USBC Changes Youth Program by Ed Cotter

USBC Changes Youth Program by Ed Cotter

 

USBC will be making several changes to the youth program in an effort to increase youth participation.  Personally, I don’t think they even come close, even if you use a weapon of mass destruction to hit the target, to implementing changes that will increase youth enrollment.  Here are the excerpts and my comments.

 

From USBC:

The USBC Board of Directors, based on recommendations by the USBC Youth Committee, approved several major changes to the structure of current USBC Youth programs. As participation in youth sports is on the rise in America, the changes set forth for USBC Youth programs will attract more youth bowlers to participate in certified league play.

 

From USBC:

In the new membership delivery system, bowling centers will have the option to directly process memberships, averages and awards to USBC. In many areas, local associations will continue that function; however, with this change, bowling centers now have the ability to decide whether to take sole responsibility for youth processing, or continue to work with local associations as they have in the past.

 

My comments:

This sounds like a band-aid fix to broken processes in some associations.  Why not fix the process before introducing more changes and opportunity for failure.  I think this will create membership issues and confusion trying to coordinate average information for youth tournaments.

 

From USBC:

USBC Youth Basic Membership will cost $5 and be available to all youth who bowl in a league that meets for 12 sessions or less. The Youth Basic Membership benefits include:

  • USBC Youth Membership Card
  • One issue of US Youth Bowler
  • USBC recognized average
  • The ability to participate in USBC certified tournaments
  • League award emblems
  • Purchasable awards

In addition, USBC Youth Standard Membership will continue to be offered. The cost of the Standard membership will be fixed at $17 nationwide. This membership option will be available to all youth, regardless of the length of the league. The current benefits to the Youth Standard Membership are:

  • USBC Youth Membership Card
  • Four issues of US Youth Bowler
  • USBC recognized average
  • Ability to participate in USBC certified tournaments
  • Revamped youth awards program

 

My Comments:

The lower cost membership is going to add confusion.  The lower membership mentions league award emblems, which are already part of any sanction league.  But those expecting achievement awards, and what youth doesn’t, are going to be surprised to learn that they have to purchase their awards.  Jumping the standard membership $6 is a major step.

 

From USBC:

Special achievement awards will be available to bowlers 12 and under, and these awards will carry the Bowlopolis theme and characters. The emblems will include recognition for a 50, 75 and 100 game as well as a 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300 series. For a bowler to earn any of these awards, he or she must average below the award score. For example, a bowler with a 49 average can earn the 50-game emblem.

 

Special achievement awards for all bowlers also have been updated. All bowlers are eligible to earn emblems starting with a 125 game. Game-score emblems continue in 25-pin increments up to a 275 game. Also, series awards begin at 300 and are offered in 50-pin intervals up to a 750 series.

 

My Comments:

This is the one change I agree whole-heartedly with.

 

From USBC:

Starting with the 2009-10 league season, USBC Youth membership will be available to bowlers who have not reached their 20th birthday on or before Aug. 1 of the current bowling season.

 

My Comments:

Before this change any bowler who hadn’t turned 22 before 1 Aug of the current season was eligible to be a youth bowler.  I don’t see how reducing the maximum youth age by 2 years will increase membership.  My thoughts are this will reduce the youth by 4 years.  I’m thinking college bowlers, thinking they have to go adult, may do so as soon as they enter college versus waiting two years and dealing with youth and adult while in college.

 

Conclusion:

Personally, Sadly, I think USBC has tragically missed the mark in their attempt to increase youth membership.  I think what ever was in the room when these changes were discussed, needs to be shared with the rest of us.  I’m interested in everyone’s thoughts to this.  Please provide a comment below, I’d like to hear from you.

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6 responses to “USBC Changes Youth Program by Ed Cotter

  1. I am going to add some of my own comments below.

    USBC Changes Youth Program by Ed Cotter

    USBC will be making several changes to the youth program in an effort to increase youth participation. Personally, I don’t think they even come close, even if you use a weapon of mass destruction to hit the target, to implementing changes that will increase youth enrollment. Here are the excerpts and my comments.

