Selma PAL Center open registration for new basketball league

Published 8:31 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Selma Police Athletic League has opened registration for their after-school enrichment programs, and the upcoming basketball league.

Registration is free and applications can be found at the Selma PAL Center or at the Selma City schools.

The after-school programs will be run similarly to the enrichment program PAL offered over the summer.

“We’re trying to do something for the kids to keep them inside instead of outside on the street,” detective Dorothy Cowan said. “The program includes mentoring, the Youth Leadership Program and the basketball league.”

The Youth Leadership Program is a new addition, where Cowan is attempting to bring in even more kids to the PAL Center.

“We are trying to get kids from the city and county schools,” she said. “They can do things in the community, and work together as a team. They can do things with each other besides athletics.”

The PAL is also working with the Selma recreation department to start a basketball league for the city. Previous attempts to create a city basketball league have been unsuccessful, according to Cowan.

“We’ve been trying to get basketball league registration for the past 2-3 years, and we haven’t been able to get it off the ground,” Cowan said. “Hopefully, we can get that together so the kids will have something else to do. It would give the kids more incentive to come out to the other programs we have going on.”

Cowan realized that when the kids come for basketball, attendance in her enrichment programs tend to increase.

“The basketball will get them out here,” she said.

One of the primary obstacles to setting up the league was finding a host gym.

“I think the biggest problem was just getting somewhere to play the games,” Cowan said. “We have a gym, but it’s not equipped to hold a lot of people. We need somewhere that we can go play.”

The league is still a work in progress, but Cowan is still working to make it a reality. Games could potentially be held in Selma High Schools old gym, according to volunteer coach Willie Collins.

“The basketball league will incorporate the enrichment programs as well,” Collins said. “We have kids go on field trips, go to museums and do work in the community. Mostly doing what is needed to strengthen their character and community.”

Registration for the basketball league has already opened as well, and the season is projected to start in mid-October. The league is for players 14 and under. The PAL hopes to have enough applicants to fill at least four teams in each age group. Volunteer coaches and mentors are still needed.

“Right now, there isn’t a registration fee for the after-school program nor the basketball league,” Cowan said. “After August, we’ll have a $25 fee. But right now, we’re just trying to get enough kids so we can have enough to start the league.”