The goal to create a single organization to govern and service the sport of bowling goes back nearly 20 years with the merger of the American Bowling Congress (ABC), Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC), Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA) and USA Bowling on Jan. 1, 2005 to form the USBC.
Combining the forces of the leading bowling organizations stemmed from the idea to provide a better experience for each member and create uniformity in programs and services. It marked the largest nonprofit association merger at the time.
“We have worked toward this goal for so many years, and it truly is a special moment for the organization and the future of the sport,” USBC President Karl Kielich said.
“The member experience will continue to improve as local and state associations now are unified under the same vision, and we’re thankful to our association leaders for putting in the time and effort to complete this goal.”
At the 2016 USBC Convention and Annual Meeting, delegates approved a member-submitted amendment to its bylaws requiring non-merged local and non-merged state associations to become a single organization to service its bowlers, setting a date of Aug. 1, 2018, for all mergers to be completed.
More than 1,200 associations remained unmerged at the time, and the USBC Association Services and Development team closely worked with non-merged bowling (BA), women’s bowling (WBA) and youth associations to provide the services and resources needed to complete the two-year process and be ready for the start of the 2018-2019 season.
While the final associations to merge began to serve as a single entity starting Aug. 1, several still had steps to take as they concluded their summer leagues. After each association was able to submit and update their databases, their volunteers worked with USBC to install new association software and make any necessary updates. In all, 259 newly merged associations now are fully operational.
With the merger complete, USBC members now are serviced by 1,638 state and local associations. In 2005, there were nearly 5,500 entities split between BA, WBA and youth associations.
Processing memberships and bowler information, including tournament and league scores, managing and operating annual tournaments, and promoting the sport through their website and association newsletters are just some of the services provided by local associations every season.
“So many great volunteers dedicate their time to provide opportunities to the bowlers at the local and state levels,” USBC Director of Associations and Membership Operations Mike Larsen said.
“The merging of previously separated associations allows for stronger knowledge and service to the members, from lane inspections and the operating of tournaments to recognition programs and awarding scholarships. Combining the resources in areas previously fragmented will allow for improved services to USBC members.”
USBC will continue to highlight the completed merger and membership benefits in the upcoming months, including a celebration at the 2019 USBC Convention and Annual Meeting in Las Vegas at The Orleans from April 29-May 2.
For more information and resources concerning associations, click here.
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