Former Police Activities League rebrands as Inner Banks STEM Center

Published 5:09 pm Thursday, October 4, 2018

In the years since the Beaufort County Police Activities League established itself as a nonprofit in Beaufort County, its programs have touched the lives of countless young people in the community, exposing them to the technological wonders of boating and aviation, as well as life lessons on character, morality and the soft skills necessary to make it in the world.

In the years to come, that mission will continue and expand, albeit under a new name. The organization formerly known as BCPAL has recently undergone a rebranding and will henceforth be known as the Inner Banks STEM Center. According to Inner Banks STEM Center President Al Powell, he and the nonprofit’s board of directors see the name as being in better alignment with what the program actually does.

“We revisited where we were at this year,” Powell said. “Through nobody’s fault, we determined that the law enforcement involvement had not been as much as we anticipated. We underestimated the tremendous demands the law enforcement staff has in handling the fifth-largest county in the state.”

While the logistics of volunteer participation were one factor in the name change, Powell says the program’s structure was another. Nationally, the PAL program is recognized for making connections between law enforcement officers and youth primarily through athletic activities. With a heavy focus on Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering at the Beaufort County chapter, Powell says the program was somewhat non-traditional, creating some confusion among potential sponsors.

As to the name Inner Banks STEM Center, Powell says this name reflects two key pieces of the program. The Inner Banks portion of the title reflects the center’s desire to be a regional resource for eastern North Carolina, drawing attention and groups to Beaufort County and the Washington Warren Airport. The STEM portion, likewise, places the organization’s mission front and center in the title.

Moving forward, Powell expressed excitement about two upcoming additions at the facility, the first being an increased focus on workforce development and career and technical education pathways beginning with area middle school students. This in turn will help prepare these students to explore these pathways further when they begin high school, he said.

The second, through a partnership with Vidant Beaufort Hospital and the Beaufort County Health Department, is the addition of biomedical testing equipment that will generate health data on local children, youth and adults who might otherwise not visit a doctor on a regular basis.

“We’ve got our track set,” Powell said. “We’ve got the right name. It’s short, sweet and to the point and makes a statement on who we are and where we are going. We just want to play a bigger role in improving the quality of life for both the youth and their parents.”


On Saturday, Oct. 27, Inner Banks STEM Center will host its annual dinner dance at the Washington Yacht & Country Club. Featuring ENC-famous party band The Main Event, the dinner dance serves as an annual fundraiser for the organization. Tickets are still available at $40 each, with tables available for groups of six or more.

Tickets include a dinner and beverage and can be purchased at the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce building, First Bank of Washington or from Inner Banks Stem Center staff. For more information, call Powell at 252-923-9482 or Melissa Jarvis at 252-944-1149.