YMCA of Snohomish County
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We all know that referees play a vital role in every sport, ensuring fair play and fostering a positive environment for players, coaches, and fans. Unfortunately, instances of disrespect and even abuse towards referees are becoming increasingly common, especially for young officials under the age of 18.


To address this issue head-on, the YMCA of Snohomish County is proud to implement the "Green Whistle" program, inspired by a successful initiative from Basketball Victoria. This program uses a green whistle as a simple identifier for young referees, reminding everyone involved in our sports community to prioritize respect and appreciation for all officials, regardless of their age. So “If their whistle is green, they are under 18!”


Why do young referees deserve special consideration?

  • They are teenagers learning the ropes, facing significant pressure and responsibility.
  • Disrespectful behavior can discourage them from continuing, jeopardizing the future of officiating in our sports.
  • We rely heavily on young refs at the community level, and we owe them a safe and encouraging environment.


How can we contribute to a positive change?

  • Show appreciation: Acknowledge and thank referees, especially green whistle wearers, for their dedication and effort. Every positive message goes a long way.
  • Lead by example: Cheer for good sportsmanship on both sides, setting a positive tone for players, families, and fellow spectators.
  • Focus on the game: Keep the emphasis on teamwork, fair play, and personal development, rather than fixating on calls or criticizing officials.
  • Respect for all: Promote respectful behavior towards referees, coaches, players, and everyone involved in creating a joyful sporting experience.


Remember, when you see a green whistle, it's an opportunity to reflect on your own role in building a better game. Together, we can create a supportive environment where young referees feel valued and encouraged, fostering a spirit of respect and fair play that benefits everyone at the YMCA.


Thank you for your commitment to building a better sporting experience for all!