Character Counts!

YMCA Character Development

The Greater Lowell Family YMCA works to instill the character development qualities of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility in all of its programs. Here is a breakdown of each core value and a brief description:

YMCA Values

Caring: to love others, to be sensitive to the well-being of others, to help others.

Honesty: to tell the truth, to act in such a way that you are worthy of trust, to have integrity; making sure your choices match your values.

Respect: to treat others as you would have them treat you; to value the worth of every person, including yourself.

Responsibility: to do what is right, what you should do; to be accountable for your behavior and obligations.




Our Basketball league has a strong commitment to instill character development in our families and the greater Lowell community. We encourage everyone to make decisions based on the four core values. Building on this commitment and making it part of everyday situations is a crucial part of the YMCA's mission to build strong kids, strong families, and strong communities.


MVP -- Not for the weak of character!

The YMCA Basketball League Junior Division has adopted an MVP (Most Values Personified) Award. Each season, one player from each team is selected for this award, based on their demonstration of the four core values- both on and off the court!


News & Announcements

The Director's Depot: The Wilson Spirit Award
January 15, 2006
By Fred Braun, Youth Director

In the 1920s, shortly after the Lowell YMCA was erected downtown, a man named Robert Wilson was on the Lowell YMCA basketball team that won the state championship. Basketball at the Greater Lowell Family YMCA has always been near and dear to Mr. Wilson, and at the age of 94, he passed away; just a few months ago. After he passed away, his brother Charlie made a financial contribution to the YMCA in memory of his brother- so the spirit of Robert Wilson will still live on in the youth of our current program. Charlie Wilson requested that we commemorate his brother by some type of trophy. Since our league has evolved over the last 9 decades and we no longer have championships, I have decided to create the Wilson Spirit Award. Starting in this season, the team (Bitty, Youth, or Junior) that stays most together for the entire 2006 year and demonstrates the YMCA core values (caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility) will have their team name on the cup here at the YMCA for all to see! Let’s see some team spirit…

October 11, 2005
By Chris Boucher,Jr. Div. Sonics Coach, October 2005

When you walk into a gym, one of the first things you notice are the banners on the walls. They tell you something about the brand of basketball that’s played there.

The Boston Celtics are famous for their banners. The Garden has flags marking their 16 championships and 22 of the players and executives who made it happen. The banners reflect the team’s dedication to excellence and achievement.

At the Y, we have our own banners. They reflect our focus too. But our banners aren’t hung in memory of teams or players. There’s nothing to commemorate the Heat, Magic, Sonics, or any other recent tournament winners. Instead, our banners are testament to four important values, taught at home and reinforced in our program – caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.

Of course, we teach these values within the context of a basketball league. But it’s not hard to see how they fit in. Here are a few examples of how they relate to playing basketball:

• Caring – Show up ready to play. Pick your teammates up when they make mistakes.
• Honesty – Play fair. Don’t cheat. If they need it, help referees make the right call.
• Respect – Play with dignity. Don’t trashtalk opponents or whine to referees. Win gracefully. Lose without excuses.
• Responsibility – Give it your best effort. You owe that to your teammates and fans. And remember to keep it in perspective. Basketball is a game. Have fun!

The Celtics’ trophies are proof of their focus. What’s the proof of ours? As always, actions speak louder than words, and it’s up to the adults involved in our league – coaches, referees, and parents – to make sure the values expressed in those four banners remain our focus!
Character Counts at the YMCA
October 10, 2005
By Fred Braun, Youth Director, October 2005

When you first walk into the gymnasium of the Greater Lowell Family YMCA, you will notice four banners hanging from the gym walls. Those banners serve as more than just a decoration. Those are the core values that the YMCA strives to instill on all of its program participants. Here are a few times character development has been seen in the YMCA’s basketball program:

Coach John of the Bucks bought a Starburst candy bar before each basketball game. He then gave the Starburst bar to a player each week for exemplifying the YMCA core values. He called it the “Star of the week.”

Coach Chris of the Sonics gives out “Freddy Awards.” The player that demonstrates the most core values throughout the course of the week gets a laminated award with their name and what values they’ve demonstrated hung on the basketball director’s window for a week for everyone to see.

Coach Arthur of the Grizzlies began our use of the “Captain Award.” Each team member that demonstrated the most core values during the week, wore a “C” on their jersey for the game and lead the team in stretches as the “Captain” for the week. The color of the “C” varies on the value demonstrated.

These are just a few examples of how character counts at the Greater Lowell Family YMCA. Character development is just another way of the YMCA’s commitment to building strong kids, strong families, and strong communities.
How Does Character Development Tie into YMCA Basketball?
October 4, 2005
By Fred Braun, Youth Director, October 2005

Wondering if we can name a few ways that character development is seen in our players on a weekly basis??
- We shake hands after every game
- We listen to our coaches and referees
- We appreciate the skills of other players (everybody brings something to the team!)

- We take responsibility for our actions and decisions
- We show up to practice every week
- We pick up all of our belongings and trash after each game

- We show our support to all players on all teams
- We help our teammates and those around us
- We welcome teammates back when they have been ill or injured

- We are honest with the referee if they don't see a play
- We always try our best
- We are honest to others when we make a mistake (everybody makes mistakes!)