Youth 1st

A nonprofit organization

10 donors

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Youth 1st Update - 2022

You support helps us put Youth 1st!

Participating in youth sports can provide great learning experiences if we approach them with the proper perspective.  Perspective is how we see the world, which then determines our conduct, our actions.  We help parents and coaches see the youth sports experience as it was meant to be: an extension of the classroom, a piece of the development process.

On October 20, NFHS Executive Director Karissa Niehoff sent a video message entitled: The ongoing national crisis involving a lack of individuals to officiate high school sports.  Headlines across the country mention rescheduled or cancelled games due to the shortage of officials.  The pandemic heightened a growing problem caused by the abuse of officials.  According to the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), 57 percent of officials say that sportsmanship is getting worse, primarily among competitive youth sports, caused by parents (40%), coaches (30%) and fans (19%).  

We have some work to do!  We can do better!

Early in 2022, Minnesota Softball, Minnesota Youth Athletic Services, Inc. (MYAS) and Youth 1st announced a strategic partnership designed to integrate Youth 1st Environments into leagues, qualifying events and state tournaments offered to community-based youth sports associations.   

“Together, we launched a sportsmanship initiative in 2019, implementing Youth 1st Environments across the state.  The impact of our joint efforts saw a significant decrease in unsportsmanlike behavior from players, coaches, parents and fans during these youth competitions.  In the process, we were able to see how well aligned the mission and goals of our organizations are and felt it was time to formalize our relationship.”, said Mark Arjes, Director of Youth 1st.  “We are very excited to help Minnesota Softball and MYAS fulfill and expand their mission to improve the delivery of youth sports services to young athletes, coaches, parents and officials.”

“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 Youth 1st environment at all our tournaments and events.”

“Youth 1st exemplifies what Minnesota Softball is all about,” said Tom Bye, Director for Minnesota Softball. “The time is right for this partnership which will benefit our entire platform. We need to reward good sportsmanship and reward it through a fine program like Youth 1st.” Bye continued, “We hope this will turn our sport into a positive and fun environment for our kids to excel.”

Thank you for putting your Youth 1st!

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Organization Data


Organization name

Youth 1st

Tax id (EIN)



Education Children & Family Community Sports


OWATONNA, MN 55060-1985



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