By Greg Price
With the rising costs of recreation, the Taber Bowling Centre has decided to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by giving out free presents to youth.
Those presents include offering up free registration for its youth bowling league for the 2017-2018 season.
The concept has resonated with families as the offer was posted on the business Facebook Page at 9:30 a.m. last Thursday and within an hour-and-a-half, the maximum 48 slots for one day of league that the lanes can accommodate were filled.
“There was unbelievable response to it. We’ve been in this town for 47 years and we’ve been able to reap the benefits from it with the flooring store, the apartments, the bowling alley. We thought we’d give back” said Harry Prummel of himself and his wife, Arlene, owners of the Taber Bowling Centre.
“Single moms, single dads, other families that live on a tight income where kids can’t participate in sport because of finances, now they can. The only requirement they have to do is sell a box of chocolates which is a YBC requirement as part of a national program.”
The Youth Bowl Canada (YBC) League starts in September and goes until March. Since the offer was made last week, sign ups were still being taken, but it will eventually have to be capped off due to capacity and manpower constraints.
“Usually the youth bowling is one day a week. We can have 48 kids with six kids per lane,” said Prummel.
“We are probably going to have to run it two times per week now. It gives extra exposure to bowling for kids and we may just carry it on every year, we’ll see.”
Prummel noted there were kids that used to bowl in YBC a few years ago who don’t anymore and a lot of it has to do with cost.
“Four hundred dollars isn’t a lot of money but $400 is $400. The cost of everything is going up and that extra $40 a month can mean a lot. For me, it’s more give kids an opportunity to get some exercise, but also get into a social environment,” said Prummel.
Given the interest in the free youth program, the original Tuesday league after school is looking to be expanded into another day with Wednesday or Saturdays being considered for the second slot.
“We will need help this year, be it parent volunteers, or some of our bowlers from other leagues,” said Carrie Bolen-Vayro, manager at Taber Bowling Centre.
The youth bowling league had 18 participants last year in which Vayro confirmed on Friday morning the Taber Bowling Centre already had approximately 68 kids signed up this year with more inquiries filling up each day.
“We’ve had as many as 30 years back with a few coaches,” said Vayro.
Kids four and older play in the youth league in which coaching is offered for the finer points of the sport of bowling.
“We teach them the proper way to throw the ball and the footwork. The littler ones still have to throw the ball with two hands between their legs,” said Vayro. “But, we eventually graduate them from the two hand to the one hand.”