|Assembly Parlimentarian, Dotson Wilson, Officer Don Maiden, and 4 YDC Members
Early in 1997, the Police Chief, at the request of community
members who were expressing the need to provide positive alternative activities for Albany’s young people, began to
research ways to address these concerns. In February, the police department sent an Officer to the California Police
Activities League’s (CAL PAL) conference. It was determined that the Albany Police Department could best serve
the needs of the community by starting a PAL program. A collaboration of the police department and other agencies within
the City would be necessary to establish a successful PAL program. On April 30, 1997, the Albany Police Activities League
(APAL) had its first meeting. The original twelve member Board of Directors included representatives from the Albany
Unified School District, local businesses, a City Council member and city staff, and community members. The Police Chief and
the officer serving as APAL Executive Director, served as ex officio board members. APAL became a member of California
PAL and received 501(c)(3) status. It was determined that the focus of APAL would be to provide service to middle school
During the first year APAL provided a flag football team as well
as girls basketball teams. Over the next several years there were collaborative programs with the Albany School District,
UC Village, and the City of Albany Recreation Department. Activities included hiking trips to Point Reyes, Nike Flight
Basketball League, and field trips. APAL also participated in the YMCA basketball league. By the spring of 1998,
there were 100 members of APAL.
|Recognizing the APAL Family
The first annual awards dinner
was held in 1998. This popular event, which continues to this day, highlighted the achievements of the APAL participants
with medals, certificates and pizza for all. The wrestling program was started in 1999. Also, that year, a self-esteem
program was offered to middle school girls. APAL had a team in the Oakland Neighborhood Basketball League (ONBL) in 2000 and
2001. During the winter of 2002, APAL participated in the CAL PAL snow play day.
The Youth Director’s Council (YDC) was established in spring
2002. This program gave students at Albany High School an opportunity to serve in leadership roles in the community
and to enjoy educational experiences. Several of the members served on the APAL Board of Directors. They
worked hard at fund raising at events such as the Solano Stroll and July 4th celebration, earning money for the APAL program.
They assisted at beach cleanup days as well as adopt – a – trail program, decorated senior facilities for the
holidays. These projects are conceived of and planned by the students themselves under the direction and support of an Albany
Police Officer. Each spring, members of the YDC attend the CAL PAL Sacramento Experience. This 4 day event includes
meeting with the State Legislators, learning about the workings of the State government and meeting YDC members from all over
Anthony Sanchez, a former member of the YDC
and a member of the APAL Board of Directors was named "Male Youth of the Year" by National PAL at their conference
in May 2002.
In 2002, the Board began to take on a larger
role in the administration of the programs as there was no longer a full time Executive Director. In October 2003, the
first APAL wrestling tournament was held at Albany High School. Albany took the Western Division League Championship.
Members of the Albany Police Department gave out the awards, making the event even more special to the youngsters in attendance.
In October APAL hosted the Western Division Championship
Tournament at Albany High School and took first place in three categories. The YDC became a recognized club at Albany
High School with a faculty advisor. This status allowed them to publicize their activities at AHS as well as to meet
regularly. Their service projects included a movie night for elementary school students, clean-up on the Ohlone Greenway,
(for which they received a plaque from “Keep America Beautiful 2005) and clean – up of the Buchanan Street median.
They raised money for their club both at the City’s July 4th celebration and Solano Stroll. It became a tradition
to end each year with a trip to a local amusement park for the YDC members.
|July 4th Selling Ice Tickles
|"Crocodiles" listening to Coach Jon
In January 2005, two interns
from Cal State Hayward were hired to assist with office tasks. A new wrestling program was also begun that year –
“Crocodiles”. This program, introduced young people in grades 1 – 5 to the sport of wrestling. This
is an excellent “feeder” program for the middle school aged program. The Crocodile program continued to
grow and by 2008 included practices in the evening as well as on Saturday. The young wrestlers began attending tournaments
with wrestlers of similar age and abilities.