This may seem like a strange topic, but this seemingly simple cause is one that has come to mean so much more to me in a short period of time... yes, it's true, I want to bring back bowling.
Allow me to explain. Four months ago, following the untimely death of my father, I made the decision to move back to my small hometown in rural Alberta. I found a good job at a social service agency and have been working to re-engage the place where I was born and raised. It has felt like a strange dream. I left when I was 17 to pursue my dreams out in the world, and return more than 20 years later following divorce and disappointment yet the strength that comes from learning to survive.
My town, it seems, has not fared much better. In the twenty-plus years since I left (give or take), the town has lost its outdoor pool, numerous businesses, a theatre and drive-in theatre, and yes, it has lost its bowling alley.
It is a small rural community; a retirement community; a hub of mental health services, and there is nothing wrong with these things - but what about the hundreds of young people still here? The families? There are no shopping malls here to ease the pain of a long winter; the new pool, Tim Hortons and Dairy Queen are lovely, but located far on the outskirts of town and clearly not meant for the town's youth. Where do we go from here?
I have been researching solutions and comparing teen centres across the province, but do not want to duplicate previous efforts (which involved putting the teens in the basement of an old hall, where they still managed to get into trouble)... I want to re-engage this hometown of mine, and bring the community together. I want to create just a small variation of the big-city amenities I have witnessed in my years away; a social space; a place for children to play and youth to hang out year-round; and I want to house these ideals within a facility that offers a recreational activity for everybody - I want to bring back bowling.
I have launched my plan by applying for a grant through the Aviva Community Fund Competition online and am working hard to engage my community to vote, but it does not have to stop there. Do you support the revitalization of small rural communities? Is it fair that towns an hour away from the nearest cities should have entertainment and recreation for their young people and families? If you think so, please feel free to vote for my idea on the Aviva website:
Let's bring back not just bowling, but a sense of community connection and pride. Let's show people what is possible when we all work together. Let's let creativity soar!
In sincere thanks.