The Boys and Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley is partnering with TenDown Bowling to expand its summer bowling program and to create the first elementary school league.

One of the owners of the bowling alley, Bryon Smith, approached the club about starting the league.

“I think the Boys and Girls Club are a good fit for youth bowling,” Smith said. “It gives kids that may not play other sports an opportunity to do something that they may not have the opportunity to do through all the other schools and all the other youth sports.”

Sports Director for the club Justin Braman said there was room to add a new fall sport after the tackle football program transitioned to Roseburg Youth Football. He said they haven’t added a new program in several years.

“I think it’s just a great opportunity for these kids that may not be into the big sports, the team sports — such as football, basketball, volleyball,” Braman said. “I think it’s a great avenue for them to pursue something different that can still give them the same opportunities that some of those team sports might give. It’s a different feel.”

The club has a bowling camp for two one-week sessions over the summer that Braman said fills up in a short time every year. He thinks the club could add a third week with how popular it’s been, which he said played a factor in the club pursuing the semester league idea.

Smith said he’s seen a few students from the Roseburg area bowl for college teams and even get scholarships and the league could show students and parents those possibilities.

“It gives the kids an opportunity to try something,” Smith said. “Plus, there’s a lot of good scholarships out there for youth in bowling that people might not be aware of. College bowling is not a huge sport, but there are full scholarships available for girls in bowling.”

Braman said he would like to see partnerships that could lead interested students on that path, especially since he’s learned more about the bowling program at Roseburg High School.

“I think both (Smith and I) are just looking at it as a great opportunity for the kids,” Braman said. “It’s offered at the high school, which, ... can actually even create some opportunities for the high school people to come and give some of our kids some tips and just really create a growth situation for them, if that’s what they want to do.”

Early registration is $70 and closes Aug. 2. Regular registration is $80 and closes Sept. 6. The program is open for 72 students in grades 3-5. The club has scholarships available for families who qualify for free and reduced lunch.

“It’s designed to pay for itself,” Club CEO Bryan Lake said. “We’ve identified opportunities for revenue, but then there are sponsorship opportunities. (TenDown is) providing bowling balls for these kids. We are providing shirts for all of the kids who play.”

Braman said the students will have opportunities to get coaching tips during their practices that they will arrange. Each student will get a card for 16 games that they can use to meet with their team of three and practice.

“I think the kids like the challenge of it,” Braman said. “You can be with your friends, it can be as casual or as competitive or whatever you want to call it, as it is and it’s just fun.”

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Janelle Polcyn is a reporter at The News-Review, graduated from the University of Texas, and is a podcast enthusiast.

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