The year is the 19th Annual Teen Character Awards which celebrates the hard work and commitment of teens in our communities who make a lasting impact on others.

The YMCA Teen Character awards started in 2003 honoring twenty-teens. Since then over four hundred and fifty teens have been honored with this award. The opportunity to share their stories and impact is unlike any other. 

These award winners are living examples of strong moral character, leadership, and service dedicated to strengthening families, schools, and communities. Each one of these teens is a testament to the character traits of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. In a time when our communities are faced with immense challenges, it is vital that we reach out to each other and share these amazing stories.

We demonstrate character in action and applaud all of our winners for their accomplishments. We encourage them to continue to lead their lives with the positive character values they’ve displayed. Through their actions, we are reminded that even when no one is watching each of us can make a difference. That one person’s actions are contagious and can inspire a family, a school, a community.


CARING is evidenced by helping and loving others.

HONESTY is evidenced by truthfulness and integrity.

RESPECT is evidenced by valuing the worth of others and self.

RESPONSIBILITY is evidenced by accountability to others and self.

Teen Character Committee

  • Abbie Cline – YMCA School Age Childcare Director
  • Stephanie Dahlquist – YMCA Asoociate Executive Director
  • Grace Heck – 2018 Teen Character Award Winner (Rhinelander HS)
  • Toni Jaskowiak – YMCA Chief Financial Officer
  • Paul Johnson – Rhinelander Central Elementary School Principal
  • Colton Mellinger – Headwaters Christian Youth
  • Bradley Shepherd – 2020 Teen Character Award Winner (Crandon HS)
  • Justin Szews – Lakeland Union High School Principal
  • Matt Steingraber

If you are interested in getting involved with the YMCA Teen Character Awards please email