Minnesota Youth Athletics Services

Youth 1st


Minnesota Youth Athletic Services and Youth 1st formed a strategic partnership in 2019, launching a sportsmanship initiative during the Grade State Basketball Championships and the Gopher State Baseball Tournament of Champions.  We recognized players, coaches and parents from community associations throughout Minnesota, for their positive conduct and good sportsmanship during the MYAS premier tournaments.  We need your help to continue this momentum, bringing a Conduct 1st Environment to gyms and fields near you!  

Why are you being made aware of it as a community association? According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, only 2 of every 10 officials return for their third year of officiating, creating a referee drain that has schools struggling to cover games and administrators trying to find ways to keep officials on the job.



The Youth 1st Team Award recognizes positive behavior from players, coaches and everyone associated with the team (parents, fans and spectators).  “We are placing the emphasis on how you play the game, which is ultimately more important than if you win or lose.” said Mark Arjes, Founder/Director of Youth 1st.  “It has become increasingly difficult to find and retain coaches and officials for youth sports because of the abuse that they take during games.  We believe it is time to model and encourage values-based actions, creating what we call a Conduct 1st environment where the focus is on the kids, competitive energies are kept in check and officials and opponents are respected.”

“The Minnesota Twins and Twins Community Fund are proud to partner on the Youth 1st Team Awards. Baseball and softball play a key role in the development of young people when the focus is on teaching life skills, developing values, and building character,” said Dave St. Peter, President and CEO of the Minnesota Twins. “We are thrilled that the Youth 1st Team Awards program recognizes players, coaches, and parents who model and encourage good sportsmanship and positive conduct in Twins Territory.”

"Recognizing young baseball and softball players for their character is an initiative that's easy to get behind," said Derek Sharrer, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the St. Paul Saints.  "We're incredibly excited to be partnering with Youth 1st on the Team Awards program for youth sports teams, coaches, and parents who exemplify good sportsmanship and positive behavior." 

“One of the goals within the MYAS mission is to promote sportsmanship, teamwork and cultural interaction through sporting competition.” said Dawson Blanck, MYAS Executive Director. “The entire MYAS team is thrilled to be able to partner with Youth 1st to help us meet those goals within our programs.  As a leader in youth sports, we want to be proactive and impact participants (youth athletes, coaches, parents, and officials) in a positive way through a Conduct 1st environment at all our tournaments and events. Implementing this initiative with Youth 1st has significantly decreased the instances of unsportsmanlike behavior compared to previous years.”

Put your Youth 1st!  Join us and other communities by hosting a Conduct 1st Environment in your home tournaments, utilizing the Youth 1st Team Awards program to recognize positive conduct and good sportsmanship from players, coaches, and parents.  The process is a simple – yet significant way to focus on sportsmanship, reduce conflict and increase team and official retention. 

Youth Sports Done Right