Youth Bowl Canada (YBC) in Williams Lake has been rolling along safely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
With several sports forced to change or modify rules and practice regiments, young bowlers have been able to carry on relatively unaffected due to the nature of the sport outside of their normal out-of-town tournaments.
With a team of four coaches —Kevin McAlpine (junior), Lindsey Kelly (bantam), Jamie LeBlanc (peewee) and Lisa McAlpine — roughly 11 youth bowlers have been honing their skills in the sport since the season began in September at Cariboo Bowling Lanes.
“We did take a hit this year in terms of our numbers because of COVID, but it’s been going great,” Kevin said. “In some ways we’re able to provide more one-on-one coaching so it works out in that respect a little better.”
Working on skills and improvement has been the focus to date, with fun games mixed in throughout the weekly Thursday night practice sessions to keep things interesting for bowlers.
Both Kevin and Lisa have bowled at a high level (Kevin is a national-level bowler, and Lisa is a masters-level bowler), and said they’ve enjoyed having two new coaches on board this year.
“It’s nice we’ve got a coach in each division and we’re able to just coach a little more, and hopefully when this is all over we can start getting our numbers back up for enrolment,” he said.
Currently, adults and their children are allowed to bowl at Cariboo Bowling Lanes, however, regular league bowling nights have been cancelled for the time being due to provincial health restrictions surrounding organized sports.
The bowling alley has also reduced its days of operation to Thursday through Sunday.
“We just want people to know we’re still running, and there are still fun things to do for the kids [despite the pandemic],” Kevin said. “It’s great fun and the kids enjoy it.”
Kevin said anyone interested in taking part in YBC bowling can do so by drop-in on Thursdays at 3:45 p.m., with bowling getting underway by 4 p.m.