Youngsters help clean up five county neighborhoods
Members of the Henrico Police Athletic League (PAL) joined together to perform community service projects in Henrico communities late last month.
The PAL Summer Camp and Youth Leadership Council sent 250 youths between the ages of six to 18 years old out to clean up apartment complexes July 25.
Participants arrived at 9 a.m. with their black trash bags, disposable gloves and garbage grabbers in hand.
Youngsters were divided into groups in order to cover several apartment areas during the two-and-a-half hour period given for the project.
PAL members visited Essex Village Apartments on Pilots Lane, Bremner Woods on Sprenkle Lane, Seven Gables Apartments on North Laburnum Avenue, Coventry Gardens Apartments on Newbridge Circle and Hope Village on Hope Road to pick up and dispose of trash found on the grounds.
The kids braved the heat enthusiastically, knowing that their efforts would be appreciated by apartment residents as well as the community.
Henrico’s P.A.L program serves to create a safe environment for youths educational, athletic and social opportunities meant to strengthen the relationship between police officers and youths.
Sergeant Kenneth Ragland, executive director and community police officer, started the program in Henrico in 2007.
“PAL's been around for over 100 years nationally,” he said. “We cater to kids from ages six to 18 and utilize youth crime prevention.”
The After School program is open to all members. For $85, youths will participate in a variety of educational and recreational opportunities. The first hour of the After School program is set aside mainly for homework and tutoring. This year’s After School program begins Sept. 1 and runs through late May.
Another opportunity available for older youths between 13 and 18 is the PAL Youth Leadership Council. This branch of the program harnesses skills of the career driven participants.
Youths are given the chance to receive training from government and private industry leaders through several different projects and activities.
“Folks get exposure to community leaders, business leaders, civic leaders and also we incorporate a sense of community service,” Sergeant Ragland said. “We do a number of community projects monthly in our Youth Leadership Council.”
Participation in the Youth Leadership Council requires each individual to meet a certain standard in order to continue instruction. They need to work on monthly community service projects, attend meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m., adhere to the YLC Code of Conduct Agreement and maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average.
A parent or guardian must state that the individual is physically fit to participate and give consent. A physical medical examination is highly recommended.
PAL also offers several sporting opportunities as a youth crime prevention program.
Members joining the Fourth Annual Henrico PAL Summer camp will partake in a soccer clinic, baseball and softball clinic, basketball clinic, karate lessons, roller-skating, bowling, museum tours, library visits and more.
Thursdays are dedicated to extra summer fun. Trips to places such as King’s Dominion, Swaders Sports Park, Hadad’s Lake, Cobblestones, Pocahontas State Park and Water Country USA are organized every week.
Another treat coming up for kids this summer is the fifth Annual Johnny Newman/ Henrico PAL Basketball Camp. Former NBA star Johnny Newman will teach boys and girls ages 6 to fifteen years old the basics of basketball while emphasizing individual and team play. Former WNBA Jessie Hicks and former professional player Jo Jo Chambers will also join Newman this summer. The camp runs Aug. 15-18, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily The participation fee is $80.
PAL participants also are taking part this week in a weeklong camp hosted by the Richmond Strikers youth soccer organization.
PAL is holding its first annual golf tournament at the Brandermill Country Club on Thursday Sept. 29. The price per team is $400, and registration begins at 11 a.m.
Every program that is a part of the Police Athletic League highlights the importance of staying in school, striving for college, saying no to drugs and being a positive member of the community.
“Not only young folks, but older folks alike think it’s important that we instill in our young folks in particular the importance of volunteerism, giving back to the community and having their best interest,” Ragland said. “Hopefully through exposing them through community service and things of that nature, they’ll develop a sense of ownership in their communities.”
The non-profit program is always looking for members in the community to donate or sponsor to make a difference in every child’s life. Volunteers for mentoring, tutoring and coaching are always welcome and anyone interested can register online through PAL’s website, http://www.henricopal.org.
“Most of our kids come through registration on henricopal.org and also referrals from our board members, our police officers, through individual school teachers in the community,” Ragland said. “PAL’s funding comes from donations, sponsorships, grants and registration fees.”
In Varina, one of the most anticipated events of the season is approaching. The 19th Annual Big Toy Parade will return on Dec 14, offering a “homey,” small-town feel that helps elicit holiday spirit among participants and spectators alike.
The parade, which begins at 3 p.m., is sponsored by the Battlefield Ruritans and Henrico County Parks and Recreation and is held in conjunction with the James River Boat Parade. It is led by a grand marshal along Old Osborne Turnpike and ends at the Osborne Boat Landing, where hundreds of community members gather to await nightfall and the arrival of lighted boats, concluding a festive holiday celebration. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 12/03/2013
The region's two premier youth soccer organizations – the Richmond Kickers and Richmond Strikers – have partnered to create Richmond United, a cost-free U.S. Soccer Development Academy program designed to serve the most talented players in the region. The arrangement marks the first time in U.S. Soccer Development Academy history that two member clubs have united their respective Academy programs.
Slated to begin play in the fall of 2014, Richmond United will field U13/14, U15/16 and U17/18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. The teams will train and play home games at two of the top soccer specific complexes in the nation, Ukrop Park and Striker Park. > Read more.
Photo by Roger Walk for the Henrico Citizen 11/24/2013
Henricus Historical Park has a new, messy guest. Eleanor, a rare five-month-old Tamworth pig, was donated this month to the Chesterfield park by the Chesterfield County Farm Bureau as part of an effort to enhance the living history museum's partnership with the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. Eleanor and her livestock pig and goat neighbors at the park will be a special attraction for the schoolchildren and others who visit the Henricus Historical Park. Eventually, she will triple from her current 150-pound weight and grow to about two feet tall. > Read more.
Holiday events are in full swing this weekend in eastern Henrico! The Henrico Theatre will show the holiday classic “Elf” and the Concert Ballet of Virginia will perform a shortened version of “The Nutcracker” at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center. On Sunday the North Airport Drive Civic Association’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place at Fire Station #3. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.
The new AMC television series “TURN” is currently being filmed in and around Richmond, and casting officials are seeking background actors to appear on screen.
“The background actors are profoundly important to the filmmaking process,” said Erica Arvold, casting director. “The show takes place during the Revolutionary War, and background actors contribute to the atmosphere of that era.” > Read more.
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