Monday, May 9, 2011

BSO/PAL Helping the Kids In Deerfield Beach.

Last week a dear friend of the "perspective" informed me that the City of Deerfield Beach had a Police Athletic League (PAL) Boxing program called BAAM (Boxing and Anger Management) that her child was participating in.  I looked shocked and amazed because I didn't know that Deerfield had one and had I known I would've suggested it to some of my friends.  Suffice it to say, I was skeptical about this program and its participation beyond my friends child.  So, long story short she invited me to attend the graduation ceremony because she thought it would be good for me to see what went on their.

On Thursday May 5, 2011 at about 6pm, I went to Deerfield Beach Firehouse  located on Hillsboro and Federal and waited outside for my friend and her family to arrive.  I was early and she was late (tisk, tisk, tisk), but I was glad I came early because I was able to talk to some of the arriving mothers, who many of them I knew from high school and one or two went back further than that.  After being cordial outside I was prepared to go upstairs and see what this program was about.  When I walked in I saw a big hulking figure from my past and one that has always put a little fear in me.  It was "The Terminator", well that's what we called him at Deerfield Beach High School where he was the Police resource officer, Butch Santy and he still looked exactly the same. 

Seeing Mr. Santy involved with this group made me even more interested because I know him and I know that he doesn't mess around.  He also has an eerie and profound positive affect on people.  Eerie, because his stature and commanding voice puts you on guard like he will snatch your head off if you step out of line, just once.  His personality and sincere concern for the youth provides that positive affect because although, a policeman/military guy by trade, he is approachable, funny, fair, and open-minded.  Traits that I believe kids need in their authority figures.  What is the use of having an authority figure that kids are afraid to talk to and discuss their daily lives with.  Those types of figures only play catch-up, whereas approachable ones who make kids feel safe and appreciated will hear about problems and concerns, usually before they get out of hand, so they can deal with them upfront, instead of only on the "backside" (pun intended).  I have always felt that Mr. Santy is one of those approachable authority figures, so when I saw him interacting with the kids, I knew this was a good program and could benefit many of the kids in the District 2 and Deerfield Beach communities and because it is a BSO PAL organization it is open to all kids in Broward county.

My suspicions about the program were further allayed when I saw and heard that the program had the full support of Deerfield Beach BSO's, Chief Sudler, and CODB Mayor, Peggy Noland, who were both in attendance.  Both of which spoke to the fact that Deerfield has "good kids" and that they just needed "good opportunities" like this PAL program to help them stay busy and focused on achieving their goals.  The motto/slogan of BAAM is "Gloves Not Guns" and this sentiment is shared by many in the District 2 community.

I watched and listened as Coach Santy, as many of the children affectionately called him, passed out diploma after diploma to about 25 young kids, who were so proud of their achievements in the program.  He discussed that the BAAM program was designed to give the kids an outlet to discuss, tackle issues and concerns, and develop solutions for preventing cyber crimes, bullying, gangs, and illegal drug use.  This style of teaching a controlled sport, while instilling morals, values, and ethics concerning relevant issues affecting our youth is in-genius.  The BAAM program is basically the training ground for the BSO/ Deerfield Beach PAL to show the participants the "ropes" of boxing and when they graduate they have the opportunity to join the PAL Boxing Team.  Many of the children on the boxing teams through this program have actually won medals and "Golden Gloves" at state tournaments.  

He talked about the dedication of the kids and also the dedication of their volunteers, who many volunteered 40+ hours a week to the program, which shows that their heart was in it for the kids and the love of boxing.  They spoke of one child in particular who had been expelled from the program three times, due to his behavioral problems, but because of his commitment they allowed him back in and he has become one of their most valued participants.  I bet that this kid, because Coach Santy and his staff did not give up on him will have a brighter future.  Many of our kids, just need someone to believe in them and supporting them and not give up on them.  If this program can provide that, then I support it 100%.

Heck, I can't say enough about this program and I only saw about an hour of interaction, but I witnessed the look of pride on the children's faces, mirrored by that on their parents and coaches face and it was enough for me to see that this is a worthwhile program that many could benefit from.  I spoke to Mayor Noland, Chief Sudler, and Coach Santy and advised them basically of the sentiment that I have expressed here and they agreed.  I told them that things like this need more publicity in the communities and area that they could benefit the most, namely District 2. 

The BSO/Deerfield Beach PAL program will be hosting an amateur boxing exhibition at Deerfield Beach High School on May 21, 2011 at 2:00pm.  You can contact Deputy Butch Santy at 954-778-0174 for more details.  The BAAM program will be starting up again soon, so if you are interested in enrolling your child, please contact Deputy Santy at 954- 778-0174 for more information.  You can download the application for BSO`s PAL programs and view the other sports that might be available in your area at

You should also take a look at the BSO PAL website for other opportunities for kids to get involved with positive activities that could enrich their lives.

BSO Explorers for teens 14-21
Deerfield Beach Fire Rescue Explorers for teens 14-21

There are minimal fees involved about $10-$25 for participation in these programs and in some cases the cost for uniforms, but this is a small price to pay for our kids to enrich their lives and become better citizens.

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