Jr. Jack Attack program launches at St Helens

by admin on September 14, 2014

Primary school children at St Helens have become the first in Tasmania to be introduced to lawn bowls through an exciting new participation product called Junior Jack Attack, as Bowls Tasmania reports . Developed by Bowls Australia earlier this year, the product was launched at the St Helens Bowling Club recently through the Active After School program which aims to introduce young children to sport. Active After School spokesman Ralph Morris said the program was designed to be fun and inclusive. “It’s also safe and it’s highly active,” Mr Morris said. “And the Jr. Jack Attack product is exactly the sort of thing that appeals to young children.” Mr Morris praised the St Helens Bowling Club for getting behind the project. Having identified the limitations of children using full-size bowls that have been designed for adults, Bowls Australia developed the Jr. Jack Attack initiative. It comes in the form of a kit that includes a carry bag, 32 light-weight rubber bowls, eight jacks, 50 cones, a target score mat, eight stepping mats and activity cards. It can be played on a range of surfaces, including greens, carpets, concrete, wooden floors and just about anything else that is flat which removes the restrictions of requiring a bowling green to introduce new audiences to the sport. The St Helens Club is one of the first in Tasmania to use the product which is aimed primarily at primary school children, aged between seven and 14. St Helens president Mark Dickinson said the children had responded incredibly well to the initiative. “We’ve been running the program for several weeks and the kids just love it,” Mr Dickinson said. “With the help of our members, three of which are club coaches, we’ve been taking kids from grades 3-6 on Tuesdays and grades 2 and under on Wednesdays. “We had three consistent juniors at the club last season and we could have up to eight this year which means that about 15% of our club’s membership are youngsters and that’s great for the future of our sport,” he said. The Federal Liberal Member for Lyons, Eric Hutchinson, attended the launch and was delighted with what he saw. “The St Helens Club has developed a close relationship with the District High School across the road,” Mr Hutchinson said. “A regular part of the bowls club week is its school program. “One hundred students from both the primary and high schools play bowls as part of their curriculum under the federally-funded Active After School Communities program,” he said. Children as young as six already know how to put a bowl down and understand that bowls have a bias. “That means the bowls turn, you know” said six-year-old Elka Crossingham. “It’s really good fun and I love playing bowls and I get some big scores in some of the games we play,” she said. Bowls Tasmania has purchased several Jr. Jack Attack kits and any club wishing to view one should contact Bowls Australia Development Officer Simon Morrison. “This is a fantastic product and quite a few clubs throughout Tasmania have decided to purchase one,” Mr Morrison said. “It’s a great way of introducing young children to the sport.”