Pirate Women Mentor Youth through Pirate Pals Program

Peninsula College’s Pirate Women Basketball players are stars on and off the court, and in the eyes of several young women from the community they are also something much more─they are heroes and mentors and friends.

Community residents who attended Pirate home games last year probably wondered about the younger basketball players who lined up with the Pirate women players during the playing of the national anthem. What they didn’t know is that the young women were part of an important outreach effort by the Pirate women, and that several of the Pirate team members were spending their weekends and nights working with the younger players and watching them play in their own games and tournaments.

Today the college players are known as the Pirate Pals, and Pirate Coach Alison Crumb couldn’t be prouder. The PC program has its genesis in a similar program that Crumb was involved in when she played for the Roughriders at Port Angeles High School (PAHS) under then coach Mike Knowles, who today is an assistant Pirate basketball coach. Knowles began a “Rider Pal” mentoring program that placed player mentors with younger aspiring PAHS basketball players, and the program was very successful. Today, both Crumb and Knowles are proud to see the Pirate Pals program reaching new heights.

According to Crumb, this year the Pirate women’s team is taking the Pirate Pals program to a whole new level. Just after the Pirate women had their first preseason meeting─and after being on campus for only 24 hours─the Pirates put on a free basketball camp for their Pirate Pals. The players ran the entire camp and worked with the girls on skill building as well as coaching them in a 3-on-3 tournament. After the camp, both teams ate pizza together and got to know each other a little better. And this is just the beginning, Crumb says!

“Every week during the coming year, the Pirates will be working with their pals after practice and on weekends to give back to the community and to inspire young basketball players that are like themselves when they were younger.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our athletes to mentor young players who idolize them. Our pirate women step on the floor, and these young girls follow everything they do. With that comes great responsibility, and it helps our players become better leaders, better citizens, and better basketball players,” Crumb says.

And Crumb has made sure that the parents of the Pirate Pals know the Pirate players are truly committed. “When I was introducing the PC players to the Pirate Pals and their parents, I told them we are here for them and support our team in putting in all this extra time to help the Pals better their craft. Afterwards, a parent came up to me and said how much it means to these girls that we are doing this, and that they, too, are here for us and whatever we need. That is what’s it’s all about. It’s about a partnership, and our program believes it’s important,” Crumb says.

Crumb adds that throughout the preseason when the Pirates are training, often twice a day, “three days a week the Pirate Pals will be on campus working with our student-athletes. Thanks to assistant Pirate coaches Mike Knowles and Danika Johnson, Olympic Avalanche coach Joe Marvelle, and the Pirate program, our team has expanded, and we’re excited for our Pirate Pals and their families to be a part of our Pirate Family.”

Pirate Pals In Action!