Minnesota Youth Athletic Services (MYAS) in partnership with Youth 1st, Federated Insurance, Jostens, Pearson, Cashwise, Bennerotte & Associates, Jaguar Communications, The Retrofit Companies, US Bank, Owatonna Motor Company, Profinium and the Minnesota Timberwolves have selected Youth Basketball teams from across the state of MN as the recipients of Youth 1st Team Awards for their outstanding sportsmanship during the 2019 MYAS Grade State Basketball Tournaments.

Congratulations to the Albany 6th Grade White A, Albany 8th Grade White A and Albany 8th Grade Purple B youth basketball teams on being selected for a Youth 1st Team Award!

As the premier youth basketball event in Minnesota, MYAS Grade State is about showcasing the kids and competition, not the negativity of unsportsmanlike behavior of players, coaches, and spectators that tends to creep into youth events. MYAS and Youth 1st are excited to recognize the teams and associations that received exemplary scores from the officials for their sportsmanship and positive conduct during the tournament.

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.”

“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 throughout the great state of Minnesota, 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 during the 2019 Grade State Basketball Tournaments significantly decreased the number of unsportsmanlike events that took place compared to previous years.”

About the MYAS: The Minnesota Youth Athletic Services, Inc. (www.myas.org) 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.

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. Information about this program can be found at trustedcoaches.org or @MYASMinnesota and @trustedcoaches on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


  • 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: (www.youth1st.com) @Youth1stMN on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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 an exemplary score from their officials are recognized as Youth 1st Teams. The mission of Youth 1st is to connect Conduct, Character and Community to youth activity programs. Youth 1st is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Owatonna, MN.  Youth 1st is an official Playball! MN Partner of the MN Twins.