In an effort to provide a more efficient and rewarding system, the United States Bowling Congress will implement several changes in the USBC Youth program starting with the 2009-10 season.
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.
The changes will affect how memberships are processed, offer a new short-season membership product, restructure the awards program and lower the maximum age for youth bowlers.
Membership delivery and processing Youth bowling represents the future of USBC; therefore, it is vitally important to make it easy for youth league bowlers to become USBC Youth Members. Starting with the 2009-10 season, changes to the membership delivery and processing structure will be put in place to expand the reach of the USBC Youth program.
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.
Additional details concerning the new USBC Youth programs will be released once they are finalized.
Membership options In the past, USBC Youth membership consisted of two products, USBC Youth Standard and USBC Junior Gold. Starting in the 2009-10 season, a third product - USBC Youth Basic Membership - has been added.
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
In addition to these benefits, the Youth Development Team is pursuing additional membership benefits for the Standard Membership that will be announced at a later date.
Junior Gold Membership will continue to have a $30 membership fee and include an upgrade to Sport Bowling Membership; however, for 2009-10, the average requirement has been adjusted to make this elite-level program available to a larger number of the top male and top female youth bowlers.
The new average requirement for girls has been adjusted to 150, while the requirement for boys will remain at 175. The change in average requirement was necessary to extend the program to an equal percentage of the top male and top female youth bowlers.
Youth Awards Program The Youth Awards Program will undergo significant changes for the 2009-10 league season. These changes represent USBC's response to feedback from associations, bowling centers and youth coordinators across the country.
The new structure will better match awards to the skill level of the youth bowler. An increased number of special achievement awards have been added to the lineup, raising the total number of awards offered to 25, up from 18.
USBC Youth will offer average-based awards for achievement in certified competition in 25-pin intervals for games and 50-pin intervals for series. Awards will be limited to one per season, per achievement. Once an award has been earned in any classification, bowlers are only eligible for the higher awards on a progressive merit basis.
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.
All of the emblems will carry new USBC designs for the 2009-10 league season.
For the 2009-10 league season, USBC has revamped the High Score Awards Program. Youth members who bowl a 300 game, 800 series or 900 series will receive a newly-designed USBC honor score ring to commemorate their special achievement. Also, a new award has been designed for bowlers who roll 11 strikes in a row.
Maximum age 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.
For answers to some of the more common questions concerning these changes, click here.