Written by Special Olympics Australia
At Special Olympics Australia, we rely on the dedication and efforts of our volunteers to provide opportunities for our athletes to play sport. Calvin Jenkins is one such volunteer.
We shared Calvin’s story during National Volunteer Week. He is the driving force behind Special Olympics Tenpin Bowling in Tasmania and has been able to grow participation by leveraging a relationship with Tenpin Bowling Tasmania and their associated bowling leagues.
In the Hobart region, Calvin runs a weekly Special Olympics Southern training session and league on Sundays at Moonah Zone Bowling which has been extremely successful with our Special Olympics community. He is also a very popular ‘Lane Ranger’ for Bowl Patrol in Hobart, starting most of the juniors on their pathway to learning how to bowl. In addition, Calvin encourages others to start their coaching pathway, via a combination of mentoring and online training.
In the North West region, Calvin works in conjunction with North West Tasmania’s Special Olympics Devonport Club to set up tenpin bowling programs for participants with an intellectual disability and/or autism. These links are formally recognised through the Special Olympics Australia Affiliate Program. This program aims to build strong and long-term relationships between Special Olympics Australia and the sporting community and acknowledges clubs and organisations that offer an inclusive environment for athletes with a disability.
For most sports, affiliation means that community clubs will deliver sporting programs on behalf of the local Special Olympics club. For tenpin bowling, affiliation works by linking with leagues that are delivered at Tenpin Bowling Australia’s registered bowling centres. Individual bowlers can compete in these leagues and have access to their results portal if they are a member of Tenpin Bowling Australia. Participants who compete in Special Olympics Australia’s bowling leagues can then also enter Special Olympics competitions at a local and state level. They can also purchase a Special Olympics Australia membership which will give them access to the Special Olympics National and World Games pathway if they wish to progress.
In Tasmania, the affiliated leagues in Devonport & Hobart then progress to an annual state-wide competition which is coordinated and overseen by Calvin. This model has been very successful with 36 participants planning to attend the 2021 Special Olympics Tasmania Qualifying Games in Devonport this October.
This combined model of club and affiliate program in Tasmania has created a pathway for participants with an intellectual disability and/or autism to increase their bowling skills as well as attend State & National Competitions. And the participants have Calvin to thank for that!
If you want more information about the Special Olympics Affiliate Program, click here and complete the Expression of Interest form.
For Tenpin Bowling Australia’s coach, program, league, or membership visit tenpin.org.au.