By LESLIE COLLINS
July 25, 2012
Kansas City’s Police Athletic League (PAL) is adding another activity to its long list of offerings: seventh and eighth grade tackle football.
Thanks to a $100,000 grant through the Kansas City Chiefs, National Football League Youth Football Fund and Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the PAL Center, 1801 White Ave., is in the midst of constructing an NFL-sized football field.
Sod was recently laid and PAL is working to install goal posts, a score board, concession stand and bleachers, among other items.
“It means an awful lot to us,” Kansas City Police Department Officer Q. Johnson said of the new field. “We’re able to offer something to the kids that they’ve been asking to have for years now. That is a win-win in and of itself.”
Year-round, PAL offers a host of activities, including a summer reading program and after-school tutoring. In addition to helping students improve academically, PAL offers karate, dance, basketball, soccer, arts and crafts, flag football, boxing, among others.
The goal of PAL is to provide a safe, supervised environment for youth ages eight to 18, Johnson said. Through PAL, youth interact with KCPD officers, forming positive relationships. Activities and programs are designed to “instill values of integrity, responsibility, self-motivation and teamwork,” he said.
With the moniker of PAL Predators, the new tackle football team will practice three days a week for about an hour and 45 minutes. Johnson will serve as the head coach and other volunteers and police officers will provide additional coaching assistance. Players will compete in a minimum of eight games in the North Suburban Youth Football League.
“Everybody who comes out and sticks around will get a chance to play,” Johnson said.
PAL Tackle Football
When: Friday, July 27, 6:00 p.m.
Where: PAL Center, 1801 White Ave.
What: Parents can learn more about the tackle foot ball program and meet with police officers and coaches. Team rules and league information will also be discussed. Paperwork for playing on the team will be collected.