Clubs around the country are actively coming up with new ideas to not only attract juniors to our game but most importantly to retain them.
Raymond Terrace in Newcastle NSW are utilizing their elite players to work with junior bowlers from local schools; the word is spreading and now the ‘Jet’s Academy’ has 17 members aged between nine and 17.
Natasha Scott, Lennon Scott and Matthew Baus all work for Raymond Terrace Bowling Club and dedicate their time introducing new young bowlers, training with and against them and nurturing the kids by playing alongside them in events like club championships.
The Jet’s Academy train together two days a week, Monday and Thursday, and are trained in all aspects of the game (both on and off the green) by some of the country’s most elite bowlers.
The Academy is divided into two sections, the ‘Growth Squadron’ and the ‘Scholarship Group’ which is based on their level of experience in the game.
The Growth Squadron receive a set of bowls to use in practice (remaining in the possession of the bowling club) and each member is given Jet’s Academy uniforms; however there is the incentive for these new bowlers to obtain a scholarship if they work hard and show promise in the sport.
In order to be selected in the Scholarship Group, juniors must show commitment to the program and to the sport, they receive a set of sponsored Aero Bowls, a new Aero Bowls bag, Aero Bowls shoes, the Jet’s Academy uniform and access to a scholarship fund that can only be used for their educational purposes.
Each and every member of the Jet’s Academy receive free membership for their entire time in the program, tournament entry fees paid for by the club and also their District Championships entry covered by the Raymond Terrace.
Raymond Terrace run annual Junior Championships that consist of junior singles and pairs and is a great way for these juniors to get competitive games against people their own age.
Having the likes of Australian Jackaroos Natasha Scott and Matthew Baus is a luxury for the club; the wealth of knowledge they have of the game, the journey they have taken from inexperienced junior bowlers themselves to now being considered some of the best bowlers in the country is great motivation for the Jet’s Academy kids to follow in their footsteps.
Recently the Academy had a visit by International Bowler of the Year Aron Sherriff which they all loved and took away a lot from the experience of meeting the man that is widely regarded as Australia’s best.
The next generation of Australian representatives may well be training at Raymond Terrace today and they would certainly be deserving recipients with all the hard work they are putting in on the greens and the generous support they are receiving from Raymond Terrace helping them be the best they can be!
Caption- Aron Sherriff meeting the Jet’s Academy