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Character Counts in pursuing victory

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Players compete at last year’s Hike and Spike It. (David Rocha Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

A lot of schools have heard of Character Counts! Many schools and colleges participate in the character building program that helps children develop as they grow into adulthood. With coaches and teachers stressing character, what does it look like? Many folks wonder. A character can be simply boiled down to doing the right thing because it’s right and then doing it right.

The current executive director of Character Counts is Tim Fuller. Fuller knows about exhibiting character in the face of obstacles. Fuller was fired as head football coach of Dexter in 2009 after a rebuilding year in 2009. Fuller could have bad mouthed the administration at Dexter and the athletic director; instead, he took the high road.

Two years later, after Cla Avery stepped down as executive director, Avery asked Fuller to replace him. After talking to the board, Fuller accepted the job and has carried on Character Counts without missing a beat.

“Having good character isn’t born into you,” Fuller said. “We as adults have to step up and teach these kids. The elementary schools and the schools in the valley and all of Chaves County are doing a great job. Overall, the schools have stayed involved in Character Counts.”

Character Counts goes from kindergarten through college. In the fall, they plan to honor policemen, firefighters and volunteer firefighters. Their goal is to honor a boy and girl from every school in the valley and in Chaves County.

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“We honor athletes for their character,” Fuller said. “We’re looking to honor coaches as well. In the past, we used to do that. I would like to try and honor a male and female coach from each school.”

Mission Statement

Character Counts! At least it should. Individuals are not born with great character. Rather, it is learned through direct teaching from those around us and by observing, especially adults. Character Counts is not a command or a religious philosophy. Instead, Character Counts is a concept that is a national movement. It is an idea that, basically, says that it is time for people to start talking again about good and bad, right and wrong.

It’s time to encourage ethics among adults and businesses; time to recognize and reward individuals whose lives are examples of good character and ethical behavior. Now is the time to begin again to teach our children the value of good character.

Financial Status

Character Counts! in Chaves County is a non-profit corporation organized to provide a framework for character education in the county. A dedicated and active board of 20 individuals from a wide range of backgrounds continues to meet to oversee our various activities. Their hard work and sacrifice impact our region daily. Working with businesses, local city governments, and all of the schools in our county, character education, and the Character Counts! Programs have been put in place to establish and encourage those values which are recognized by all- Six Pillars of Character. Funding Character Counts! In Chaves County has become critical. We continue to actively and aggressively pursue alternate sources of funding. We have reached a point where if we do not procure substantial finances, our organization and its programs will cease to exist. In jeopardy are several outstanding ongoing partnerships and programs that benefit not only our young people but adult as well.

Programs

Annual Character Recognition Banquets, National Character Counts! Week celebrations, Athlete Recognition Program, Roswell Zoo Character Counts! Signage, the “Pursuing Victory With Honor” Youth Character Awards, Honoring the Badge: Building and Upholding the Public Trust and Honor the Volunteers programs all contribute to illuminated future of Chaves County.

History

The Character Counts movement began in 1992 when educators, youth leaders, ethics scholars and other concerned individuals met in Aspen, Colorado to discuss the declining national standards of moral and ethical behaviors. The result of the gathering is the “Aspen Declaration”, a document which outlines the six elements that are believed to lie at the core of all societies. These elements are referred to as:

The Six Pillars of Character Trustworthiness

Be honest, don’t deceive, cheat, or steal. Be reliable- do what you say you’ll do. Have the courage to do the right thing. Build a good reputation, be loyal, stand by your family friends and country.

Respect

Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule. Be tolerant and accepting of differences. Use good manners, not bad language. Be considerate of the feelings of others. Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone. Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements.

Responsibility

Do what you say you’re going to do. Plan ahead, persevere and keep on trying. Always do your best. Use self-control, be self-disciplined. Think before you act— consider the consequences, be accountable for your words, actions, and attitudes. Set a good example for others.

Fairness

Play by the rules, take turns. Be open-minded, listen to others. Don’t take advantage of others. Don’t blame others carelessly. Treat all people fairly.

Caring

Be kind, be compassionate and show you care. Express gratitude, forgive others and help people in need.

Citizenship

Do your share to make school and community better. Cooperate, get involved in community affairs. Stay informed, vote. Be a good neighbor, obey the laws and rules. Respect authority. Protect the environment and volunteer.

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