P.O. Box 350399
Jacksonville, Florida 32235
(904) 642-1647 fax
with the Chief
National PAL Mentoring Grant
Find A PAL
2011 SFAPAL Basketball Championships
in New Smyrna Beach
By Karen Fleming
Dateline: April 1-3,
2011; New Smyrna Beach, Florida. This year was the first time the
State of Florida Association of Police Athletic/Activities Leagues
(SFAPAL) has held the Police Athletic League (PAL) state basketball
championships in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Shifting the venue from
the Milk House in Orlando, where the games have been conducted for some
years, to New Smyrna Beach proved to be successful!
“The games went off
without a hitch, thanks to Dave Adkins and his volunteers,” L.B. Scott,
SFAPAL executive director, reported. “I cannot say enough about all the
work Dave Adkins put into the tournament. Dave spent a great deal of
time checking hotels to make sure the youth had a decent place to stay.
[SFAPAL paid for two nights’ lodging for each team, except for those
living in the region] He worked hard arranging gym sites that were
convenient and low cost. Dave has helped by providing score keepers and
time keepers who were paid by income from the door charge. I am so
excited about the unselfishness Dave has displayed about helping the
association serve kids during these tough economic times. The
tournament was fun, and everyone had a great time, but most importantly,
the unity was better than it has been for several years.
communities made us feel very special and were very supportive of the
event,” Mr. Scott continued. “The First Baptist Church [of New Smyrna
Beach] hosted our Ten and Under Boys’ Division, and did something I had
never seen anyone do for PAL in my thirty-five plus years. The church
gave hot dogs, drinks, candy, popcorn, and chips to anyone who wanted
them free of charge. I had a talk with the pastor, and he stated that
they wanted to give back to the community. The church volunteers were
very friendly and helpful and made the event a lot of fun. I believe it
appropriate that we give them a special recognition in the future.”
|Florida PAL President Leslee Brimer with
members of the First Baptist Church of New Smyrna Beach.
Thank You, First Baptist.
community rallied for the kids. “We had our mayor, we had our
commissioners come and show support,” Officer Dave Adkins, executive
director of New Smyrna Beach PAL and director of PAL Region Three, said.
“The police department sent staff, just to show up and show support. We
had tons of parents, but it was nice to see that it wasn’t just people
with kids--it was people who wanted to come out and see our teams play.
There were probably 400-500 people there, if not more.
“I appreciated the community and the community leaders for being
so supportive. The commission recognized the girls [New Smyrna Beach
PAL girls’ teams] at the next commission meeting. It’s something they
didn’t have to do, but they’re showing them that if you work hard and do
the right things, you’ll get noticed.”
New Smyrna Beach Twelve and Under girls have played together since they
were nine-year-olds and were happy to come in first this year. They
placed second last year. The Ten and Under girls won the state
championship in their division in 2010, and they won again this year.
The girls practice year round; that’s all they want to do, Dave said.
Dave has noticed that the girls tend to choose a favorite activity or
sport and stick with it, while the boys spread themselves around all the
sports and activities the PAL offers.
|Congratulations New Smyrna Beach PAL on
your 10 and under and 12 and Under Girls team wins.
New Smyrna Beach coach is Willie Mitchell; the kids call him “Pop.”
Dave grew up in New Smyrna Beach, and said that Pop Mitchell has been
coaching since Dave was a kid. “I played against his teams,” Dave said,
“and he helped coach me when I needed some extra for playing baseball.
When I started running youth activities, I asked him to come and coach,
and he’s been here ever since.” Dave has served as director of New
Smyrna Beach PAL since 2000.
Who Played? Who Won?
total of twenty-five PAL teams participated in the SFAPAL Basketball
Championships, a reduction from last year, with the difference being
mainly with fewer girls’ teams. Congratulations to all the players!
and Under Boys: First Place--Jacksonville; Second Place-- Daytona Beach;
Third Place—Lakeland. Others participating: Melbourne, Boynton Beach,
Twelve and Under Boys: First Place—Palm Bay; Second Place—Homestead;
Third Place—Ormond Beach. Others participating: Boynton Beach and
Fourteen and Under Boys: First Place—Boynton Beach; Second Place—Ormond
Beach; Third Place—Homestead. Others participating: Lake Wales,
and Under Girls: First Place—New Smyrna Beach; Others participating:
Twelve and Under Girls: First Place—New Smyrna Beach; Others
Fourteen and Under Girls: First Place—Port Orange; Others
participating: Ft. Myers, Palatka, Cocoa.
