ARLINGTON, Texas - Carol Gardner of Houston has been selected to receive the 2013 United States Bowling Congress Youth Volunteer of the Year Award by the USBC Youth Committee.
The prestigious award recognizes an adult volunteer who has displayed outstanding efforts to foster, organize and promote youth bowling at the local, state and/or national levels.
"This is a very special honor because, to me, it means I have done something positive for our youth bowlers," Gardner said. "To know I have made a difference for our youth bowlers is the most rewarding feeling. There are many individuals who are so deserving of this award for all of their time and efforts they put forth towards our youth bowlers and programs. To actually be the one selected as the recipient is simply unbelievable."
Gardner became involved in youth bowling when her son started in the sport. With his game quickly developing, she began searching for tournaments and leagues for him. When she found it difficult to find information, she decided to start a website so young bowlers and their parents could find information in one place. Gardner also turned to social media, starting the Houston Youth Bowling Group page on Facebook to post information and current news.
She learned from the youth bowlers that they simply needed someone to help them find the right information. She also organized Junior Gold practice sessions, started a tough-shot league she helped coach, and at high school tournaments, she would talk to college coaches about graduating seniors who wanted to continue bowling in college.
"Our youth bowlers are such great kids, and I would do whatever I could to make the sport better for them," Gardner said. "I want to see them develop their games and have all opportunities made available to them."
Youth bowler Madeleine McDuff said Gardner's efforts have helped her and many others. In her nomination letter, McDuff said Gardner doesn't care what school you attend or at which center you bowl, "she is ALWAYS there to help whoever needs it."
Gardner also is involved with high school bowling. She is the district coordinator for the Katy ISD Bowling Club and created a website that includes standings, rules, schedules, pictures, and more. She prepared a PowerPoint presentation about the positive aspects of high school bowling, which her son and another youth bowler presented to the legislative committee of the Texas University Interscholastic League at the annual meeting in an attempt to get bowling recognized as varsity athletic sport.
Gardner comes from a bowling family. Her parents are members of both the Houston Bowling Hall of Fame and Texas Bowling Hall of Fame. She took part in American Junior Bowling Congress and Young American Bowling Alliance junior programs. She also bowled collegiately for the University of Houston.
She had moved away from the sport while raising her family, but again took it up when she joined her son for an adult/youth summer league.
For being selected as the USBC Youth Volunteer of the Year, Gardner will receive an expenses-paid trip to the USBC Convention in Reno, Nev., where she will be presented with the award.
Go to BOWL.com/scholarships to learn more about youth scholarships and awards.