BY CHERYL SHUMWAY
North Country This Week
MASSENA – A new Esports arena is now up-and-running at the Police Activities League (PAL) of Massena. The computer games provides a fun, social, and learning activity for area youth, says PAL Director Zachary Monroe.
The after-school enrichment program for students in grades 2- 12 started as the Boys and Girls Club in 2015, but is now in partnership with the Massena Police Department and the National PAL organization.
“Our goal with the Esports program is to have an inclusive space where youth can play in a team setting together, rather than in a solo environment in their homes after school,” said Monroe.
“Esports is a team sport. We want to expose our members to evolving technology in hopes of getting them to think of possible careers, such as cybersecurity, software management and design, video game design, and other tech careers.”
The ten computer stations were funded by Alcoa and Arconic Foundations. SUNY Canton advised with the start-up of the Esports Arena. PAL members also helped to set up the computers, giving them ownership and pride in creating it, said Monroe. “If the club members build it, they will take care of it.”
The plan for the Esports program is to start out as recreational for students in 5th and 6th grade, but create competitive teams for students in grades 7-12 to play with high schools with Esports leagues nationwide.
Zachery German, one of the PAL youth members, said,” I think the Esports is really cool. It’s a great opportunity to build your computer skills and hand-eye coordination.”
Masyn Rushlow, a Fortnite fan and another club member, said, “It’s fun because you can play with your friends here in this computer room.”
Jaycey Dennis said, “I like playing on teams against others.”
Director Monroe believes the Esports Arena will increase club membership and improve members’ communication and socialization skills.
Massena PAL held a Re-Grand Opening and Open House Tuesday, Jan. 14 to check out the club’s recent updates, see the new Esports Arena, and meet the PAL board members, staff, and volunteers.
For more information about the PAL club, visit massenapal.com, email [email protected] or call 315-705-6075. PALS is located at 30 Bayley Road.