Youth 1st has partnered with the Huskies Bullpen Club, Parks and Recreation, the Walser Foundation and the Twins Community Fund to recognize teams for their outstanding sportsmanship.

Front row (L-R): Peyton Beyer, Abe Stockwell, Tony Villarreal, Blake West, Jacob Meiners, Matt Seykora, Brayden Truelson
Back row (L to R): Mark Arjes (Youth 1st), John Nelson (sponsor Kato Roofing and parent rep), Cade Woltman, Coach Shawn Kunkel, Nick Remker, Anthony Young, Conner Budach, Brian Meiners (Huskies Bullpen Club), Mason Kunkel, Corey Mensink (sponsor US Bank), Dominic Nelson, Coach Tim Truelson. Submitted photo from Youth 1st


The Owatonna Huskies U12AA team won the 'Real Winning Award' after a tournament in which each team voted for a group that exhibited positive conduct and sportsmanship from its players, coaches and fans. Each team that is named a Real Winning Team receives a plaque. Players receive a personal certificate and tickets to a Minnesota Twins game.

In a news release, Mark Arjes of Youth 1st commented, "Too many kids are dropping out of the youth activity process because it is ultra-competitive and not any fun. It has become increasingly difficult to get 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." He went on to say, "It places the emphasis on how you play the game, which is ultimately more important than if you win or lose."

Youth 1st works to connect community, character and conduct through values-based youth development. Youth 1st will be presenting additional Real Winning awards to area teams over the remainder of the summer.

The Huskies Bullpen Club works to create a positive and fun baseball experience for each player. The Walser Foundation provides grants to organizations that strengthen families in the community. Owatonna Parks and Recreation offers many family-centered recreational activities around the year. July is Parks and Recreation month.