    From USBC:

    The USBC Board of Directors, based on recommendations by the USBC Youth Committee, approved several major changes to the structure of current USBC Youth programs. As participation in youth sports is on the rise in America, the changes set forth for USBC Youth programs will attract more youth bowlers to participate in certified league play.

    From USBC:

    In the new membership delivery system, bowling centers will have the option to directly process memberships, averages and awards to USBC. In many areas, local associations will continue that function; however, with this change, bowling centers now have the ability to decide whether to take sole responsibility for youth processing, or continue to work with local associations as they have in the past.

    My comments:

    This sounds like a band-aid fix to broken processes in some associations. Why not fix the process before introducing more changes and opportunity for failure. I think this will create membership issues and confusion trying to coordinate average information for youth tournaments.

    David Charron – Comments
    While I agree that this is a band-aid fix. Put yourself in the shoes of those Youth Programs in areas where the Associations are so messed up, or those that care little about the youth programs. They probably are welcoming the fact that the USBC has given the centers an avenue to take over the managing of the Youth Programs to better serve the Youth Memebership. There are very little consequences for association officers who fail their memebership, simply vote them out of office, or have them removed from office.

    From USBC:

    USBC Youth Basic Membership will cost $5 and be available to all youth who bowl in a league that meets for 12 sessions or less. The Youth Basic Membership benefits include:

    USBC Youth Membership Card
    One issue of US Youth Bowler
    USBC recognized average
    The ability to participate in USBC certified tournaments
    League award emblems
    Purchasable awards
    In addition, USBC Youth Standard Membership will continue to be offered. The cost of the Standard membership will be fixed at $17 nationwide. This membership option will be available to all youth, regardless of the length of the league. The current benefits to the Youth Standard Membership are:

    USBC Youth Membership Card
    Four issues of US Youth Bowler
    USBC recognized average
    Ability to participate in USBC certified tournaments
    Revamped youth awards program

    My Comments:

    The lower cost membership is going to add confusion. The lower membership mentions league award emblems, which are already part of any sanction league. But those expecting achievement awards, and what youth doesn’t, are going to be surprised to learn that they have to purchase their awards. Jumping the standard membership $6 is a major step.

    David Charron – Comments

    I think what USBC is going for here, is the ability to offer a lower memebership cost for a short season league to try to get more interest in the sport by being able to offer a lower cost option for those youth you can’t commit to a long season. Remember that when you have a League which starts in September and lasts until April, you are running into youth who also wish to participate in Soccer in the Fall and Basketball in the winter. Now imagine if you could offer a 10 week introductory league from February through April and the memebership only costs $5 – maybe you grow your program, by getting those bowler interested and they like it better than soccer or basketball or both. or maybe not and they continue to do all three, either way you are possibly building a LEAGUE bowler who will continue to bowl as an adult.

    From USBC:

    Special achievement awards will be available to bowlers 12 and under, and these awards will carry the Bowlopolis theme and characters. The emblems will include recognition for a 50, 75 and 100 game as well as a 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300 series. For a bowler to earn any of these awards, he or she must average below the award score. For example, a bowler with a 49 average can earn the 50-game emblem.

    Special achievement awards for all bowlers also have been updated. All bowlers are eligible to earn emblems starting with a 125 game. Game-score emblems continue in 25-pin increments up to a 275 game. Also, series awards begin at 300 and are offered in 50-pin intervals up to a 750 series.

    My Comments:

    This is the one change I agree whole-heartedly with.

    David Charron – Comments
    I agree completely as well, achievement awards are what the youth programs should be based on, these keep the young bowlers excited and keep them motivated on improvement.

    From USBC:

    Starting with the 2009-10 league season, USBC Youth membership will be available to bowlers who have not reached their 20th birthday on or before Aug. 1 of the current bowling season.

    My Comments:

    Before this change any bowler who hadn’t turned 22 before 1 Aug of the current season was eligible to be a youth bowler. I don’t see how reducing the maximum youth age by 2 years will increase membership. My thoughts are this will reduce the youth by 4 years. I’m thinking college bowlers, thinking they have to go adult, may do so as soon as they enter college versus waiting two years and dealing with youth and adult while in college.

