About Manatee PAL
To bring law enforcement, kids and families together in a positive, safe environment through sports and academics to build a strong community.
Many youth in Manatee County live in neighborhoods threatened by gangs, drugs, violence and poverty. The Manatee Sheriff's Office reports that the most prevalent youth crimes are assault, burglary and vandalism. Studies show that youth engaged with law enforcement officers and other adult mentors are less likely to become involved in these types of crime. PAL provides a safe place where athletics and academic reinforcement instill pride, responsibility, self-confidence, teamwork and respect. We strive to be the most affordable and outstanding sports program in Manatee County.
With over 400 volunteer mentors in the program, PAL provides many opportunities for youth to learn and grow. College scholarships can be the roadmap out of circumstances that prohibit success. PAL athletes often receive college sports and academic scholarships to pursue their education after high school. We believe this is an important way for youth to travel toward success in life. At PAL positive values are taught and support is always provided.
The Manatee County Police Athletic League was founded in 1989 under the sponsorship of the Bradenton Police Department. In 1990, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office assumed sponsorship. In 1996, through a partnership with the Manatee County Government, the Manatee County School Board and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Police Athletic League was granted a lease of the Bradenton Middle School property solely for our youth programs.
In 1997, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office opened the PAL Academy Charter School with a separate board of directors and 100 students. Since that time, PAL Academy grew to serve approximately 130 middle school students and 80 elementary school student. However, PAL re-incorporated in 2010 and there is no longer a PAL charter school. In August 1999, the PAL Academy corporation opened the Opportunity Charter School, which is a program to address the challenges created by the law raising the compulsory school age from 16 to 18 years old in Manatee County.
On September 30, 2001, the two separate corporations merged into one single entity, The Police Athletic League and Charter Schools of Manatee County, Inc. There are three (3) separate and distinct components of the corporation: 1) Police Athletic League, 2) PAL Academy Charter School, and 3) Opportunity Charter School.
In June of 2009, The PAL Corporation separated into two distinct organizations; The Police Athletic League of Manatee County, Inc., and the PAL Charter Schools of Manatee County, Inc.
PAL of Manatee County provides programs for youth with wide and varying interests.
These programs seek to develop mind and body through academics and sports training.Programs include:
- Football (July - November)
- Basketball (November-March, travel team year-round)
- Cheerleading (July - November)
- Boxing (year-round)
- Inline Hockey (year-round)
In Florida, there are 54 PAL chapters, serving 275,000 children.
Manatee PAL serves 1,500 youth annually.