WALLENPAUPACK - Wallenpaupack Area School District has been asked to add bowling to their list of high school (WAHS) sports electives.

WALLENPAUPACK -  Wallenpaupack Area School District has been asked to add bowling to their list of high school (WAHS) sports electives.
     Eric Gumble, the Youth Director at the Wallenpaupack Bowling Center, offered the proposal to the School Board June 16th. He just asked for the District to provide transportation for high school students from and back to school, and someone responsible to watch over them.
    WAHS, he said, has a phenomenal sports program for students but bowling has been overlooked for many years. He stated that bowling is an all-inclusive sport, not dependent on age or ability like so many other sports and one that can be enjoyed all life long. Both boys and girls would be welcome and the Center, he said, has had many kids with handicaps.
    Not aware of any other school in the Wayne or Pike County area offering bowling, Gumble proposed that they would start with an intramural program, breaking into their own teams to play against each other.
    Wallenpaupack Bowling Center would cover the costs of the intramural program, he said. If the high school program developed they could form a league and compete with other school districts, such as in Lackawanna County. In that event, he said, there are grants available for WAHS to seek that would cover expenses of bowling equipment, uniforms and dues.
    Scholarships for youth engaged in bowling are available from a variety of sources, including the United States Bowling Congress, Bowler Proprietors Association of America and bowling retail companies Wallenpaupack Bowling Center had an active youth program, where since 2008 the Center has distributed over $35,000 to students for post-secondary education.
    Gumble said in an interview that they had one boy who paid for his entire college career through bowling scholarships and tournaments.
   He said the Center would help the School District get the program started. He suggested that 15 to 20 percent of WAHS students participate in sport programs, Bowling, Gumble suggested, would encourage youth not active in main-stream sports to be involved. "It could be 60 to 70 percent," he said.
    Wallenpaupack Bowling Center has 12 lanes. If they limited the program time to two games only they could easily accommodate 36 students, and possibly 48, Gumble said. The higher limit would not allow as much time for teaching them to bowling.
      More than just a chance to bowl, Gumble said that the Center would provide as much instruction as they can within the time frame available and still get the kids back to school to catch the late bus home. "This would be organized, coached- a learning experience," he said, adding, "not, 'let's hang out at the bowling center.'" Gumble stated that they have no problem eliminating a participant from the program if there was any problem.
      Superintendent Michael Silsby said that years ago the School District had a bowling activity at the local lanes. The high school would send a chaperone along.
   Although details have not all been worked out, pending approval by the School District, Gumble suggested in the interview that there could be two or three sessions in he school year. each lasting possibly 10 weeks. He suggested that would allow a student to try another sport program as well that the high school offers.  
     Several school board members asked questions of Gumble, who then elaborated further.
     Silsby added that for next school year the District is planning to work with Woodloch Springs on a similar concept, to provide golfing opportunities for students. He told Gumble that they would be back in touch with him about the bowling proposal.
     Gumble presented a petition from approximately 45 parents who signed, asking the School District to start a bowling program.