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CERTIFICATES TO REPLACE PATCHES AS USBC YOUTH GAME AND SERIES AWARDS IN FALL 2013
In an effort to provide products and services of value and use to members, the USBC Youth Committee is making a change to special achievement youth awards. Special achievement awards are currently patches recognizing game and series score milestones. Feedback from youth leaders indicate recognition is important for young bowlers, but the patches currently being awarded are not being used. Therefore, starting in the 2013-14 season, USBC National will discontinue sending patches for score recognition to associations and centers as part of a membership kit. The league awards and association champion awards will remain part of the kit.

USBC Youth no longer will set requirements for special achievement awards at the national level. Moving forward, local processors have the freedom to create awards programs to best fit their bowlers. This change is similar to policy recently announced for USBC adult membership; however, the youth change goes into effect in fall 2013, while the adult change takes place in fall 2014.

In order to provide youth leaders a turnkey award program for young bowlers, USBC will offer printable special achievement awards certificates at no cost through the online Youth Resource Center. Click here  to go to the Youth Resource Center and see the new certificates, which can allow local youth leaders to instantly recognize a young bowler. Use the password youth (all lowercase). Once you are in the Youth Resource Center, click on the USBC tab and then click on awards.

For youth programs that wish to continue offering patches, the current patches will be made available for purchase at a cost of 40 cents ($.40) each. Again, there is no requirement to continue offering these awards or to use the current achievement requirements. Local organizers have the freedom to do what they feel is best for their area.  Click here for order forms.

High score awards such as rings, plaques and trophies for 300 games, 800 series and 11-in-a-row are not affected by this change. Sport Bowling awards also are not affected.

The IBC Youth staff is working to make the transition as smooth as possible. We realize there will be questions about the change, so in conjunction with youth organizers on the USBC Board, we have answered some anticipated questions. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.


WHY THE YOUTH AWARDS ARE CHANGING
The USBC Youth Committee, in conjunction with staff, is working on a dynamically new membership product for the 2014-15 season. As part of this project, associations and bowling center operators provided feedback about awards. Both groups overwhelmingly believe some type of awards are valuable, and both agreed patches are not being worn or displayed by a majority of the youth bowlers today.  

Rather than continue to spend more than $100,000 annually on a patch recognition system, the USBC Youth Committee decided to make a change as soon as possible and direct the savings toward future programs

Since its creation, the International Bowling Campus Youth Development team has made some strides to stabilize youth bowling. For the 2012-13 season, youth membership is tracking to show growth for the first time in many seasons. One of the ways this was accomplished was by offering a free membership product this past year as part of the "8 for 8" promotion. More than 6,000 young bowlers participated in the promotion with 92 percent being new bowlers.

There are reasons for optimism, but the efforts to grow youth bowling have an expense. The current one-size-fits-all awards model does not meet the needs of youth bowlers and is not a wise financial model for the future. The USBC Youth Committee believes it makes more sense to adjust the awards program rather than increase prices to fund patches often left behind in the settee area.

This change is approved by the USBC Youth Committee and the USBC Board of Directors. A workshop is planned for the 2013 USBC Convention to provide additional details. USBC staff will be reaching out to more youth program leaders in the coming months for input so together we can work toward making this a positive change for our youth bowlers.

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