Provincial association wants bowlers to stand up and be counted

John Browne
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It's estimated that there are 5,000 bowlers in the province. As part of its strategic plan, the Newfoundland and Labrador 5-Pin Bowling Association wants to see them all registered.

Part of Newfoundland and Labrador 5-Pin Bowling Association’s (NL5PBA) strategic plan is an initiative to, among other things, get every bowler in the province on the association’s database.

For example, seniors (50 years and over) make up a sizable portion of bowlers in the province, and NL5PBA president Ken Byrne  would like to see them all registered with the provincial association. Of the approximately 5,000 bowlers in the province, it’s estimated about 2,000 of those are 50 years or over.

“However,” Byrne said, “we need to get every bowlers’ name into one database so we know exactly how many we are dealing with. We’re trying to reach out to the average bowler.”

While Byrne said league numbers are on a par with previous years and are “stronger than ever,” he noted there is a dropout rate after YBC.

He said many teenagers and young adults either stop bowling or go on to other sports. But, he also said many of those bowlers return to the game later in life.

“You see them coming back to the game when their kids are in YBC. Bowling is a family-orientated sport that people can play all of their lives.”

Retaining bowlers is one of the objectives of the overall strategic plan, which will run from 2010 to 2013.

Strategic plans for sports governing bodies have been suggested by the province’s Tourism, Culture and Recreation division and encouraged by Sport Newfoundland and Labrador (SNL).

Bowling submitted its plan to SNL in September and Byrne says the process of developing plan was beneficial.

 “It gave our association a chance to take a good, hard look at ourselves — who we are and what we represent, and also where we want to go,” he said, who noted that having a plan in place will help when it comes to such things as applying for government grants.

“The idea,” said Byrne, “is to know what you are working towards and how to grow your membership and make your association stronger.

“We need to educate people on what we stand for and what we can offer, and having a strategic plan in place will help do that. “We’re not just an association for tournaments. We represent coaching, rules and such things as lane certification.

Byrne said he did the “grunt work” on getting things together.

“I bounced a lot of ideas off our executive and we decided who would be best suited for the various tasks. We’ve begun a few of the initiatives already such as programs for seniors. We’re not trying to bite off too much at the start. Sometimes when you try to do so much, you end up missing things.”

The provincial association has already reached out to the Youth Bowling Council (YBC) program and offered assistance through access to funding.

“We are also reaching out to Special Olympics and they are partnering with us on the national level, as well as trying to establish a firmer relationship at the provincial level. We’re talking about getting their membership in our association and, hopefully, offer them some tournament opportunities.”

He said there are seniors community recreation grants that were available last year and are available again this year.

Byrne said the association will meet in January, “to see where we are and what we need to do next in terms of planning.”

Some of bowling’s strategic plan initiatives


• Re-focus energies on bowlers of all ages and capabilities

• Investigating avenues of funding through government and corporate sponsorship

• Revamp membership fees


• Partnering with schools to develop and implement after school programs

• Helping BowlNL’s YBC program by accessing the Athlete Travel Subsidy

• Coach training for YBC helpers

Bowling proprietors’

• Hope to partner with Tourism, Culture and Recreation, municipalities and bowling centres for community recreation development in maller populated communities

• Offer a valid lottery licence for fundraising

• Bi-annual standardized lane bed inspections

• Bi-annual standardized lane bed inspections

Organizations: Youth Bowling Council, Culture and Recreation division, Special Olympics

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