Chris Ferri bowls during a "Can Doers Bowling League" game May 5, 2012, at the Eagle Lanes Bowling Center on Dover Air Force Base, Del. The "Can Doers Bowling League" is comprised of military dependants who have intellectual or physical disabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Hubby)
Nick Ferri, right, secretary of the "Can Doers Bowling League," gives bowling advice to Marc Matague May 5, 2012, during a league game at the Eagle Lanes Bowling Center on Dover Air Force Base, Del. The "Can Doers Bowling League" is comprised of military dependants who have intellectual or physical disabilities. The "Can Doers Bowling League" is an open league with a flexible schedule allowing members to enter the league at any time, or miss a game without penalty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Hubby)
by Senior Airman Matthew Hubby
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
5/8/2012 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- The Airmen & Family Readiness Center and the Eagle Lanes Bowling Center, both at Dover Air Force Base, Del., have partnered and begun a "Can Doers Bowling League," May 5.
The league caters to the intellectually and physically disabled dependants of service members in the area. There is no age or disability-related restrictions for participation, and the goal is to accommodate the bowler to create an enjoyable experience.
The league will be managed like other bowling leagues where teams are established to bowl weekly for 12 weeks. It will be an open league, with a flexible schedule allowing members to enter the league at any time or miss a game without penalty.
All participants will receive a trophy, which will be presented at a party held after the season is complete. Cost is $6 for three games per night and includes the cost of shoes.
"We've been trying to develop new programs aimed at our families and children here, and this is one particular [demographic] that is often neglected. We have a lot of special needs children come in and bowl with their families, so we wanted to give them an opportunity to come in and socialize together," said Lorraine Padgett, the assistant manager of the ELBC with the 436th Force Support Squadron.
Nick Ferri, secretary for the "Can Doers Bowling League," approached Padgett with the proposal for the league, saying he had already set up a similar league at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.
"It was the perfect time for Nick to approach me with this idea, as I had been trying to coordinate something myself. He volunteered to be league secretary to help get us started, get it going and give us his expertise," said Padgett.
The focus is on family, said Ferri. Military life can be stressful, with long periods of separation. The demands of having a disabled child - which can be very involved and taxing - can add even more stress to a family. The league is a place where both parents and children can go to socialize with others. It also allows the children and parents to forge strong bonds with others who are dealing with similar circumstances.
"You see a lot of friendships develop over time. In the end you see some big changes in the [participants] when they get to socialize with each other," said Ferri.
At the May 5 game, Chris Ferri and Marc Matague, members of the "Can Doers Bowling League," said they enjoyed their first game and were looking forward to more in the future.
"It's a blast! Can't wait for next week," said Chris Ferri. "Thanks for a great time!"
After completing his set, Matague asked, "Think I'll win a trophy?"
5/15/2012 2:50:43 PM ET Lorraine Nice concept how can I get some information on doing something like this for my lanes here at West Virginia University I believe I met you at a ball drilling seminar back in October near York Pa. Any info will be helpfulThanksBryan