Kent youth boxing club targets summer opening
May 26, 2011 · Updated 10:11 PM
A youth boxing program is a few signatures and yes votes away from starting up this summer at the Kent Phoenix Academy.
According to Leslie Hamada, the executive director of Kent East Hill Kids (Police Activities League) Boxing Club that will operate the program, there are a few issues to work out with the city and Kent School District, but the plan is to have the program in the ring sometime this summer.
"This is another after-school activity to engage kids in positive activities," Hamada said.
Hamada noted she was looking for a program that appeals to kids who were not necessarily participating in the usual high school sports and activities.
"Boxing is a way to try to help some kids who are floundering," Hamada said. "It teaches discipline and conditioning."
Kent Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director Jeff Watling said by phone Monday the club will "offer a diversity of programs at the Phoenix Academy."
The city and school district entered into an agreement in 2007 to use part of the Phoenix Academy facility as a community center.
"We see this as a great addition to the spectrum of programs," Watling said.
The director said the program will be completely operated by the boxing club.
One of the next steps, according to the Watling, is for the school district and city to amend the agreement to allow the fitness room area to be used by the boxing club.
Hamada said the partnership between the city, school district and the boxing club is a rare joining of forces for a boxing activity.
"This is good for kids with anger management," Hamada said. "It teaches the opposite of violence. The kids learn discipline. I want to reach out to kids and give them a place to go."
The club will be part of the King County Police Action League boxing clubs. There is a PAL boxing club in White Center.
Hamada said the cost for youths to participate would be $50 to join the USA Boxing organization, a national governing body for amateur boxing. There also is the cost of purchasing gloves and other equipement. She noted "no one will be turned away" because of money.