Spectrum Bowling League wrapped up for season

Spectrum Bowling League run by Spectrum Adult Services finished the season on May 16th with a final bowling day and pot-luck supper.

Spectrum Bowling League run by Spectrum Adult Services finished the season on May 16th with a final bowling day and pot-luck supper.

The league had about 10 bowlers this year who ranged in age from 12 to 20 years old and they played the third Wednesday of every month at Railside Bowl from fall until spring.

Spectrum Adult Services is the adult portion of K-C Community Services and is under the umbrella of services that K-C provides.

Family Supports Director Sheryll Bowey said the bowling program which began three years ago has the same goal as other programs they run. “The focus is really not bowling, it’s a way to get people together. We don’t even keep track of bowling scores anymore because sometimes that’s a cause for anxiety for some of our kids. We just kind of take that stressful piece out and it’s just so much more about having fun and getting together and seeing your friends.”

That sentiment is echoed by third year volunteer Julie Maplethorpe who points out that social interaction is a big part of the once a month program. “I think social skills are probably the biggest thing I’ve seen, just being comfortable with each other and with themselves too. I’ve seen a lot of them who have way more self-confidence.”

Maplethorpe said that confidence wasn’t there three years ago. What began as a group of kids who just sat waiting for their turn became a special evening. A combination of programs and school have played a large role in that change. “I think a lot of them entered high school in the last year or so and that’s made quite a difference in the things that they’re involved in and their circle of friends has expanded.” Maplethorpe said it’s important to have special needs people involved in the community and to keep them social with people who understand challenges.

Pia Guenter’s daughter Leandra is part of the Spectrum Bowling League and Pia said the program has many positives. “I guess the greatest value is just doing something in the community with somebody else and going out and doing something with other participants so they would not have to go just by themselves. Their peers probably do the same but they can just go on their own and they can’t, so I think it’s very important that there is a program out there where they can participate.” Pia would like the program to keep evolving. “I kind of would like to see a more inclusive program instead of just a youth program but until that happens I am very happy that we have this program.”

Bowey said the inclusion aspect is something she is working on. “We’ve invited students from the high school at different times. That hasn’t really come to fruition. We haven’t had people come. I am making more of an effort now to have some of the older high school students involved with us especially as soon as they turn 18.” Bowey added that students who are 16 years old can become involved in day and summer camps and she is working on that. “We would always welcome anyone else from the community to join us. We would like for anybody to join us and I talk about that when I’m throughout the community.”

Bowey said more bowlers would allow them to have younger people bowl together and the older players could bowl together but the social aspect would see everyone as a group sharing what’s going on in their lives before and after the games.

Leandra Guenter took time between frames to say her favourite part of the program is “being with all these people” as she waved to her friends and cheered them on. Leandra said the social part is the best part of bowling and she likes being with and seeing all her friends at the program. Her mom Pia said all of the participants probably feel meeting friends is the most important part of the activity.

Bowey said, “that is the goal of everything that we do. It’s for them to be comfortable in social situations and talking with other people, so it’s fantastic.” She also stressed that the community benefits. “I think it helps prepare younger people to be more involved in the community to feel like they’re more a part of the community. To want to be involved in activities that involve other people, to want to get to know other people, to get comfortable with people. It helps them be better citizens, truly. Everything that we do is to help them feel and be included in the community and be citizens who can be valued because they give something back to the community.”

Sheryll Bowey also thanked Railside Bowl for their contribution to the Spectrum Bowling League. The staff at Railside Bowl has been extremely hospitable and that has added to the success of the program.

by Tom Kostiuk – Special to Sylvan Lake News