    David Charron – Comments
    I agree I am not sure what USBC was thinking here. Reducing the age limit is obviously going to lessen membership, but probably not by staggering numbers, I think most Youth stop bowling youth programs at age 18 or 19.

    Conclusion:

    Personally, Sadly, I think USBC has tragically missed the mark in their attempt to increase youth membership. I think what ever was in the room when these changes were discussed, needs to be shared with the rest of us. I’m interested in everyone’s thoughts to this. Please provide a comment below, I’d like to hear from you.

    David Charron – Comments
    I think that USBC has the right intentions, and I feel as though some of these changes if embraced by the local associations can go a long way to enhance and increase the number of Youth Bowlers who participate. I think when considering all the changes that are being made, that we need to look at the bigger picture. Remember the world is a big place, and what might not make sense in Portland, Maine, or Brunswick, Maine, or Lewiston, Maine, or Bangor, Maine, makes perfect sense in Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Atlanta, etc etc …

    • Thank you for your response David.

      Response to Center Management of Youth – my fear is that associations that are struggling with youth programs will view this as a way out and drop all involvement with the youth. I like the idea, based on what you addressed. This just opens the window for more issues and youth programs will be the ones to suffer. If associations and bowling centers can’t work together for the youth, then how do we retain them as adults?

      Response to Lower Membership Cost – my concern is those parents, to save money, who select the lower membership but want their child to receive awards. Then they’re surprised when they learn they have to purchase award(s) they didn’t have to before. I agree this is a good way to entice new bowlers without having to spend a lot of money. I don’t see why the current membership has to go up to $17 when the idea is to offer a second option.

      Response to Maximum Age – I know in my area, most youth stay in the youth program as long as possible. I witnessed this fact at the national youth events (Jr Gold, Pepsi, and the Open) I have attended with my boys for the past two years. I was surprised to see the number 18-22 year old bowlers at these events. The only conclusion I can come to is that there are a lot of youth that stay in the youth program until no longer eligible. I am a firm believer of having youth stay youth until no longer eligible.

      Response to Conclusion – Some of the worst disasters to befall us have happened as the result of best intentions. Thing about a few and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I don’t feel all the pitfalls of each of these actions were completely thought through. As an application analyst, it’s my job to tear apart software and find where it will fail. I can’t assume that people will use the software as it was intended. As an association manager and youth supervisor, I have to do the same for the youth programs. If these items are adopted and employed as USBC expects, there are some positives. The downside is just as you said, this is a big world. Just as many things can go right, an equal number can go disastrously wrong.

  2. Bonnie Harzewski

    I think the age change could leave a gap in the bowling for the youth. College students not on a school team may not be ready to bowl with the adult leagues and drop out of bowling for a while. And where does this leave college teams? With much confusion I would guess.

    As for the membership cost, I have 3 kids bowling. I don’t want that much of an increase. Given the choice, we may go with the lower membership and forget about awards. So the USBC may be looking at less dues coming in, if others agree with us.

    • Bonnie,
      I have to agree with you. I feel more parents are going to pick the $5 oprion to save money. If that’s the case, membership may increase, but revenue won’t. If revenue doesn’t increase, what happens to all of the youth programs? Where does the money come from? As I stated in my blog, I don’t think these changes were completely thought through.

  3. Bonnie Harzewski

    Thanks for adding the link to the FAQ to the youth page. In that list I saw something that might affect my decision. For the basic membership, you would pay that fee for each league the child is in. Is that true of the standard membership as well? I don’t remember having to pay again in the past as long as it’s the same year.

    One of the answers, I believe, stated that basic memberships are for shorter leagues – not the standard youth league.

    • Bonnie,
      The $5 youth fee is for no more than a 12 week (3 month) league. The standard membership (which will be $17) will still work as it does now (1 Aug – 31 Jul). The $5 membership is only good for the length of the league it was purchased in. Meaning if the bowler joins another league after the revious one, they must pay $5 again.

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