Building youth relationships with
law enforcement through sports
Story Courtesy of
Merry Ann Frisby
"Where is my wand'ring boy tonight?
The boy of my
The boy that was once
my joy and light,
The child of my love and pray'r?"
Parents worry about their children, and the frequently heard the lament that Monticello does not have enough after school activities for our youth has received an answer.
The Police Athletic League (otherwise known as PAL) would like to do something about this.
PAL is formed by local volunteers and local law enforcement leaders Chief Fred Mosley and Sheriff Mac McNeill
The PAL organization is quite common in urban areas; it is designed to put youth in contact with law enforcement role models in an athletic team environment. Boxing is, and has been, the centerpiece of PAL organizations.
Taking leadership of Monticello's PAL program is David Collins, a local attorney who has boxed since age 14 and participated in the Amateur Athletic Union's boxing program. Collins has ran his own gym, based in Monticello, from 2002-2007 and coached two time state champion Carnell Cooksey.
He returned to the ring in 2012 as a master boxer and competed in the Over 40 Amateur Light Heavyweight National Championship title fight in New York City at the world famous Gleason Gym.
In the future, as their program grows and expands, PAL plans to spread out to other sports, such as basketball and volleyball.
Adult boxing for business people classes are now being organized. PAL also focuses on after-school studies and developing good study habits for youth participants.
PAL's goal is to renovate the old basketball gym at the Jefferson High School complex, at no expense to the taxpayers.
The pursuit of actively obtaining matching grants to accomplish this has already begun and at present, PAL is being entirely funded by donations.
PAL is now open Monday through Friday, from 3:30 – 7 p.m., with Saturdays reserved for competitions.
Membership is open to youth between the ages of 7-20.
The fees range from $65- $80 for a full year's membership.
Volunteers and donations are still needed to keep this program running.
All donations are used to pay for PAL activities.
Please call the gym at (850) 997-2750 for more information about volunteer opportunities, donation needs and memberships.
If you wonder where your “wand'ring boy or girl” are tonight, take a look at the PAL's gym – and help if you can.