Working Together to Revive Boys and Girls Clubs Billiard Program

Str8 Shots, CueSports International (CSI), and the Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) have been working together to revitalize a billiards program within the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. In the 1930’s and 40’s, professional players such as Jimmy Caras, began doing shows in Boys Clubs of America and sparked an interest for the game with the youth. Ben Nartzik, another BCA Hall of Famer, worked tirelessly with the BCA to develop a billiards program in Boys Clubs across the country in the 1950’s. This program continued to grow and eventually Boys Clubs of America participated in nationally recognized events. The growth of this program continued through the 70’s. Despite the popularity with the youth, the program began to fall to the wayside throughout the 80’s and 90’s. These three companies are working together to provide these youth with as many opportunities within the billiard industry.

The Billiard Education Foundation has agreed to provide the Boys and Girls Clubs of America with the curriculum they need to develop their after school billiards program. BEF spent many years developing the curriculum with the help of numerous individuals. As part of any academic discipline, billiards speaks to the social, physical and cognitive needs of today’s youth and allows them to apply new knowledge to life’s challenges. This curriculum can be used in a group setting or by the individual player; making it easy for the youth to develop the skills necessary to advance in billiards at their own pace. “This curriculum has been a long-time work in progress, before I was in the picture, and I can’t wait to introduce it to these clubs,” said Samm Diep-Vidal, Executive Director for the BEF.

Cue Sports International (CSI) is developing a league system app for iPhone and Android. This technology will allow Club Directors to easily keep track of the youth’s weekly statistics so they can enjoy all the benefits of league play. This league system will be provided at minimal cost as it is understood by all of those involved in this endeavor that the Boys and Girls Clubs struggle daily to meet the needs of their members. The system will be rolled out to the club directors for the fall school session. Mark Griffin of CSI states, “The future of our great game is in the youth and we feel very fortunate that we can be involved in developing their pool skills and maybe even some life skills.”

Str8 Shots is working hard to help the clubs restore the tables to the best possible condition they can get them in. They are also sending whatever billiard equipment they can to the individual clubs. Up until now str8-shots.com has done this on their own at no charge to the clubs. Many people have asked to help so the company has set up a system through their online store to provide people with the opportunity to donate. The needs of the clubs are listed by state so people can choose which club they would like to help. Every purchase made through the online store at str8-shots.com for the Boys and Girls Clubs will be matched by the company. “We are dedicated to giving back to the billiard and dart communities. Working to develop and promote youth billiard programs across the country has always been an important goal for us both professionally and personally,” said the Griffiths’, Str8 Shots owners. Any company or individuals wishing to get involved with providing equipment or assistance in the Boys & Girls Club Program, please contact Kimberly Griffiths at kimberly@str8-shots.com or call (877) 921-9511 ext. 121.

Special recognition needs to be given to all the professional pool players who have worked with the owners of Str8 Shots or the Boys and Girls Clubs directly. Tom “Dr. Cue” Rossman has spent more than three decades working with Boys and Girls Clubs across the country. He has done countless shows for the youth and has graciously offered to work with the owners of Str8 Shots to continue doing the shows for the kids when he is available. He most recently visited three clubs in Pueblo, Colorado and the youth were absolutely thrilled with the visits. Many professional players have donated time to various Boys and Girls Clubs across the country. Dawn Hopkins, Melissa Little, Max Erbele, and many other professional pool players have worked with the youth in these clubs and the hope is that they will continue.

The Billiard Education Foundation (BEF) was formed in 1993 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity committed to promoting a lifelong love of pool and building the next generation of players through youth programs and academic scholarships. Visit billiardeducation.org or call (303) 926-1039 to learn more about junior billiard programs in your area.

CueSports International (CSI) is dedicated to creating more choices for all players. In the past 8 years CSI has directly paid out $8,000,000 to players. CSI is the parent company of the BCA Pool League and the USA Pool League. Our National Championship will include the WPA World Artistic Pool Championship, the 37th BCAPL National Championships and the 3rd USAPL National Championships, the 14th US Open One Pocket Championship, the 5th US Open 10-Ball Championship and the inaugural US Open 8-Ball Championship. In addition we are very proud to be presenting the 25th US Junior National 9-Ball Championship. Visit www.playcsipool.com, www.playbca.com, and www.playusapool.com for more information about CSI and its divisions.

Str8 Shots is an online retailer for dart and billiard supplies. Visit their store at str8-shots.com/store. So far this year, Str8 Shots has awarded nearly $3,000 in academic scholarships and trophies through the BEF and has qualified 26 young players for the upcoming Junior Nationals through local leagues and tournaments. They have donated thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment to Boys and Girls Clubs across the country. All of this is done in an effort to continue to promote youth in billiards.

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