Summer program lets local kids bowl for free
Kids are lacing up their bowling shoes at Wagner's Lanes as part of a summer program that goes easy on the wallet.
Kids Bowl Free is a national program aimed at giving kids something fun to do this summer. The program gives kids two free games of bowling each day throughout the summer. All you have to do is pay for the shoes. “It’s really a good way to promote the sport. It’s a sport you can do for lifelong so we really like to get the kids started early," said Ben Peterson, Regional Bowling Manager for King Pin Management.
Peterson says the program has grown over the last decade, nationally and throughout Canada. "It’s something we're proud to participate in both at Wagner's and Broadway Bowl in Menomonie," he said.
While the bowling program is just about having fun and not a competition, Peterson hopes it gets kids interested in the junior bowling leagues. "Nationally the numbers are down, league bowlers are down, it’s a sport that was very popular, 20-30 years ago, the people that are participating in that, some are aging out," said Peterson.
Parents say the free program is a great way to introduce the younger generation to the sport. Aron O’Connell, a long-time League Bowler got his son involved with Kids Bowl Free several years ago. He says his son has learned a lot from the experience. “He started in the junior leagues and now he's going to be a junior in high school and he's going to be on varsity high school team. He also goes to state every year now with it because he just learned so much from the adults here and the program itself," said O’Connell.
Peterson says it’s really important that bowling centers make an effort to strengthen youth numbers in active leagues. “It’s important to get new bowlers to join, try to cultivate some bowlers that are going to stick around bowling in our leagues and not even in Eau Claire but all across the country," he said.
He hopes this program will help keep the spirit of bowling alive.
The Kids Bowl Free Program is available from 11AM to 7PM and runs through September 1st.