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Police Athletic League Offers More Than Just Sports

Registration for fall activities is underway.

A couple years ago my son, then 5, wanted to play basketball in the worst way. Unfortunately, he wasn’t old enough yet for many of the programs run by places like the YMCA or other private gyms.

Fortunately, here in Parsippany we have another place to play.

I was able to sign my son up for the basketball clinics at the  of Parsippany Troy-Hills on Baldwin Road.  He loved the experience.

The program, which includes the involvement of the Parsippany Police Department, is supervised by high school coaches and staff. And the kids get a lot, if my son is indicative. The leaders there taught him the basics of basketball through entertaining drills and games.

In my opinion, Parsippany is lucky to have the PAL.  Not many towns have such a large facility that is also available for community events, programs and fund raising.

The PAL was formed in 1965 and began with 240 youth registered in their programs. Now there are more than 4,000 participants in PAL activities. The 36,500 square-foot facility is the only venue of its kind in the area and is open seven days a week.

Retired Parsippany police officer Tony Bonavitacola became PAL director last May.

Bonavitacola said PAL's mission is to promote positive interaction and create bonds between local law enforcement, youth and their families and the community. The objective is to combat juvenile delinquency.

“I hope to increase utilization of this amazing facility,” he said.  “We plan to bring the local police into the building to interact with the kids, continue to expand our programs beyond athletics, develop activities that accommodate children with special needs and create more opportunities for families to spend quality time together.”

The sheer number of activities held at the PAL is staggering. To stay up-to-date year round on what the organizations offer, visit the Police Athletic League website. You can find a link to join the PAL information email list on the home page.

The PAL runs the Red Hawk football and cheerleading programs for kids who attend Central Middle School and the elementary schools that feed into it. Additionally, they offer lots of different programs in sports, computer, dance, music, karate and more.

Below is a list of current offerings. To learn more or to register, visit the website.

All Sorts of Sports

Ages 3-7

An 8-week program that introduces younger kids to baseball, basketball, football, soccer and more. A great opportunity to improve your child’s coordination and motor skills. Times of classes vary depending on age and day.

Baby Bootcamp

Moms and their children 5 and under

Formerly known as “Stroller Fit” this unique exercise class allows moms to bring their children in a stroller and exercise with them in a fun and supportive environment. Children also get the opportunity to play and bond with other kids while the moms stretch and do floor work. Classes are held in the morning and some late afternoon or evenings. To register or learn more visit the Baby Bootcamp Website.

Basketball Clinics

Grades K-8

Run by local high school coaches, staff and local players. These clinics provide instruction on the fundamentals like shooting, passing, dribbling, defense, rebounding, court awareness, and moving without the ball.  Classes take place after school.

Basketball League

Grades 3-8

Volunteer coaches support this basketball league with help from local high school coaches. The children play competitive basketball in a fun and supportive environment.

Dance Classes

18 months to 7 years

Chrisina Albano is offering dance classes that include a Mommy and Me class for toddlers and a Ballet or Ballet/Jazz for children 3 and up. For more info contact christinaalbano@hotmail.com or 201-919-1251.

Ice Hockey

Grades 3-9

Registered USA/AHAA players can play for the PAL.  Registrations are now underway for the 2011/12 season.

Just Music

Grades K-2

Group lessons available for the piano and guitar. Private lessons for almost any instrument. Class times vary but are all between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. For more information visit www.justmusiclessons.com

KIDSAFE Self-Defense, Karate & Safety Awareness Classes

Boys and Girls Ages 5-15

This program is designed to enhance self-esteem, self-discipline and safety awareness. Classes are organized according to age and ability. Self-discipline and defense rather than aggressiveness are promoted.

Mad Science Marvels

Grades 1-5

An after-school program run by Mad Science that offers weekly programs on things like machines, movie effects, the weather, the science of toys and more. Takes place after school on Wednesdays.

Tech Stars: Lego Fun-Gineering with Simple Machines

Grades 3-5

A hands-on engineering class that combines LEGO Education & LEGO Technic materials to explore motorized simple machines by building realistic models.

Tech Stars: Let’s Build in Jr Lego Engineering

Grades 1-2

Saturday morning program that gives kids the opportunity to explore, investigate, and solve problems while learning about the building blocks of engineering. Little engineers will explore levers, gears, pulleys, wheels and axles.

Tech Stars: Sketch it in 3D

Grades 3-8

Children will learn how to build amazing 3D models of anything they want. They might build the mansion of their dreams complete with furniture, tennis courts, beautiful gardens and performance cars in the driveway.  Or maybe an awesome castle, race track or skate park. The six-week class culminates with a virtual tour given to family and friends on the last day.

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