About Us

What is California PAL's Mission?

The mission of California PAL is uniting law enforcement and communities by providing youth programs which develop discipline, positive self-image, mutual trust and respect.

What is California PAL's Goal & Vision?

California PAL's primary goal is to assist police and sheriff's departments in establishing and developing PAL chapters in every community in California; thereby ensuring that all California youth have the opportunity to participate in California PAL programs. California PAL is well on its way to achieving our goal as we are California's largest juvenile crime prevention program with the active participation of over 300,000 youth.

Our vision for the future of California PAL is very simple: To create a safer environment and reduce juvenile crime in every California community by aggressively expanding the reach and scope of California PAL's programs to achieve a greater reduction in juvenile crime.

Our strategy to fulfill this vision is to streamline our operations and increase California PAL's overall visibility and competitiveness in the nonprofit marketplace. California PAL has been making a strong effort to redesign our fundraising programs by expanding towards beneficial corporate partnerships and increasing our presence in the governmental affairs arena.

California PAL has become a strong and respected voice concerning local, state and national legislation involving youth and juvenile crime prevention. California PAL firmly believes that as we continue to communicate our message and mission - both in Sacramento and Washington, DC - legislative representatives will be better equipped to understand our needs and to act appropriately on our behalf.

My life has been changed by PAL in countless ways.  PAL became a major part of my life and influenced me to stay out of trouble and strive for the highest goals.

Jivanto Van Hemert
Former Santa Monica PAL Youth

An Introduction to PAL

The Police Athletic League (PAL) began 100 years ago  in 1914 with a "bang" when a New York City youth gang threw a rock through a store window.  This incident was just another of the gang's ongoing campaign to harass storekeepers and disrupt the neighborhood.  New York City Police Lieutenant Ed Flynn liked youth and was convinced that there had to be a better way to reach at-risk youth before they became involved in destructive and often harmful behavior.

Lt. Flynn located the gang's leader, and met with him to discuss the problems in the neighborhood.  The gang leader spoke openly about his frustration of living in the inner city and constantly being watched by the law saying, "Man, we ain't got no place to play, nothin' to do.  The cops are always hasslin' us.  We can't even play baseball".  Lt. Flynn was on his way to becoming a friend, rather than an enemy, to the youth of his community.  By rallying the neighborhood storekeepers and his fellow police officers in support of his vision, Lt. Flynn raised enough funds to buy baseball uniforms and equipment.  He also located a playground for games.  As a result, the team was an instant success.  Before the end of the year, there were nearly a dozen teams in their city, and this led to the birth of PAL.

Although many excellent youth programs exist, the Police Activities League is unique. Not only does it offer a wide range of sports and educational activities, it forms positive relationships between youth and police officers through the direct participation of the officers.

Law enforcement officers who administer youth activities is positive for all involved-officers, youth and the community. The Police Activities League (PAL), Sheriff Activities League (SAL) and Youth Activities League (YAL) programs build a relationship of trust between youth and law enforcement, a relationship that often continues as the youth matures.  The programs are also beneficial because the male and female officers involved in the programs are excellent role models for today's youth, when there are far too few positive role models in society today.  Police and Sheriff Activities Leagues are an effective tool in juvenile crime prevention and in juvenile community policing.