Young people are needed in the world of lawn bowling and it’s becoming more than just a matter of promoting an old sport to a new generation. Many clubs are now starting to aggressively encourage and promote the participation of young people at their clubs because they’re afraid that if they don’t, the sport – and their clubs – will become lost.
The Broadstairs and St. Peter’s Bowling Club is getting ready for their opening weekend to be held on June 11 and 12 and in addition to the leagues that the club always plays host to, this year they too, have a particular eye on the area’s young people. Club president Frank Webb said in a recent interview, “It’s important to encourage young people to come, and to make them see that it’s not an older person’s sport.” Webb is particularly concerned that with a majority of the club’s membership being made up of elderly people, fewer bowlers are coming to the club. That means fewer dollars and fewer profits for the club – a big concern for this specific club, which has pristine greens and some of the highest maintenance costs in the area.
For the Preston Blind Bowling Club in England, it’s also important to attract a younger generation – but this time, it’s not strictly for profits; although all clubs recognize the need for younger people. At Preston though, there’s a special program for youth such as Caitlin Balmer, who can only see out of the right side of both of her eyes. Caitlin was part of the program that was held this past Saturday to help introduce more of the area’s blind youth to the wonderful sport of lawn bowling.
But even here, the dark cloud that is lawn bowling existence can still be felt, if not yet seen. Barry Walsh, manager of the England blind bowling Team, also admitted, “We can see the club just disappearing if we don’t get some youngsters.”