Readers of my monthly column know that I use this opportunity each month to highlight something happening behind the scenes to move our city of Nashua forward, and these things are typically very much “under the radar” to most of us. The point of this column therefore is to shine a spotlight on those activities and those who are making them happen, so that more of us become aware of them and can choose to participate in those activities or support them in other ways.

Within this context, I’d like to use this month’s column to highlight a program that any parent in and around Nashua should learn more about. If you have kids anywhere between 5-10 years old, take note of what I’m going to share with you today. It involves a really neat partnership between our local Police Athletic League (PAL) and my company where I now work – velocityHUB.

For the past couple of years, our company has led a one-day leadership workshop in partnership with PAL in which we teach kids leadership values that they can use at their age level, and in their interactions with other kids their age and with their families back home. This workshop takes the kids through a journey in which they learn nine different attributes of being a leader – attributes like Communication, Teamwork, and Courage … just to name a few. The kids learn these attributes by meeting local people in our community who volunteer their time to come in and share their life experiences with the kids relating to each of these attributes. The kids also participate in fun, interactive exercises throughout the day that reinforce the leadership traits that they learn from listening to the stories and experiences of the adults. At the end of the day-long program, each kid takes a “pledge” to think and act more like a leader in their lives, whether it be in the classroom, on the playground, or in the family living room back home.

For those of you reading this column who have kids, I encourage you to learn more about this program. I know that all of us are far busier with our daily lives than ever before, and the opportunities for kids to learn strong life values seem far more limited today than in the past. Programs like this PAL Victory Academy offer an opportunity in today’s fast-paced world for us as parents to pause a bit, and provide our children an opportunity to reflect upon themselves as miniature “leaders in the making” who can think of themselves as positive contributors to their own little corner of their world.

If you’re reading this and are interested in the program, it takes place on a Saturday each November – which means the next one will be in November 2017. It takes place at the PAL Gymnasium located downtown on Main Street at the St Patrick’s Church. You can learn more about the program by contacting the executive director of PAL (Shaun Nelson) and asking for information about next year’s program.

Did I already mention that this program is free of any charge? The free tuition is made possible through my company’s willingness to donate its time to the program, and through a special “bowl-a-thon” fundraiser that we hold prior to the event at Leda Lanes.

The past two years, we’ve drawn a couple hundred people from local businesses and families who join us on a Sunday night to bowl for a couple hours and have a lot of fun, while raising scholarship funds that go toward making this PAL Victory Academy possible for kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the means to attend such a program.

Our staff at our company do this because our company’s mission and values are all about building leaders – both throughout the world and right here in our own little community.

If you’d like to learn more about our efforts to make the PAL Victory Academy or about our work to build leadership here in greater Nashua, you can visit us at www.velocityHUB.com.

I hope everyone has the merriest of holidays this season, and I’ll see you in 2017!

Chris Williams is a former mayoral candidate, and currently serves as a Partner at velocityHUB headquartered in Nashua.