Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Kid! of the Month — July 2014 — Ryan Traynor

Ryan Traynor, 15-year-old literacy activist
By Kasey Dallman, AKOM Writer


Quote of the Month

“I learned that volunteering creates a spark that ignites a flame of community support and enthusiasm.”
-Ryan Traynor, 15-year-old amazing literacy activist

Amazing Kid! of the Month

From incredible writing achievements to leading a life of community service and everything in between, 15-year-old Ryan Traynor has a resume chalked full of awards and accomplishments. He even is Amazing Kids! very own Assistant Editor in Chief. We can’t wait to introduce you to Ryan, inspire you with the successful Youth Literacy Council he created, and show how you too can make a difference!

Ryan Traynor, 15-year-old literacy activist.

Ryan Traynor, 15-year-old literacy activist.

A Way with Words

Holy cow! With 100 stories published so far in five different magazines and two books, Ryan is taking the writing world by storm. Oh, and he is just 15-years-old. To date, he has published stories in Stanford Anthology for Youth 2012 and Stanford Anthology for Youth 2013, is a permanent book reviewer for Stone Soup, has received first place in over a handful of short story contents, and has had short stories published in our very own Amazing Kids! long before he became our current Assistant Editor in Chief. And these are just a few of his writing accomplishments!

Ryan has been writing since kindergarten, but really found his passion for it when he won a contest for the Reading Rainbow Writers and Illustrators. His most memorable writing accomplishment was having one of his stories about a Boy Scout adventure accepted for publication as an interactive book by Rhizone Publishing. It will be used to teach science and engineering to children. “I believe that online interactive books will be the future of publishing, and I am honored that one of my stories was chosen for this innovative way of presenting a book so that children will be compelled to read it and learn from it,” Ryan said.

Do you crave to tell stories too? Ryan has some stellar advice just for you! “Make sure you paint a picture with your words, rather than tell the reader what is happening. Engage your reader’s imagination through the senses.” And don’t forget to submit your stories to different competitions. “You will improve your skills with each effort,” Ryan said.

On my honor…

Even amidst Ryan’s busy writing career, he has immersed himself in the Boy Scouts of America, progressing through the levels quickly. As a member, Ryan has done everything from attending troop meetings to training in personal finance and white water rafting. “Scouting helped me look at things differently, including the way I see the future,” Ryan said. “I know that through training, preparation, and coordination, anything is possible.”

Throughout his years with the Boy Scouts, Ryan has won several awards and has taken key leadership positions, including Chaplain’s Aid, Webmaster, Patrol Leader, Assistant Patrol Leader, and Senior Patrol Leader. Congrats Ryan!

Becoming an Eagle Scout involves progressing through all the Boy Scout ranks, earning 21 merit badges, serving six months in a troop leadership position, giving leadership in a service project, taking part in a scoutmaster conference, and completing an Eagle Scout Board of review.

Becoming an Eagle Scout involves progressing through all the Boy Scout ranks, earning 21 merit badges, serving six months in a troop leadership position, giving leadership in a service project, taking part in a scoutmaster conference, and completing an Eagle Scout Board of review.

After passing his lengthy Eagle Board of Review, Ryan is now an Eagle Scout! Keep reading to see how Ryan combined his love of words, strong passion in volunteering, and his leadership in Boy Scouts to make a difference in his community.

Sparking a love of literature for years to come

Ryan’s no stranger to volunteer work. His earliest memories are getting out in the community with his parents to volunteer. “I realized the even small efforts on our parts were being multiplied into a large generation of funds for the community,” Ryan said. “The joy of helping others catches on and spreads to form a sense of family with those who participate.”

One of Ryan’s volunteer efforts was reading books to preschoolers who lived in disadvantaged parts of town. After seeing the tremendous impact, Ryan was inspired to do more.

Combining his Boy Scout Eagle project with his passion to give back to his community, Ryan set up a Youth Literacy Council. The goal was to have the council provide feedback to community leaders, increase volunteerism, communicate to the youth, and design was to increase reading in the home.

Ryan at a library foundation meeting.

Ryan at a library foundation meeting.

The results of Ryan’s Youth Literacy Council have been more than amazing. According to Ryan, “The Youth Literacy Council has already volunteered many hundreds of hours this year and has met with city leaders, worked with schools to recruit teenage volunteers for literacy programs, collected over 17,000 books and distributed 3,800 books back into the community, supported literacy fundraisers, and made contact with over 2,500 community members about literacy programs.”

Ryan’s book drive was so successful that he has been able to donate 10 or more boxes of books to two different charities a month that encourage literacy. In addition to giving books to these charities, Ryan and his team have also donated books to organizations that support children from abusive homes and disadvantaged families, including STAR VISTA, the Children’s Fund, Police Activity League,, and Woodside Road Fire Victims.

Congrats Ryan for the ongoing success of your Youth Literacy Council!

Congrats Ryan for the ongoing success of your Youth Literacy Council!

Ryan’s incredible work has not gone unnoticed. This year alone he is the recipient of the Everyday Young Hero Award, the Prudential Spirit Community Certificate of recognition, the Red Cross Hero Award, and more. You may have even seen Ryan on the Disney Channel! He was chosen by Disney to be featured in a Disney Friends for Change public service announcement, which is currently running. Keep up the great work Ryan!

What’s next?

Even with a successful Youth Literacy Council up and running (which Ryan is still the President of), Ryan still finds time to execute more volunteer work. Currently this includes setting up a “Jeans for Teens” charity program in his community and running a Kindercard event where kindergartners get their first library card.

Ryan shows us that we don’t have to only let one thing define who we are. We can volunteer. We can have a passion for writing. And, we can be a leader in Boy Scouts. If we set our minds to it, we may even find a way to link all our passions together to make a difference in our community, just as Ryan did with creating the Youth Literacy Council.

So don’t let anything or anyone hold you back. Dive into your interests, take risks, and never stop being that amazing kid we know you are! Someday, you may even see yourself featured right here for all you do to make a difference.