Donations benefit Police Athletic League of Kansas City

Kansas City, Mo. – The Police Athletic League of Kansas City is adding a competitive target archery program to its outreach efforts in the city’s urban core, thanks to a donation of equipment by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. The league’s fishing outings received a boost with new gear, too, just in time for spring. MDC and partners made the donations March 16 at the league’s gym and community center, 1801 White Ave.

Kansas City police officers staff the gym, and other police officers and community members volunteer their time to teach sports and values to youngsters. The league’s complex has athletic fields in addition to the gym. Activities include sports such as football, soccer, boxing, basketball. They also teach dance, offer after-school activities and host neighborhood events.

“When we work with kids with sports, it gets kids comfortable being around police officers,” said Officer Shawnee Nix.

Sgt. Skip Cox said the program reaches out to 800 to 1,000 youngsters and their families. Some are helped through tough situations in their neighborhood such as poverty or crime. Officers see people with difficult challenges. But they’ve also had success steering youngsters on to careers or college.

“To get them to feel safe, that’s what we do here,” Cox said.

Now, competitive target archery based on the Missouri National Archery in Schools Program (MoNASP) will be worked into the league’s activities. The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation provided funding for bows, arrows, targets, and a target curtain valued at almost $1,200. An MDC staffer made and donated floor quivers to hold arrows. The simple compound bows are easy to shoot and MoNASP safety protocols allow participants of all ages and physical abilities to be competitive and enjoy success. Target archery is fun and builds self confidence in youngsters.

“This is going to give our kids something more than athletics to do,” Nix said.

Once the youngsters are trained, Nix plans to take them to observe and then shoot with the MoNASP participants at the Nashua Elementary School in the Northland.

The league also received a donation of fishing rods and reels from the Nathan’s Catch Foundation. Making the presentation was Russell Giron of Lee’s Summit. His family started the foundation in honor of his late son who loved the outdoors. Giron was also present at the donation as a board member for the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation.

“We’re trying to get kids fishing and in the outdoors,” Giron said. “We have a lot of things in our state that kids can do that are to the advantage for kids.”

MDC staff told officers that MDC offers additional outdoor opportunities such as educational programs at nature centers in the Kansas City area and the Discover Nature — Fishing program.

Also in attendance for the donations were Kansas City Mayor Sly James and Missouri state representatives from the Kansas City area including Ingrid Burnett, Brandon Ellington, and Daron McGee.

For more information about the MoNASP archery program, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZSE. To learn about MDC’s free Discover Nature — Fishing program that teaches families angling skills, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Z4y.

From the Missouri Department of Conversation, published March 19, 2018

Photo by Bill Graham, Missouri Department of Conservation

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