A new generation of bowlers is breaking in their bowling shoes at Big Country Lanes.
The bowling alley’s youth bowling league has seen an explosion of interest this fall. Big Country Lanes owner Ken Clark said they’ve gone from only one youth bowler to 27 youngsters ranging in age from three to 19.
“They seem to be having lots of fun,” Clark said. “A lot of the interest has been thanks to word of mouth. Once people discovered we had a youth program going we got a great response and lots of support from 100 Mile House.
Clark said that he discovered holding the youth bowling on Saturday didn’t work for many families. By switching it to Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. he said more people have proven willing to come out. He offers the children swag bags and awards for reaching certain scores which he said encourages them to get better at the game.
Kim Stokes has already noticed an improvement in her granddaughter Phaedra’s bowling game even though this is her first year trying the sport. Already she said she’s scoring close to 100 points a game and some of her fellow league players are exceeding that.
“She goes to Girls Guides and bowling and she’s told me ‘Grandma I really like bowling’. She’s already planning on coming again next year and going right on through until what she calls ‘the teenage years,” Stokes said. “I love seeing all the kids play and cheering them on.”
Stokes said she found out about the league through Facebook and was surprised to learn the bowling alley was open. She said bowling is a great form of exercise for children that gets them off of video games for an evening.
Adam Salaymeh, 11, said it’s nice to have so many other children to bowl with. Adam has bowled in the past and said he came back to get better.
“It’s cool there are more kids, I like having people to play against,” Salaymeh said.
Having young people using the lanes again is exactly what Clark likes to see. He said they’re the future of bowling in the community and, from a business standpoint, brings in more revenue from birthday parties and weekend visits.
“A good youth program makes for a busy bowling centre,” Clark said. “We try to teach them as much as we can, we want them to have fun. They’re really a great group of kids and thrilled when they knock a couple of pins down.”
Anyone interested in enrolling their children in the league, or joining an adult league themselves, is invited to contact Clark at 778-482-5002 for more information.