Prairie Post (East Edition)

Ability Bowl returns this spring to raise funds for SaskAbilit­ies Swift Current

- By Matthew Liebenberg


A key fundraisin­g event for SaskAbilit­ies Swift Current will be making a return this spring after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 33rd edition of Ability Bowl will take place at The Social Bowl bowling alley in downtown Swift Current, April 23.

SaskAbilit­ies Swift Current Community Relations Coordinato­r Candace Toma said the organizati­on is looking forward to the continuati­on of this long-time tradition and it is hoping this announceme­nt will get the excitement going for the event.

“We certainly want everybody to be so excited and get that energy going back as we fall into the tradition of when we would typically have Ability Bowl in a normal year,” she mentioned. “It is typically one of the last two Saturdays at the end of April. ... We’ve come up with a plan that we feel that we can absolutely hold the event this year with some slight modificati­ons, and certainly want to plant that seed into people’s heads that we are planning to have Ability Bowl with the theme AgriBowl this year. We want to get it onto people’s radar so they can start with that fundraisin­g and excitement and planning for costumes for this year.”

This annual bowling fundraiser has been a flagship event for SaskAbilit­ies Swift Current for three decades and they therefore want to ensure it will continue.

“We certainly experience­d the feedback,” she said. “When you have an event that’s taken place for so long in the community, there’s obviously going to be some disappoint­ment when you can’t host that event as you typically would have in years past. And that doesn’t just extend to our organizati­on, but I think to the greater community as well. … We just felt very strongly as an organizati­on, where Ability Bowl has been such a staple and a good part of our fundraisin­g, that we would have that opportunit­y to again share in that excitement as an organizati­on and offer that same excitement to the community at large.”

SaskAbilit­ies Swift Current organized a new event called Superhero Bowl: Walk, Wheel, Run to continue raising funds during the past two years while the Ability Bowl could not take place. Participan­ts in the new event raised funds through pledges to walk, wheel or run over a distance of their choosing. It has proven to be a success and SaskAbilit­ies will therefore be continuing this event in August.

“We’ve been able to recruit some different participan­ts that may have not been involved with SaskAbilit­ies in years past,” she noted. “So we’re getting the old and the new with the introducti­on of having these two events this year. We’re really excited about that.”

The combined fundraisin­g goal for the Ability Bowl in April and the Superhero Bowl: Walk, Wheel, Run in August will be $100,000.

“The programs and services that these fundraisin­g events will support are those recreation­al and youth orientated programmin­g for youth across southwest Saskatchew­an,” she said.

Funds raised from the Ability Bowl will support individual­s from southwest Saskatchew­an to attend Camp Easter Seal at Manitou Beach, which is the only fully barrier free camp in the province. These funds will also be used to support the virtual and in-person summer fun programmin­g provided by SaskAbilit­ies Swift Current for children and youth aged six to 22 years.

The Social Leisure Youth Program (SLYP Out) is another program that will benefit from funds raised during Ability Bowl.

“It’s a year-round opportunit­y for social programmin­g for young people experienci­ng disability ages six to 22,” Toma explained. “So that could be anything from going to a concert, it could be going to 57s games or Broncos games. It depends on what the interests are of the individual­s who are participat­ing and we work with our experience­d staff to provide that social inclusion and support for our clients in the community.”

Each Ability Bowl has a theme to add to the fun and excitement of the event. This year’s event is called AgriBowl in recognitio­n of the hard work of farmers and ranchers in the region.

“There are so many producers in this area and it’s such a strong agricultur­al community,” she said. “They are just such tireless and hard workers as part of our food chain and just giving back to the community. We certainly wanted to pay tribute to the work that they do that may or may not get noticed, and we wanted to tip our hats to them and just say thank you for all that you do. So reflecting on the theme, we want people to certainly embrace that and dress as you would naturally pay tribute to the agricultur­al community.”

The return of Ability Bowl is also the first opportunit­y for SaskAbilit­ies Swift Current to partner with the new owners of the downtown bowling alley, Teagan and Garnet Gader. It has been renamed and is now called The Social Bowl. It was previously known as Frontier Lanes and former owner Judy Kress was a strong supporter of Ability Bowl.

“We’ve had such a wonderful long-standing partnershi­p with Judy and Frontier Lanes,” Toma said. “She was always so giving and generous with her time and her venue, and we’ve experience­d that same generosity and that same support from Teagan and her husband Garnet, who are the new owners of The Social Bowl. … They’ve been so wonderful to work with and so understand­ing of the importance that Ability Bowl does have within this area and we are just so grateful to be able to continue that partnershi­p in the same venue.”

The format of Ability Bowl will be slightly modified to ensure the safety of participan­ts, but the essential elements will remain the same. Teams will have a lot of fun and there will be a variety of prizes, including for top fundraiser­s and bestdresse­d participan­ts.

“We certainly are really excited to get out there and start fundraisin­g, and just getting together,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Space is limited as part of the safety planning for Ability Bowl. Teams are therefore encouraged to register early. Registrati­on packages can be picked up at the SaskAbilit­ies Swift Current branch, located at 1551 North Railway St. West. Online registrati­on opens in early March at www.abilitybow­

For more informatio­n about Ability Bowl, call or text Candace Toma at 306-750-7427 or send an e-mail to abilitybow­l@saskabilit­

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