Student athletes mentoring youth sports in Phoenix-Talent School Dist.

PHOENIX, Ore. — The Phoenix-Talent School District’s JPAL or ‘Junior Pirate Athletic League’ is currently running 2 camps.

Both are led by Phoenix High School students.

Around 30 children from kindergarteners to 8th graders are participating in the school district’s JPAL cheer camp.

“This is something similar to Pop Warner but it’s more of a camp sense where it’s a short time frame and lower cost of rate as well to the families,” said Head Cheer Coach, Lucy Brossard. She says the league started back in 2019 and has expanded over the last 3 years to include additional sports.

Each sport is led by PHS athletes, who mentor the youth themselves with the supervision of their respective coaches.

“It’s really great to see them blossoming and taking over ownership of the material that they provide for the students, as the material that we teach in these camps are pretty driven by student-athletes themselves,” Brossard said.

The young cheerleaders have been meeting once a week for hour-long sessions the past 3 weeks, to get ready for their cheer performance at the high school’s upcoming basketball game Friday night.

“I think it’s a great opportunity just to like, interact with the little kids and be the one teaching instead of being taught, and so it helps you gain more confidence with it,” said PHS Cheer Captain Makinzy Elton-Wooley.

She is one of 5 cheer instructors, happy to work with the kids and teach them new routines.

“We did another one [camp] during football season and they [kids] will still run up to me and be like ‘oh my gosh, it’s the cheer lady!’ and it’s just so cute,” she said.

Brossard says the league hopes to host more camps in the near future, with different sports being offered.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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