It is our hope that this is the beginning of a national forum to connect bowlers and clubs across Canada.
I have been fortunate to travel across the country and speak with bowlers from coast to coast. No matter where I go, there is always one common question: “What are other clubs doing?” This blog represents the opportunity to find the answer to that question.
Bowls Canada’s bold new vision “Bringing Canadians Together Through Bowls” is all about creating meaningful connections. Connections with our local communities, connections between national and provincial associations, connections between national and local associations, connections with each other. In a country as large as Canada, it is not always easy to connect. We hope that Biased Bowls will provide a meaningful way to help connect us on common issues. Opportunities to dialogue don’t mean that we will always agree, but I am confident that we can always be constructive and respectful. One thing I can always take to the bank is that Canadian bowlers are always passionate about their sport and are always coming from a common place of love for this game.
For this blog to be successful, it needs contributions from bowlers across Canada who are implementing creative solutions to help their clubs thrive in a landscape that is ever-changing. One face of this landscape is the changing face of “membership” in Canadian sport. Canadians, especially Millennials, are demonstrating that they do not wish to “chain” themselves to just one facility, instead preferring to “play the field.” The evolution of “sport and social clubs” is occurring all over the country, promising connections and socialization while playing a multitude of sports. Long have we thought that people didn’t join bowls clubs because the membership fee was to dear. And yet, Canadians show us over and over that they are willing to spend that amount two, three and sometimes even four times over for the privilege to play “without strings attached”.
Finding new ways to adapt to this evolving culture is going to be critical to our ability to survive and thrive. The Nutana Lawn Bowls Club took this challenge on and embraced new ways to view participation. What if they could channel this new desire to “participate”, but not “belong” into something that would benefit everyone? What if there was a way to encourage more people to play bowls and still contribute to the bottom line of revenue that the club needed to survive? In her first Biased Bowls blog post, Frances Scott shares how Nutana used a Mixed Triples League to turn around the club’s finances, support existing members and show the community of Saskatoon that bowls is the hottest sport in town.
Biased Bowls will also be home to the popular “Ask an Umpire” column that ran in Extra Ends. Tagging each post with key words means that blog readers can use the search feature to see if an answer to their question already exists on the blog. For example, you could type “dead end” into the search bar and see that there are two posts that address dead ends: “Touchers, Dead Bowls and Chalking” and “Conditions of Play and International Laws”.
Going back to my cross-country bowls check-up, people told me that they wanted to know how other clubs were fund-raising, club building, creating value propositions for membership, creating connections with their surrounding community, increasing revenues, screening volunteers, empowering board members, meeting safe sport legislation requirements, and on and on. Across Canada, clubs are implementing creative and amazing programs. We want to use Biased Bowls to share your great ideas. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you are doing in your club. Want to see some specific content? Drop us a line and we will do our best to source a blog for you. Above all, we want Biased Bowls to be a blog by bowlers, for bowlers.
I am looking forward to creating meaningful connections with all of you!
Yours in bowls,
Executive Director, Bowls Canada