PALs left motivated after annual picnic


Jennifer Walker

PALs had fun at their annual picnic.

Megan Messer, Opinions Editor

Most PALs felt inspired after returning from their annual picnic on Thursday afternoon. More than 300 PALs from schools around the district attended the picnic at Elizabeth Milburn Park to participate in team building activities and games.

“I think the picnic was a great experience, it was a bit cold but it got warmer as the day went on,” senior PAL Cyrus Sandoval said. “We brought snacks, drinks and all kinds of food.”

PALs, which stands for Peer Assistance and Leadership, is a group that promotes teen leadership skills. Students agree that the best part of the picnic was hearing a speech given by PALs lead trainer and motivational speaker Tory Gant. Gant has traveled throughout the United States educating teachers and students about PALs and its impact on the community.

“It was our second time seeing [Gant] but he was amazing. You can never hear him too many times,” senior PAL Alexandra Spears said. “He talked about why we are PALs, how we help the community and introduced us to games that are really fun but also have a great meaning.”

Through the motivational speeches and team building activities, Gant strives to bring PALs students from different schools together to work as one group in the community. Students say that the picnic was an effective way to make friends and build relationships with other kids.

“As a senior PAL, I’m so glad we had the PALs picnic,” Spears said. “It was a unique and amazing experience to literally meet hundreds of new people, play games and eat with people you had never seen before and just to see how many young people are out there wanting to help better our community and help people around us.”

Both PALs students and teachers agree that Thursday’s picnic was a great opportunity for everyone to come together as a whole and learn numerous games and leadership strategies from one other.

“​This event is a highlight of our year,” PALs teacher Laura Freund said. “As a group we bound and motivate each other to have a successful and meaningful year. ”