Bowling Centers across the country are developing innovative and successful drives for BVL. Currently, though, no group tops the Maple Family Centers Lane chain in the New York area. In the past two years, they’ve raised over $40,000 for BVL through their tournament. Learn more about Maple Family Lanes and see a sampling of other successful campaigns from around the nation:
Maple Family Centers Leads Bowling Center Contributors to BVL, with Second $20,000 + Donation
Through the combined efforts of the management, staff, league bowlers, and area retailers, Maple Family Centers, a five-center chain outside New York City, recently made a second annual record-breaking donation of more than $20,000 to the Bowlers to Veterans Link (BVL).
The Maple Family Center effort started with the vision of President John LaSpina. “Our thought was this: Create a campaign which would benefit BVL, at the same time provide an opportunity for our bowlers to have some fun and to do some good.”
Staff worked together to develop a tournament program which began at the league level. “We wanted to create a very simple structure, and yet give all our bowlers a chance to participate; not just the competitive or scratch bowlers,” notes LaSpina. The in-league tournament ran for two months, with staff going lane to lane immediately after practice to register bowlers. All who signed up received a free game coupon. A leader board, updated weekly, was created along with a BVL display in each center.
In addition, raffle prizes were solicited from area retailers and pro shops – providing an additional source of fund-raising.
Capping off the event was a Tournament of Champions competition, which brought the top 20 bowlers from each center together for a final competition.
Moreover, LaSpina insured that one in six participants would cash, and the winner of the championship would receive a free trip to the Bowling Proprietors Association of America’s Bowl Expo.
“Our bowlers are really enthusiastic about this event,” said LaSpina. “The energy and excitement it created was really infectious. It was a combination of getting everyone involved at the league level, and it was the cause…they all really believed in the BVL mission. It was a great combination!”
Holiday Lanes, Bossier City, LA
Proprietor Melanie Warmke has been a longtime supporter of the efforts of BVL. They have provided portable lanes to VA hospitals and nursing homes; and have done prior events for BVL.
Marketing Manager Robin Williams wanted to try a fresh approach at raising awareness to provide bowlers in the area the opportunity to have fun with America’s favorite sport AND support the cause.
William’s introduction to the cause came at Fourth of July this year. She developed a unique promotion, which offered customers the chance to bowl at a discounted rate, and funds would be donated to the BVL. Holiday would then match the donation of $2.50 for a total of $5.00 to BVL. Also, participants were able to enjoy a special luncheon featuring a Bar-B-Q platter.
The Cherry Bowl, Rockford, Ill.
Thanks to the efforts of The Cherry Bowl in Rockford,Ill., BVL coffers received a great boost in November. Using some BVL materials and a bit of elbow grease they raised almost $1,200.
Their campaign was based on the bowling pin art provided by BVL and a raffle. Contributors who donated $1.00 put their names on the paper pins, which were then hung throughout the concourse, and they also received a free game of bowling. For a $5.00 donation, contributors put their names on the pins, received a free game of bowling, a BVL “Support our Troops” wristband, and an entry into a drawing. The first place prize was a $50 Bowlers Universe gift certificate; second place was a bowling group package of two games and shoe rental for up to four people.
Staffers made announcements about the BVL campaign and explained how BVL supportsAmerica’s veterans. However, John Anderson, manager of The Cherry Bowl explains, “The key is walking through the leagues and really making a connection with the bowlers – that really made a difference.”
Hudson Bowl, Hudson, FL
Each year, Hudson Bowl, Hudson, Fla. hosts a Senior Bowling Tournament which attracts more than 500 bowlers and guests, is also a fund-raiser for BVL. Held the last weekend of July and the first two weekends of August, the Tournament is an opportunity for old friends to catch up and do some good for America’s veterans.
The senior bowlers and the event coordinators really appreciate the management and staff at Hudson Bowl. With most of the bowlers retired and on a fixed income, Hudson Bowl holds down the prices for the participants.
Thanks to Hudson Bowl for supporting our cause in word and in deed!
Fox Bowl, Wheaton, Ill.
Fox Bowl first became involved with BVL through the “Bowlers Salute America’s Troops” portable carpet kit campaign for active duty service men and women.
Fox Bowl proprietors Tom and Kim Sims shipped over two kits to young men from their area who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although they knew they liked the concept, when they received the response from the units and saw how BVL programs make a difference in the lives of America’s troops, they became impassioned supporters of BVL.
As part of her BVL campaign, Kim has created BVL bulletin boards in the center featuring photos of the carpet kit lanes in use on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as names and photos of service men and women from their community — both active duty and veterans.
Thunder Rolls Bowling Center, Craig, CO
Thunder Rolls is on the BVL map by making their center the new community focal piece for veterans — coordinating a variety of activities to support area service men and women and the BVL.
They began the weekend after Veterans Day 2010 when they hosted a day of free bowling for veterans. That same weekend, all open bowling proceeds went to the BVL fund-raising effort. The bowling center also coordinated a flag dedication ceremony with the American flag and a POW flag. Area media covered the Thunder Rolls activities several times throughout the fund-raising time period. They also gave away BVL jackets and polo shirts in drawings and sold raffle tickets for 5 Freedom balls.
The result? Thunder Rolls donated more than $3,000 to help brighten the days and boost the spirits of those who sacrificed for our country.