New Regional Bowls Manager appointed
John Emerson isn’t scared of change, and says bowls clubs shouldn’t be either.
Bringing a wealth of experience from corporate Australia, the small business sector, and first-hand in the challenges a regional bowls club faces, Emerson couldn’t be better suited to his new role as Regional Bowls Manager for western Victoria.
And his message for clubs comes from a key lesson he learned working for the ANZ Bank in IT management.
“From the ANZ experience, one thing I got out of it was that I’m not scared of change,” says Emerson, who lives in Penshurst, western Victoria.
“You need to manage change. You need to control change, rather than let it happen. Otherwise it can go wild. Clubs are the same. Clubs need to have a secession plan.”
Emerson recently started his new role, which is a joint venture between Bowls Australia and Bowls Victoria.
His aim is to grow the game in western Victoria, increase participation and membership across his regional bowls clubs and provide them with support in a range of key areas.
It’s a task he faces first-hand at Penshurst BC, his local club, in which he is heavily involved.
Emerson will cover a lot of miles and dodge a lot of kangaroos on his travels through a patch stretching from Warrnambool in the south to Mildura in the north, encompassing also the Wimmera and Grampians.
But as a bowler of more than 30 years, Emerson is excited about the challenge ahead, and confident he can make a difference in the sport he loves.
“It’s a love of the sport really that’s brought me to the role. I believe the sport can be a lot stronger than what I perceive it to be at the moment,” Emerson says.
“All the figures show us that participation may be increasing, but membership is decreasing. I just think I can hopefully help with changing the membership side of it around and increasing it, and by virtue of doing that, you increase the participation as well.”
Emerson’s first task, he says, is to get to know and understand the clubs. He believes clubs in general need to change their focus from being just a bowls club to a community hub.
That helps widen their reach, as well as assisting them when it comes time to ask for grants from councils or government.
“To get to know the clubs, to get to understand the clubs, understand what their issues are. What they see as the main impediments to membership, and increasing participation, and try to work with the clubs to get through some of those.
“Just in the few clubs I’ve spoken to, we still have the traditional bowls mentality of a lot of the older demographic don’t necessarily want younger ones in there, and that’s something we need to try and change.”
Here’s where you can find contact details for John Emerson, or our other Regional Bowls Managers.