hooray Cartoon Sun put on a series of concerts. By charging $5 admission, they raised $10,000 to benefit organizations like the Blue Mountain Project, Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic and South Peninsula Haven House.

"There are so many volunteers that have helped so much," Triplett said.

Meyer, a shy home schooled boy of 13 who said he didn't like all the attention he's received for his Spirit of Youth nomination, was nominated for raising money to help orphaned baby orangutans. In researching orangutans, he found out about the Orangutan Foundation International and how poachers kill adult orangutans to steal the babies for pets. When the Indonesian government catches poachers, it confiscates the baby orangutans. OFI raises the babies to adulthood and returns them to the wild.

eyer came up with the idea of selling "monkey chow," a trail mix, and raised $80.

O'Leary, 18, has been with the Seldovia Fire and EMS for a year-and-a-half and was inspired to join because of his parents, longtime fire and EMS volunteers in Wasilla and Seldovia.

"It felt weird not to be able to help at an emergency the few times I saw it happen," O'Leary said.

He got his emergency medical technician 1 certification in September and had been an emergency trauma technician before that. A senior at Susan B. English School, he also volunteers in Power Hour, an after-school tutoring program with the Boys and Girls Club in Seldovia, where he helps other students with homework.

"The only way I can do the volunteer work I do is my family supports me 100 percent," O'Leary said.

Bauer was nominated by Tina Seaton, service unit manager for Kachemak Bay Girl Scouts. Bauer was working on her Girl Scout Gold Award the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive and needed to do a community work project.

The Seldovia Village Tribe Health Clinic asked her mother, P.J. Bauer, to run a support group for children whose parents were getting cancer treatment. A cancer patient, Kelly Radeke, who died Sept. 2, wanted a place for her children to talk about what they were going through. Katie Bauer said she would take that on if her mom would be the adult sponsor.

"it just sounded like a wonderful project, to make those kids feel like they're not the only ones," Seaton said. "They don't have to be petrified by this horrible thing that's happening in their family."

Katie Bauer held a charter meeting and asked the group of about a dozen children how they wanted to run the group.

"I said, 'This group is for you guys. What do you want to do?'" Bauer said.

The group came with the name "Ribbons for Life," for the different colored ribbons used to note various kinds of cancer. The Ribbons for Life children decided they were taken care of, and what they wanted to do was help other children. They wrote letters and made cards for the cancer wards at Providence Alaska Medical Center and the Alaska Native Medical Center. With donations of fleece from NOMAR, they made crazy hats for young cancer patients. They held a fund-raiser and raised $700 for St. Jude's Hospital.

"They (Ribbons of Life) felt like they couldn't do anything for their own parents, but they could do something to help make somebody else's life brighter," Bauer said.

"Kids like Katie give me hope the world will actually be a better place," Seaton said.

For more information, visit Spirit of Youth's Web site at Some of the Spirit of Youth stories are available at a link on the Web page at

Michael Armstrong can be reached at