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Minnesota Youth Athletics Services


MYAS and Youth 1st team up on sportsmanship

(Spring Lake Park, MN) – Youth 1st is partnering with the Minnesota Youth Athletic Services, Inc. (MYAS) to implement a Conduct 1st Environment during the MYAS Grade State Basketball Championships in March. Dan Klinkhammer, MYAS Executive Director, recently addressed a meeting of Travel Directors, telling them that the frequency and severity of unsportsmanlike conduct has reached the “epidemic stage” and is having a major effect on the dwindling pool of basketball referees. Incidents of unsportsmanlike conduct at youth sporting events continue to increase across the country. The result is a declining pool of officials, making it difficult to cover game schedules in all sports.

Youth 1st has successfully impacted conduct during youth tournaments across Minnesota by reminding the adults about the purpose of youth athletics. 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.”

About the MYAS: The Minnesota Youth Athletic Services, Inc. ( was organized in 1991 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the delivery of youth sports services to young athletes, coaches, and parents. The MYAS is Minnesota's largest multi-sport organization focused solely on youth athletics with more than 150,000 kids participating in our programs each year. The MYAS is a central clearinghouse for youth sports, serving as an information channel linking hundreds of youth associations, coaches, and thousands of parents. For more information, visit @MYASMinnesota on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

In 2015, the MYAS launched Trusted Coaches, a nationwide platform training coaches to maximize the probability that positive things will happen to young athletes. This is accomplished by: 1) screening coaches through a nationally accredited nationwide criminal background check; 2) giving coaches the tools to be effective; and 3) creating an online National Coaches’ Registry that parents and associations can access. Additionally, Trusted Coaches has created a cutting-edge education program to foster compliance with the new Safe Sport Authorization Act. More information about this program can be found at or @trustedcoaches on social media.


  • To promote sportsmanship, teamwork and cultural interaction through sporting competition
  • To provide the highest quality athletic programs for Minnesota's young people
  • To link regional volunteer youth sports programs with others statewide

The MYAS believes that participation in athletics is one of the healthiest and most cost-effective options for helping young people make good choices about life's many decisions. Youth athletics, with its significant volunteer base, taps into the best that American culture has to offer. When conducted properly, athletics help young people:

  • set goals that are worthy of their time, energy and focus.
  • achieve a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem and learn valuable leadership skills.
  • establish personal standards of excellence.
  • unite in group goals and common commitment.
  • build skills in empathy, humility, generosity and compassion.
  • learn life lessons both on and off the field of play.

About Youth 1st: (

The Youth 1st Team Award was created by working with officials and tournament directors. The officials provide a team selection vote after each game during the tournament based on the conduct and sportsmanship exhibited by coaches, players, and fans. Teams with a high positive selection to game ratio are recognized as Youth 1st Teams. Teams are presented with a plaque and certificates PLUS tickets for all players and coaches to attend and be recognized at a Youth 1st partner experience such as a MN Twins or MN Timberwolves game. The mission of Youth 1st is to connect Conduct, Character and Community to youth activity programs. Youth 1st is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Owatonna, MN. Youth 1st is an official Play Ball! Minnesota partner. For more information, visit @Youth1stMN on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Story Information

The 2020 MYAS Sportsmanship Initiative will emphasize sportsmanship, fan behavior and retention of officials. As a leader in youth sports throughout the great state of Minnesota, we want to be proactive and impact participants (youth athletes, parents, and officials) in a positive way.

This initiative will be implemented at the 2020 Grade State Basketball Championships in March.  In 2019, 1,500 teams from 144 Minnesota youth basketball associations participated in the Grade State Championship, This event has become one of the largest youth basketball tournaments in the country and presents an amazing opportunity to change the culture of youth sports. 


Youth 1st:  Connecting Conduct, Character and Community through Values-Based Youth Development. - 612.968.9192 -

MYAS:  Dedicated to improving the delivery of youth sports services to young athletes, coaches, parents and youth sports spectators. - 763-781-2220 -




Youth Sports Done Right