This historic program created by Slate Belt Rising, a Neighborhood Partnership Program, builds upon the working relationships of law enforcement and first responders throughout the region, reaching children and families in all the communities of the Slate Belt.
The Slate Belt Police Activities League Program initiative will offer a comprehensive solution to many of the issues facing our boroughs and our neighboring townships as well as strengthen favorable regional efforts already in place. It will serve to supplement and strengthen youth sports programs and outreach already in operation and offer new options for youth not already engaged by offering leadership training, mentoring, day camps at our many natural attractions, free and low cost events throughout the region, and opportunities in the arts and sciences.
Six Points of action
Youth crime. Youth crime and nuisance activity has a measurable negative effect on the efforts in downtown business districts, especially those in close proximity to residential housing. Police Activities Leagues have been shown to substantially reduce juvenile nuisance activity by up to 30%. The programs are designed to recognize leaders within our youth community and help them capitalize on their abilities and encourage activity across a broad spectrum. Now called an activities League, the reach far surpasses youth sports.
Youth Engagement. There is an historic lack of youth engagement in many sectors of community outreach. Police Activities Leagues serve an important role of identifying at risk youth and encouraging them to be proactive volunteers in their communities. This is accomplished through leadership academies, junior council programs, youth directed community service initiatives like park and pool associations and maintaining public art and garden installations. Youth participants are also encouraged to volunteer on the committees of the Police Activities League. Police Activities leagues are historically successful at reaching the most at risk youth between the ages of 5-17. This project will also serve to strengthen youth outreach programs like The Hub (Bangor), Families First, and Slater Family Network providing resources and volunteers to various organizations.
Basic Needs of Poverty Level Residents. In communities where a good portion of our population live at or below poverty levels, it becomes increasingly important to identify patterns of behavior consistent with increases in both perpetration of crime and victimization. Police Activities Leagues can use resources available to provide tools to identify families struggling with food costs, utilities, medical conditions and mental health and addiction disorders before their risks for being involved in or victims of crime increases. This aides both the communities at large, and the children and families involved in crisis. Police in the community are a first line of action in directing families to other partners in the community like our Second Harvest Food Banks, church and civic support organizations like the YMCA and recovery resources like Recovery Revolution and Clean Slate.
Quality alternative youth programming. In smaller communities, resources are often limited to competitive sports programs that filter into school and club organizations. The goal of this Police Activities League would be to support those organizations already in the Slate Belt, possibly providing volunteers, resources, and support through Slate Belt Rising in locating opportunities to make existing programs more accessible to youth that are in need. Additionally, they would create alternative programming not already being implemented like boxing, martial arts, road runners clubs, youth cycling, environmental exploration, fine arts, sciences, and performing arts programs through a day camp program using resources like Lake Minsi and working with organizations like Friends of Lake Minsi and Boys and Girls Scouts of America.
Fosters youth/police/adult cooperation. Police Activities Leagues improve relationships between youth and their families with police. They also allow adults who are not police to work alongside them in all capacities of programing, giving an opportunity to create authentic interactions and trusted relationships. Police, first responders and community volunteers in these programs often offer weekly open recreation time with them at parks and facilities. This allows many children to participate when scheduling and availability of parents and guardians can be a problem in other programs.
Enhances regional cooperation and builds on regional programs already underway. The regional model is already hard at work in the Slate Belt and is proving to be a vital tool in leveraging resources and efforts. This program would enhance those programs already in place and provide a social outreach directive that has been identified as a need.