One of the best run and most successful programs in the State of California was the host for a visit by the California Police Activities League and it’s Executive Director Gregg Wilson this week. After a lunch with the active PAL’s from Imperial County, Gregg Wilson and his staff met with Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and District 1 – Calexico Representative Louis Fuentes at the PAL office in Calexico.
“We are impressed with the amount of commitment and dedication shown by the Board of Directors and the Athletic Director Carmen Estrada…”said Gregg Wilson. “The success is very tangible, the trophies on the wall are impressive, we want to take some back to our headquarters there are so many.”
Carmen Estrada commented “This program had only 68 kids in 2004 when I took over as Athletic Director and now has over 2,800 kids in Calexico.” (It should be noted that this is an completely voluntary unpaid position.) “I cannot express the gratitude that we feel towards Chief Neujahr. He has been a great supporter of PAL and I know this dear to him.”
Starting in 1991, California PAL expanded its mission to engage youth by bringing together youth teams from local member PAL’s throughout the state. California PAL continues to serve youth from many backgrounds and locations throughout the state.
Chairman Fuentes has been a supporter of the Police Activities League in Calexico since 2006 his first year elected. “It is important to have an avenue for our youth to play sports, exercise and stay out of trouble. The work that Mrs. Estrada and the Parents on the Board engage in is so important and admirable. They have done wonders with very little financial support.”
Gregg Wilson shared with PAL representatives and parents some suggestions for working with the City of Calexico to enhance it’s cooperation. The program has been in danger of closing in recent weeks due to the staff person acting as the liaison between the Calexico Police Department being reassigned to other duties. The city’s budget constraints and staff limitations have left no room for traditional support.
“I think we have an opportunity to think outside traditional ways the City of Calexico has supported this large group of parents and young citizens. The Council and Administration need to be brought into this discussion so that the kids are not left without a program.“ commented Chairman Fuentes.
The Police Activities League has traditionally relied on parents, donations and the support of the community to run its programs. Typically Recreational Programs run by cities have a fee to enroll and participate, this fee is higher than what most families can
California Police Activities League Visits Imperial County
TODAY’S DATE: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 TIME: 1 p.m.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT: Jenell Guerrero
TEL: (760) 482-4200 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
afford given the Valley’s demographics. PAL’s provide a venue for those that can’t pay the fee because they have the ability to fund raise to offset the costs. This is where an opportunity exists to work together with the City’s department and staff.
Gregg Wilson further shared his thoughts, “In the era of budget shortfalls, there are examples of Communities across the State coming together to devise a structure where parents, volunteers and City staff work together to man the programs and provide the supervision to the athletic programs. Oxnard is a good example of this. Ultimately the community needs to come together so that the kids don’t go down the wrong path with nothing to do.” Gregg Wilson commented as he was greeted with over 50 kids and parents outside PAL’s offices in Calexico for photo opps with him.
The California Police Activities League (PAL) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded over 35 years ago by a group of police officers, spearheaded by a San Francisco Police Detective, Charles Ellis. The California PAL office is located in San Leandro, California. As a working collaboration of staff, Board of Directors, and member chapters, California PAL provides services and support to over 100 local Police, Sheriff’s, and Youth Activity Leagues from throughout the State of California.