Today was our area's USBC Town Meeting. This was an open meeting with the "higher ups" of USBC to be introduced to some of the new ideas they have to gain membership and hopefully better the sport. Any sanctioned bowler was welcome.
The hottest topic was the change in Youth bowling. No longer can youth compete after age 20. And it starts Aug.1st; period. At that time all 20 year olds will have to go adult or quit bowling. No more scholarship. Their resoning is that of the 250000 bowlers in the National Youth program, only 1600 are over 20. It also inhibits international youth play, since most countries stop youth participation at 18 or 20. They also argued that the physical ability of a 22 year old should never be put in competition with those that are 13 or 15. Its not fair. Even though they recognized that some 20 year olds do not average over 200 and some 15 year olds do. Its a broad based perception of what is youth. And 21+ is not it. This is a done deal
Youth membership dues. Are going up. $17. With 2 to local, 1 to state, and 14 to National. This hurts many higher economic areas like California, New York, Washington DC since they can no longer adjust their local dues to match their higher cost of living in those areas. When questioned about this, the response was to cut back on other local awards that may be given and make up the loss by raising tournament fees. The raise in youth dues is a done deal
. Adult dues are also going up, but that is waiting for the National convention and vote. For some reason USBC doesn't believe that youth dues should be up for vote.
Awards will change for next year. No vote. On the positive side, rings will be back for youth. Now that they cut out the higher age group that is more likely to earn them. Anyway, youth will now get rings for 300 and 800. Emblems are gone for everyone except those 12 and under. The 12 and under youth will still get emblems and pins. Everyone else will get "refridgerator magnets" and pins. Yep, refridgerator magnets. The structure for the awards will also change. The average requirement will be higher for 200 game award for example. Also many awards will be now available as certificates that you print out yourself online. Awards such as Dutch 200, ,7 10 split, Big Four, 75 pins over average will now be up to the bowler to print out themselves if she choose.
A basic Youth membership will be available for leagues less then 12 weeks long; $5. Rationale for this was that due to the amount of sports available to youth like baseball, soccer, football etc.... this shorter league format may allow some youth to bowl and sanction when they otherwise would not have due to wanting to play the other sports more. This is in an effort to hopefully gain some of the non sanctioned youth after school programs and others, of which they estimated there are 500000 - 750000 participants.
An "Affinity" program will be in place to give USBC members discounts for things like certain hotels, storage
companies, moving companies, cell phone providers.
That's what comes to mind from a 5 hour meeting and it now being 1am in the morning. If anyone has questions I will try to answer them and will have my notes (which are copious) handy.