Meet Campbell Walker, a passionate bowler with Autism. Campbell has grown up around our great sport, as his father is a bowler and greenskeeper. “Some of my earliest childhood memories were going to watch my Dad play Pennant on a Saturday afternoon with my family” Campbell recalls.
As a child he would enjoying having a roll on the greens with his brother and dad. As Campbell grew older, he took up bowls socially at Berwick Bowls Club. Campbell said, “Things really took off for me once Jeff Janetzki, the coach at Berwick, told me about the ID Squad (Bowlers with an Intellectual Disability). This was very exciting for me and really ignited my passion for lawn bowls, and allowed me to progress in leaps and bounds to become the bowler I am today”.
Campbell’s father Mark has played bowls most of his life, is a greenskeeper, coach of the ID Squad and a member of the BV Disability Support Committee. “Campbell started to play bowls when he was a teenager as a way to get out and enjoy community activities” said Mark. Campbell has since become a successful bowler at all levels of competition.
Bowls has helped Campbell develop his social skills and even his speech. It has been instrumental in getting him out into the community, play sport and make new friends. Campbell feels very grateful to be part of an inclusive club. “I have been very fortunate to have a supportive network, especially within Berwick Bowls Club, who understand my needs and my disability, and the club supports me in every way they can”.
Campbell has proven that having a disability is not a barrier to participating in sport. Mark noted that although his son started with the ID group, he now plays both ID and mainstream bowls.
We asked Campbell what he enjoyed most about playing bowls, and his response was; “It is a sport which is free from judgement and where I am accepted for who I am. It also allows me to engage my competitive side”. Campbell also mentioned his love for the friends and mate-ship he has gained from playing bowls.
As a member of the ID Squad, Campbell enjoys playing competitively with other bowlers who also have a disability at the squad days. Campbell believes this squad gives all members a “sense of belonging”. Marks says, “since the Bowls Victoria community started there have been more opportunities for people with a disability to play in competition”.
2020 Victorian Metro ID Squad
Campbell has had many achievements at all levels of bowls. He has played in a Pennant Final with Berwick Bowls Club, which they took to an extra end. Campbell is a Victorian Metropolitan Representative in the VIC Country v VIC Metro event for bowlers with an Intellectual Disability and he has participated in the Australian Open. Campbell has been a Finalist in the Integrated Pairs on multiple occasions.
Campbell and Mark have both been looking forward to getting out of lockdown and back on the green, and catching up with their fellow bowling friends.
For more stories about our Victorian bowlers with a disability, please click here.
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