Local Youth of the Year scholars go on 1st foreign trip to China

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It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some extraordinary young people: 22 Los Angeles County Youth of the Year nominees are headed on a 10-day trip to China. (KABC)

It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some extraordinary young people: 22 Los Angeles County Youth of the Year nominees are headed on a 10-day trip to China.

Margo Akopov is taking off on her first ever foreign trip. She's one of 22 nominees.

"If I could describe the Boys and Girls Club in one word, its opportunity," she said.

ABC7's own Elex Michaelson has mentored the kids for months and has hosted the local Youth of the Year awards for the past five years. Never has there ever been a trip like this before.

"This is groundbreaking. No one has ever done this with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America across the country," said Mary Hewitt, executive director of the L.A. County Alliance for Boys and Girls Clubs.

Xiamen Airlines is providing free tickets for all the kids on its inaugural Los Angeles International Airport flight to Xiamen.

They'll visit Shanghai Disney, plus businesses and universities in three cities.

Some of the kids have never been on a plane before, and many of their parents were there to see them off.

"I'm feeling happy for him because this opportunity is once-in-a-lifetime, and nervous because he's my baby boy and he's going to be far away," said Maria Henriquez of Boyle Heights.

The Youth of the Year said they're ready to learn.

"One thing this trip is giving us that you can't get anywhere else is perspective. And I think, especially in today's society, perspective is such an important thing," said Akopov.

ABC7 and its parent company, The Walt Disney Company, are proud sponsors of the program.

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