Youth Movement at MLS

Congratulations to the MLS Sportsplex and Andy Caldwell of the Peterborough LBC for organizing an incredibly successful day of lawnbowls for a crew of 34 high school students from the Peterborough area.  With decreasing membership across the country,  and Peterborough’s beautiful new clubhouse getting closer and closer to completion,  the MLS Sportsplex served as a perfect venue to introduce the large group to the game. I was on hand to tell the group about my bowls story,   how I got into the game,  making the National Team,  playing internationally and my plans for the future in the game.  The bus showed up at 10:30 am and after a quick introduction to the game the gang got right down to business.  Split up into teams of 6 each student took turns discovering the game while their peers looked on with curiousity.  It was great to hear the encouragement from those waiting for their turn,  and all the kids had a good laugh at the occasional wrong bias or pineapple.  The shift from goofing around at a weird new game to intense competition was amazing when Dan Milligan announced that Pizza was on the way,  and the team who managed the most bowls within a set distance would get to line up first for their lunch.  3 ends later the team that got to eat first had racked up an impressive 28/36 bowls within 3m of the jack.    After lunch it was awesome to see a group of 12 of the students rush back onto the greens to get some practice in before the next game Dan had in store. 

Having a roll-up with the Peterborough youth

  The group was incredibly enthusiastic and many of them picked it up quite quickly.  During my talk with the group I was amazed at the level of respect the group had.  I remember being in school and how there were always those few kids in the class who were never paying attention and would test even the most experienced speaker.  This group seemed genuinely interested with what we had to say and I hope that we tweaked their interest enough to give the game a chance in the coming season.  It’s the hopes of MLS, Peterborough LBC and hopefully every bowler out there,  that this day at MLS was exciting for the kids and will be enough to prompt other clubs to arrange similar outings with the co-operation of schools in their area.  It is my understanding, that with help from Mario Battista that the kids will again be exposed to the game at their school playing short-mat and hopefully short mat will become a part of their phys-ed program. 

Thanks to all those involved in making yesterday a great day and for those interested,  photos of the day can be found at http://bit.ly/eKNTq4 and for more info on Mario Battista’s efforts with youth programs click http://bit.ly/fyZEgC  Questions and Comments are incouraged!

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7 Comments to “Youth Movement at MLS”

  1. It’s great to see events like this occurring in Ontario thanks to people such as you, Andy Caldwell, and Dan Milligan. It’s just unfortunate that the lawn bowling season barely runs during school season otherwise we could have more events across Ontario such as this one. For outdoor clubs like mine, it’s quite hard (not impossible) to organize school outings because our season starts at the end of May which is quite close to the end of the school year (even harder for high school students since they have so many culminatings and year end projects). Still harder is getting students to come over in September because by the time teachers get permission forms out, it’s nearly October and the greens are closed. Truly, I wish there were more indoor lawn bowling facilities in Ontario so more areas could do this for no, or very little costs. This story is very uplifting and I’ll be sure to bring this to the exec at my club and try and convince them to get classes coming over to our club in May and June.

    Josh Cameron

    • Great points Josh! The man you want to talk to is Mario Battista! He has countless ideas, and an incredible passion for the game. The best solution for the unfortunate circumstances you’re talking about would be short-mat! I don’t know if you are familiar with the game, but in case you’re not, it’s lawnbowls on a roll-out carpet that easily would fit in any schools gymnasium and can be rolled up and stored in a closet. Perhaps in class bowls videos could be played so the students could see what the game looks like when played on a full length green and then get a taste on the short-mat… You can get to Marios site through the DALES banner at the side of our home page and contact him via his site.
      Hope to hear from you again!

      Greg

  2. Greg,

    Truly a great day and glad you posted this up here. I certainly hope that this is just one of many days/events we can have to inspire young people to play bowls.

    Good job — also looking good in the Canada Uniform!

    Darryl Fitzgerald

    • Thanks alot Darryl! It was awesome to have such a big group of youngsters out! I remember when I was 18 starting out and how excited all the older members were to have my brother, sister and I at the club taking part in a game which the membership was so passionate about. While talking to the group about my experiences I couldn’t help but think how over the moon a club like Peterborough will be if even just a handful of those kids want to become a part of it. Fingers crossed, and let’s hope the ripple effect takes a hold.

  3. Greg – bloody brilliant work with the high school kids. I’ve always said that the good young players (especially in national team gear) should be the face of the sport to attract young players. Way to go!!!

  4. Well done to the organizers. At Heritage Greens in Kitchener, we have a Grade 12 Leadership class participate in 5 day bowls program as part of their curriculum. I lead the sessions supported by additional club coaches who work with small groups on the basic skills of bowls. The students enjoy the program very much. This has been annual program that is held during the first week of June.
    My daughter teaches a Junior Elementary class and we started a one day session with these students which is held during the first week of June. Once again, I lead the session assisted by volunteer club coaches. The students enjoyed their visit and followed it up with beautiful thank you letters to all of the coaches and our greenskeeper. We will host the students once again this year and invite the students to be our guest at one of our Wednesday Night Junior sessions. My daughter likes the program because she uses it as an end of the year field trip for her students. A great way to finish off the school year.

    It is not too late to approach Phys. Ed. departments at local high schools to have students visit your club in June. BB

    • Thank you very much for your input Brian Broome. It’s clear to me now that it is easily possible to get students to the club to try the sport. Especially considering I’m from Kitchener Lawn Bowling Club, it makes it extremely evident that there are youth in this city that could possibly have an interest in bowls.

      I will for sure push to have my club get high school students to our club for an organized bowls program as well. Already, we have been hosting a free annual junior open house where each of our juniors brings a couple of friends to try the sport. Though last year’s only brought out about 10 non-bowling juniors, I hope that this year it will be at least three times that number.

      Good luck with the junior bowls initiatives over there at Heritage,
      Josh Cameron
      KLBC Junior Executive Treasurer

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