|Port Orange PAL 14 and Under Girls
Teachable Moments Can Lead to Success
Lakeland PAL ten and under boys placed third in their division in the
championships, and were happy to bring back a trophy, said Tim Abram,
executive director for Lakeland PAL. “The kids have put in a lot of
hard work, and they’re real excited to be a part of what Florida PAL is
doing. What it does is make us even more excited to get more teams in
and try to motivate and encourage those kids.”
the victories are nice, Tim will tell you, it’s the mentoring that’s the
most important thing: “We have the opportunity to have teachable
moments, and that’s what it’s about. A lot of times when kids don’t
have someone standing over them and telling them the right thing to do,
they tend to make a lot of mistakes. So those teachable moments, are
even better sometimes than the victories we have on the court or the
football field. And if that’s the reward we get, I’ll tell you, we get
a lot of them, because we have a lot of teachable moments. That’s the
way we look at it: as an opportunity to equip these kids so that they
will have a better opportunity to make good choices and so they can
become productive citizens.
had the opportunity to play football for the legendary coach Eddie
Robinson at Grambling State University,” Tim said, “and I had a lot of
teachable moments with him. Tim remembers Robinson as “the winningest
coach in the world at the time I played for him.” Tim is the first
civilian director for Lakeland PAL, and has been with them since 2007.
“They used to have a police officer, but with the economy, they thought
it wise to put in a civilian so they could put more officers back on the
|Cocoa PAL's winning girls team
Learning Life Skills on the Court
Ormond Beach PAL’s fourteen and under boys placed second, and their
twelve and under boys placed third in their divisions in the
championship games. Lisa Messersmith, Ormond Beach PAL’s executive
director, spoke with us about her amazing volunteer coaches who
work with the whole youth: “Yes, they’re learning basketball
skills,” she said, “but more importantly, they’re teaching them the
skills they need to be successful in life: how to be a good sportsman,
how to play the game, but also respect everyone who’s in the game.
everyone can win, but all can be good sports,” she said. Her goal is to
have the “youth understand that it’s more about learning how to become a
team player than it is about winning. We’re learning how to work
together as a team because that’s what they’re going to have to do when
they leave our umbrella and go out into the real world. We can control
how we play the game and our attitude and our ability to go right back
out again. We didn’t win this game, but we can win the next. Have a
strong, positive attitude, and respect for the people you work with, the
coaches, the other team.
parents support that, too,” Lisa stated. “We really have a wonderful
team, between the parents, the coaches and the PAL staff. We all work
to support the youth so they can be successful in life. PAL is a
wonderful way for children to learn how to become positive adults. They
don’t know that right now because they’re having too much fun playing.
But if we can get that established in their hearts, it stays with them
Kid Needs a PAL: Boynton Beach PAL’s Logo
have to start believing in our kids, start giving back some time to
kids,” Officer Rick Lature, executive director for Boynton Beach PAL,
urged. “A lot of people are truly busy, and are not willing to share
their knowledge with the young people who are coming up.”
can’t be said for volunteer coaches who work with the Boynton Beach
teams. “They all work for the city, but they give their time to coach
the kids,” Rick said.
Boynton Beach PAL sent three teams to the State PAL basketball
championship games, one for each division, with the fourteen and under
boys, who were the most experienced, coming in first. “Our fourteen and
under [boys] are not the biggest, not the fastest, but they are
determined to finish something that they start, so they didn’t give up,”
Rick said. “Those are my boys!”
|Palm Bay 12 and Under Boys winners
A Great Place to Play Ball
was such a wonderful event this year. It was the first time we haven’t
been at the Wide World of Sports, and it was fabulous. New Smyrna is
such a quaint town, and Officer Dave Adkins of New Smyrna Beach PAL and
Region Five Director was a wonderful host,” Ms. Scott, program manager
for SFAPAL, stated by email in mid-April. Note: Dave Adkins is already
thinking through future plans, just in case SFAPAL chooses New Smyrna
Beach again as the site for the championships. Play Ball!