A person’s character is defined by his or her attitudes, attributes and actions. Because these qualities are learned, they also can be taught. And they should be — because good character doesn’t just “happen.”
But, what ethical values do we all share? Which ones are enduring, universal truths? Which ones transcend political, religious, socioeconomic, and cultural differences?
In 1992, Character Counts!, a nationally recognized character development initiative gathered a diverse group of ethicists, educators, and youth leaders at a summit in Aspen, Colo., to answer these questions. The participants unanimously agreed on six shared values that are central to ethical people’s lives, regardless of their differences — The six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.
With the support of Partnership Carson City, the Carson City Recreation Division leadership, Meagan Sorracco, Recreation Program manager, and Jaye Phillips, Youth Program supervisor, will implement Character Counts! at six after school program locations. Each location will select one of the pillars, and develop two weeks of experiences teaching that pillar all six sites can use. Lesson plans developed by the youth include four activities, and two discussions, using the Character Counts! resource materials.
The young program participants will receive the wrist band for that pillar upon completion of the two weeks, with a goal of collecting all six wristbands.
“Carson City is very fortunate to have Meagan and Jaye working with our youth,” said Kathy Bartosz, director of Partnership Carson City. “They have created an opportunity for kids to not only learn about the pillars of good character but to create their own teaching strategies. This speaks to the dedication and creativity typical of the Carson City recreation program staff.”
For more information on Character Counts! and to access materials that can be used with other youth groups, call Kathy Bartosz, 841-4730.